You may be thinking, “What is a Palacsinta?” And if you are unaware of what it is, then you are just like I was a couple weeks ago. Deprived.
I was invited to review a copy of the new Monday Morning Cooking Club book (released today!) and I can honestly say I haven’t had this much fun with a new cookbook in a while. The recipes are unique, fun and the stories a pleasure to read. I really do love a book that gives a little background with each recipe and provides recipes I haven’t seen a thousand versions of already.
As you may have imagined the Monday Morning Cooking Club book is a collection of recipes from a group of friends who indeed hold a get together on Monday mornings to cook together, spend time together and have a great time. If the recipes collected in the book are any indication, a fantastic time is had by all. I know I certainly would love to be in their kitchens!
I was thoroughly intrigued with many of the recipes, but I kept coming back to the recipe for something called “Palacsinta” and as you can see from the picture from the book below there is very good reason why!
When I made this recipe I decided to make it for a little special Sunday brunch, fully accepting that this was listed in the book as a dessert, not brunch… I couldn’t resist anyway, especially with how much the weather has been switching back and forth between being Summery vs Autumnish.
To say that this is a decadent recipe is an understatement in the extreme. There should be no calorie counting here. Just accept that this is a slice of tender, crepe-like cake coated with rich, chocolatey layers of hot chocolate mix rendered into the batter and with a creamy hot chocolate sauce that magically comes together in the oven. It took about 30 minutes to make the batter and assemble the stack, plus another 30 minutes or so to bake it up. The recipe does seem to allow that you could make this ahead and just wait to pour the cream and bake just before serving, so if you wanted to serve this as a dessert, and you certainly should, then you’ll want to know that a little does indeed go a long way, but is so very, very good and indulgent. And frankly, with the start of another school year, a little indulgence is what was called for!
When I was invited to review the book I was able to request a copy to give away here on the blog so that giveaway can be found below! This is definitely a book you’ll want in your collection, so if you don’t want to take your chances on the giveaway, you can purchase the book directly today! And as if these women weren’t already cool enough, the profits from sales of the book go to charity.
Recipe from the book Monday Morning Cooking Club, Harper Collins, released September 17, 2013
Palacsinta is a Hungarian chocolate pancake dessert. This lovely and often-made recipe was published in Gretta Anna’s first book. It was the all-time favourite of her children and their spouses and children, and she found the time to teach all the grandchildren to make it. She used to say, ‘It doesn’t matter if you are a poor shot and the pancakes don’t fall on top of each other; however they fall, it all works up beautifully into a rich, irresistible pudding.’
(My notes on the ingredients and directions are listed in italics below as I tried to convert the recipe into U.S. measurements and my adaptations to the method to help those without a scale or crepe pan.)
- 250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature (approx. 8 oz unsalted butter – 16 Tablespoons or 2 sticks)
- 120 g sugar (approximately 1/2 cup sugar + 2 Tablespoons)
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 185 ml (¾ cup) milk
- 90 g plain flour (approximately 3/4 cup all-purpose flour)
- butter, for cooking
- drinking chocolate, for sprinkling (I used Dagoba Drinking Chocolate (hot chocolate mix) which has chips of chocolate in it)
- 400 ml pure cream (35% fat) (1 3/4 cups heavy cream)
- You will need a crepe pan and an ovenproof dish, just slightly bigger than the diameter of the crepes. I don’t have an actual crepe pan and used my cast iron skillet. I think things would have been a little easier with a lighter pan such as a crepe pan, but thought the recipe still worked out quite well without one.
- Beat together the butter, sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla to the milk and, alternating with the flour, add to the butter mixture, mixing thoroughly until the batter is thick. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled, just continue with the recipe. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into the batter.
- Heat the crepe pan on a medium heat. Butter it thoroughly using a piece of crumpled greaseproof paper dipped in butter. Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the pan, swirling the pan to help the mixture spread, and cook until the underside is golden. Check this by lifting up the pancake with a small spatula and peeping underneath. Lift the pancake out of the pan and turn it upside down into the ovenproof dish (the cooked side should be facing upwards). Sprinkle the top with 1½ tablespoons of the drinking chocolate. Continue making the pancakes until all the mixture is used, turning out each one on top of the previous, sprinkling chocolate between each. You should have a reasonably straight stack, but it does not need to be perfect.
- Near serving time, preheat the oven to 180°C (about 350°F – 355 if your oven allows you to program in those increments). Pour the cream over the pancake stack and cook for 30–35 minutes. Serve hot, with nothing but the chocolate sauce that forms around the pancake from the cream and chocolate.