The Hungarian royal icing filled isler – Habos isler

by | Feb 12, 2016 | Desserts

The Hungarian isler filled with royal icing (habos isler), apart from its shape and the chocolate glaze, has nothing to do with its namesake, the traditional Austrian ischler. This cookie is a rarity from Szolnok, a town that lies at the confluence of the Tisza and Zagyva rivers, in the heart of the Great Hungarian Plain. Many people visit the riverside town just to buy habos isler. The number of its devotees is increasing steadily, the fame of the Hungarian foamy isler has also gone beyond borders.

The story

This special royal icing confection was dreamed up by László Hegedűs, a confectioner who worked at the sometime Kádár’s pastry shop in Szolnok. He was brooding over a solution how to use leftover egg whites when the idea came to his mind. He whipped the egg whites with hot sugar syrup until stiff and stabilized it with a dash of vinegar. He used butter pastry at first, but it hardened quickly, so he decided to pipe the royal icing between linzer rounds, which became softer in time.

The glaze

Coating was an open question long; at the beginning Hegedűs dipped the cookies into melted chocolate, but later he switched to fondant flavoured and coloured with caramel, which is used to this day. Good to know that the glaze remains colorful and shiny, if the the pastry is spread with hot apricot jam and fondant is poured onto this jam layer.

How to make at home

The recipe of homemade foamy isler is a simplified version of the original preparation method. Instead of fondant it calls for melted chocolate. As the filling is very sweet and concentrated, I didn’t want big cookies; I used a 2 inch cutter, so the recipe yielded 35 isler cookies. According to the original recipe the whole cookie sandwich is coated with glaze, which is not so easy to carry out. But you can choose to dip only the top of the cookies into melted chocolate. I decided on the latter, so 7 ounces of bitter sweet chocolate were enough.

Hungarian royal icing filled isler / Habos isler
Hungarian royal icing filled isler – Habos isler – photo: zserbo.com
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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.

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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