Pozsony crescents – Pozsonyi kifli

by | Feb 19, 2016 | Breads, buns & biscuits

Pozsony is the Hungarian name for Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, the hometown of these amazing crescents. Pozsony crescents can be considered as the small version of beigli, which are known under different names: their Slovak name is Bratislavský rožok, Pressburger Kipfel in German, and in Hungary they’re called pozsonyi kifli. The story of Pozsony crescents dates back to the 17th century, when the expression Gipfel (kifli) was born in Austria.

After the defeat of the Ottomans who unsuccessfully tried to occupy Vienna in 1683, an Austrian baker called  Wendler decided to celebrate the victory by giving people the Turkish half-moon (symbol of their flag) to eat as a compensation for the starving during the siege. So he launched a crescent shaped cookie, which he gave the name of Gipfel to.

Later, during the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a lot of Austrian and German bakers went to Pozsony, who brought along the recipe of beigli. Bakers kept the basic recipe, they just reduced the size of the rolls and formed crescents, which were perfect gifts for children. One of the bakers coming to Bratislava was a descendant of Wendler, and he gave the name Kipfel to the pastry. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, it was Gustáv Wendler, one of the famous bakers of Pozsony, who made the best Pozsonyi kifli, and even sent his pastry by post to Vienna, Budapest and Paris.

Pozsony crescents / Pozsonyi kifli
Pozsonyi kifli – Pozsony crescents – photo: zserbo.com

In order to be able to distinguish the walnut and poppy seed fillings, bakers came up with the idea to form the pastries in different shapes. Crescents with poppy seed fillings are horseshoe shaped, while walnut filled pastries are always bent into the shape of letter C.

For the dough:

  • 25 g (~3/4 oz) fresh yeast (~2 1/2 tsp dry yeast)
  • 50 ml (~3 1/2 tbsp) milk
  • 500 g (~4 cups) flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) lard or goose fat
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp sour cream

For the walnut filling:

  • 250 g (~8 3/4 oz) ground walnuts
  • 50 ml (~3 1/2 tbsp) milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest of a half lemon
  • 100 g (~1/2 cup) sugar

For the poppy seed filling:

  • 200 g (~ 7 oz) ground poppy seeds
  • 50 ml (~3 1/2 tbsp) milk
  • 100 g (~1/2 cup) sugar

For the egg wash:

  • 2 eggs

Dissolve yeast with a teaspoon of sugar in lukewarm milk. Rub lard into the flour. Add activated yeast, egg, salt, sugar and sour cream, and knead the dough until just smooth. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 50 minutes or until it triples in size.

Meanwhile prepare the fillings. Add cinnamon and lemon zest to the milk, bring it to a boil. Add ground walnuts and sugar, and , while stirring constantly, cook for a minute until thick. Repeat the process with the ground poppy seeds, too. Let the fillings cool completely.

Pozsony crescents
photo: zserbo.com

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Divide it into two equal parts, and form 16-16 balls. Flatten the dough balls, slightly stretching the two ends, and roll them into ovals. Divide the fillings into 16-16  portions and place them on the edge of each ovals. Roll them up tight and pinch the ends. Roll them again with your hand to stretch and make them even. Form the poppy seed pastries into crescents, while walnut rolls have to bent into the shape of letter C.

Pozsonyi kifli
photo: zserbo.com

Place the crescents, seam side down, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and brush tops with beaten egg. Let them rest for 20 minutes, brush tops with the egg wash again, and leave them to rest for further 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 392°F, and bake the crescents for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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  1. Beautiful sweet treats! I have never had them, but I’m sure I’d love (especially the poppy seed version!). Thank you for sharing the history of kifli. (And thank you for visiting my blog!)

    • Thank you, Sissi.

Hungarian cottage cheese

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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.

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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