Bonfire stack or máglyarakás is a good example for food recycling: stale bread, crescents or sweet bread (kalács) take on a new meaning in this very simple, but variable dessert. This dainty is actually a flashy and tasty bread pudding enriched with apple, apricot jam and with a lovely meringue on the top. Máglyarakás should not been underestimated because of the fact that leftover bakery products are used; quality ingredients enhance its image.
As I mentioned, stale bread or crescents are the base of this bread pudding. But if you don’t have any leftover, you can make sweet bread sticks (gubarúd) 1-2 days earlier. Bread pieces are soaked in a light custard, which makes them soft and creamy. Instead of apple and apricot jam you can choose any kind of fruit or jam; possibilities are limited only by your imagination. The sole thing that can’t be left out is the meringue; this is what distinguishes bonfire stack from the other bread puddings.
For the sweet bread sticks:
- 200 g (~1 2/3 cup) flour
- 10 g (~1/3 oz) fresh yeast (1 tsp dry yeast)
- 75 ml (~1/3 cup) milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 20 g (~1 1/2 tbsp) melted butter
For the custard:
- 600 ml (~2 1/2 cups) milk
- seeds of a half vanilla bean
- zest of a half lemon
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp sugar
For the apple and apricot jam layer:
- 3 apples
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 50 g (~1/4 cup) butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 tbsp rum
- 60 g (~1/3 cup) raisins
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
Dissolve yeast with sugar in lukewarm milk. Add egg, salt and activated yeast to the flour and start to knead. When the dough holds together, pour in melted butter and continue to knead until airy and pliable. Cover and let it double in size. On a floured surface roll out the dough into a 2 cm thick rectangle, and cut into 3 cm wide pieces. Place the sticks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 392°F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let the sticks dry for a day.
Slice the sweet bread sticks and put into a large bowl. Soak the raisins in water.
Whisk egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest together in a saucepan. Pour milk into the yolk mass in small batches to combine. Over medium heat cook, stirring constantly, until the custard becomes smooth and thickens a little. But don’t bring it to a boil or the eggs will scramble. Pour over the stale pastry and stir to combine. Set aside to let it soak.
Peel and thinly slice the apples. Melt the butter in a frying pan, once it’s hot enough, add apple slices, sprinkle with sugar and ground cinnamon, and cook until apple is almost tender.
Mix together 5 tablespoons of apricot jam and 1 tablespoon of rum, then warm it up a little in the microwave oven.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F. Grease an ovenproof rectangular dish, then dust with breadcrumbs. Lay the soaked sweet bread pieces in the prepared dish. Scatter the rinsed raisins over the top, then lay the apples on. Spread the warm rum apricot jam over the apple slices evenly. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
During the last 5 minutes prepare the meringue. Beat the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form, then beat in 1 tablespoon of apricot jam, and beat until very stiff. Remove the dish from the oven and spread the top with the whipped egg whites. Put the dish back in the oven and bake until top is light golden brown (for about 8-10 minutes). Let it cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.