Palacsinta, Hungary’s popular dessert - GulfToday

Palacsinta, Hungary’s popular dessert

Food-new-1

A stack of Palacsintas, sweet rolled crepes. Hillary Levin/TNS

Daniel Neman

Palacsinta are thin, egg-based pancakes that are rolled and stuffed with fillings that are usually sweet. Jams, nuts, sweet cheese and chocolate are popular fillings, and so too — it being Hungary, after all — is sour cream. Savory versions often include meat cooked with sour cream, paprika and tomatoes.

It sounds like a crepe, right?

Palacsinta are Hungarian crepes. Or to put it another way, crepes are French palacsinta. And just like crepes, palacsinta are a popular street food, sold in food stands around Hungary — and also in neighboring Romania, where they are called palatschinke.

Making palacsinta thinner than crepes is easy. You make a batter that is similar to a crepe batter, and just before cooking it you add some soda water. I saw one reference saying that in Hungary they use any fizzy drink, including lemon-lime soft drinks, but I just used plain soda water, because yuck.

Because I wanted to explore the entire palacsinta experience, I decided to try a good half-dozen fillings.

PALACSINTA

Yield: 3 to 4 servings (3 pancakes per serving)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon superfine sugar, see note

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

Generous 1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup carbonated water

Butter, for the pan

Note: To make superfine sugar, blend granulated sugar on high in a blender for several seconds until powdery.

1. Combine the eggs, sugar, salt and milk. Stir in the flour to form a smooth batter. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. Just before cooking, stir in carbonated water. Put a skillet over medium heat and add just enough butter to coat it when it melts. Swirl the butter to coat. When hot, pour 1/2 ladle of batter into the skillet. Tilt the pan so the batter coats the surface of the pan evenly. When golden, flip the pancake to cook the other side.

3. Fill with sweetened cheese filling, below, jam (or jam with sweetened cheese filling), chocolate sauce, berries, strawberries marinated 1 to 2 hours in balsamic vinegar, or just sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Per serving: 318 calories; 9 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 198 mg cholesterol; 13 g protein; 45 g carbohydrate; 13 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 892 mg sodium; 136 mg calcium

Adapted from “The World Atlas of Street Food,” by Carol Wilson and Sue Quinn

Food-new-2

Palacsinta, sweet rolled crepes, filled with jams and or sweet cheese. Hillary Levin/TNS)

SWEETENED CHEESE FILLING

Yield: 3 servings

1 egg yolk, see note

1 tablespoon superfine sugar, see note

A few drops of vanilla extract

2/3 cup ricotta or cottage cheese

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Note: This recipe uses raw egg. The USDA warns that no one should eat raw eggs, unless the eggs have been pasteurized in their shells. Infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk for foodborne illnesses.

— To make superfine sugar, blend granulated sugar in blender on high for a few seconds until powdery.

1. Beat the yolk with the sugar and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl, soften the ricotta cheese with a large spoon or fork, then beat in the egg mixture and add the lemon zest.

2. Use to fill palacsinta or other crepes. If desired, mix with jam to fill palacsinta.

Per serving: 134 calories; 9 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 90 mg cholesterol; 7 g protein; 6 g carbohydrate; 5 g sugar; 0 g fiber; 49 mg sodium; 122 mg calcium

Adapted from “The World Atlas of Street Food,” by Carol Wilson and Sue Quinn.

Tribune News Service