The recipe of paprika crescents originates from the region of Kalocsa, a small town on the Southern Great Plain, 110 kilometres from Budapest, near the Danube’s left bank. Kalocsa is famous not only for its distinctive style of embroidery, but also for the production of some of the best paprika in Hungary.
Ground paprika is an important ingredient in the Hungarian cuisine as well as in the Hungarian majority regions of surrounding countries; often used in main dishes and soups, and rarely in bakery products. Paprika adds both color and flavor to the crescents, which are soft and crispy at the same time. These spicy crescents are perfect in themselves or for sandwiches, but if you make smaller ones, they can be served as savoury snacks.
For the quick sourdough starter:
- 150 g (~1 1/4 cups) white bread flour
- 6 g fresh yeast (~1/4 tsp dry yeast)
- 150 ml (~2/3 cup) lukewarm water
For the dough:
- 500 g (~ 4 cups) white bread flour
- 150 ml (~2/3 cup) lukewarm milk
- 15 g fresh yeast (1 1/2 tsp dry yeast)
- 100 g (~1 cup) sour cream
- 20 g (~1 1/2 tbsp) butter
- 15 g (~3 tsp) salt
- 1 level tbsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
Make the starter the previous day. In a large bowl mix the yeast with the water, then sprinkle the flour into the yeast mixture and beat into a thick batter. The batter doesn’t have to be too smooth as the action of the yeast will break down any lumps. Let stand in a warm place for about 12-24 hours.
Weigh out and place the ingredients of the dough in a bowl. Add the sourdough starter and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover the ball and let the dough rise until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 equal parts, form balls and let them rest for 10 minutes.
On a floured surface roll out a ball into a 2 mm thick rectangle. Turn the rectangle on its end and roll it up starting from the bottom and curve it into a crescent. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the balls.
Place the crescents on baking sheets lined with parchment, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 40-50 minutes.
Brush the tops with water, place the crescents in the oven preheated to 220°C / 428°F and bake for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.