Karcagi Ferdinánd – sweet vanilla-butter snails from Eastern Hungary

by | Apr 29, 2016 | Breads, buns & biscuits

Karcagi Ferdinánd – this is the name of these soft vanilla-butter snails that stick together into a round cake form during baking. It’s wrapped in mystery who the pastry was named after, a possible nominee could be Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Ferdinánd’s recipe came from Upper Hungary (Felvidék) and was baked and served for the first time in a wedding reception in Karcag in 1923.

Karcag is a smaller town in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county and the center of the Nagykunság (Great Cumania), which is a part of the Kunság, a historical and geographical region named after a nomadic tribe who formed a confederation with the Kipchaks that settled the area. Mutton stew and Ferdinánd are the typical and well-known dishes of the local gastronomy.

Karcagi Ferdinánd resembles wasp nest, but instead of walnut the rolls are filled with vanilla flavoured butter. The snails are not baked separately, but placed close to each other to form a cake after they are done.

Ferdinánd - sweet vanilla-butter snails from Karcag
Karcagi Ferdinánd – photo: zserbo.com

Ferdinánd is baked in a rondeau pan; because of the high butter content of the pastry springform round cake pan wouldn’t be a good choice since it tends to leak, and it would be a sin to let even a drop of melted butter go to waste.  Brushing the top with hot sweetened cream after 30 minutes of baking is an important step as cream makes the pastry particularly soft and spongy.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

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Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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