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Hungarian Jewish Flódni Cake

Hungarian Jewish <em>Flódni</em> Cake Related:   Chanukah, dairy, desserts & sweets, Europe, Purim, vegetarian

Prep time: 2½–3 hours

Cook time: 75 minutes

Yield: 18 pieces

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On a visit to Hungary last summer, I discovered flódni, a traditional cake of Jewish Budapest. The Jewish community preserved the flódni tradition, which now has a wider audience in the Hungarian beyond the Jewish community and has come to symbolize the diversity of Hungarian society. With five layers of dough and four distinct fillings—poppy seed, apple, walnut and plum jam—it is reminiscent of old-world richness. It is time consuming, but not complicated to prepare—and definitely worth it.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 8 tablespoons butter, sliced into 16 pieces and room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large yolks
  • ¾–1 cup white wine
  • Plum Filling
  • 2½ cups plum jam or lekvar
  • Poppy Seed Filling
  • 2 cups poppy seed, ground in a coffee grinder
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade or apricot jam (add 2 teaspoons orange zest if using apricot jam)
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Walnut Filling
  • 8 ounces walnut pieces, finely chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade or 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Apple Filling
  • 8 small apples, cored, peeled and grated (you can use a food processor to grate) (about 4 cups, packed)
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • To Assemble
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preparation

  • Dough: Place flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, and at low speed, add the butter one piece at a time and mix until incorporated into the flour. Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Add the yolks and ¾ cup of the wine and mix until smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough does not come together (for example, if your kitchen is cold or dry), add the additional ¼ cup wine, as needed. Form a ball, place in the bowl, cover and let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings.
  • Poppy Seed Filling: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered on low for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until thickened and all the liquid has evaporated. Cover and let cool.
  • Walnut Filling: In a small pot, combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until thickened and liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
  • Apple Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and mix well. Cook, stirring, about 12 minutes, until soft and the liquid has evaporated.
  • Assembly and Baking: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into 5 even parts. Cut 3 25-inch long sheets of parchment paper. Trim the width of the parchment strips to 9 inches. This will give you 3 strips of 25-by-9 inches. Line the baking pan with one of the parchment sheets, letting even-length flaps hang over two sides. You will need the flaps to lift the cake out of the pan after baking. Using a pencil, draw across each of the two remaining strips two parallel lines to create a 9-inch square. This will help in rolling a 9-inch square of dough.
  • On a work surface, place one strip of the parchment paper with the pencil marks facing down. Place one piece of dough in the center of the square on the parchment sheet and roll into a 9-by-9-inch square. Place the sheet with the dough in the pan, on top and across the parchment sheet with which you had already lined the pan. You will now have flaps of parchment paper hanging over each of the four sides of the pan. Brush the dough with melted butter and spread the poppy seed filling evenly over the layer of dough.
  • Use the remaining paper strip to roll the four pieces of dough that are left. For the second layer roll a 9-by-9-inch square of dough. With the dough still stuck to the parchment, flip the sheet over, and place this dough square on top of the poppy seed filling; then peel the parchment strip away gently. Brush with butter and spread the apple filling over the second layer of dough.
  • Use the same parchment strip to roll the rest of the dough layers. Repeat: roll the dough and place over the apple filling; then brush with butter and spread the walnut filling. Roll the fourth piece of dough, cover the walnut filling, brush with butter and spread the plum jam on top of it. Finally, roll the last piece of dough, place on top of the plum jam, brush with beaten egg and prick the top with a fork in a few places. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check dough for doneness at 1 hour. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting, about 6 hours, preferably overnight. To serve, cut into 3-by-1½-inch pieces.
  • Tips: You can prepare this cake over few days. First, prepare the fillings, which you can keep in the refrigerator for several days. Then, make the dough one day before you plan to assemble and bake the cake. Bring the fillings to room temperature before assembling the cake. Set aside at least 1 hour for assembling the flódni.

11 Responses

  1. virginia freid says:

    Hello,

    this recipe looks wonderful however I am allergic to wine. Do you think apple juice or grape juice or something else could be substituted?

    Many thanks!

    vf

  2. Whitney says:

    Am I correct in assuming you use a 9 x 9 inch cake pan? (Did I miss it? Apologies if I did!) This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it out.

  3. Gisele says:

    Wow!!!!! It looks delicious!!! But also very hard…. If I have the courage I will try it!

  4. Judi says:

    I’m thinking I could make a version of this with matzo for Passover.

  5. Liz says:

    I want to try making this with pre-made dough, because making dough is not my strong suit. Would phyllo dough make sense? Something else?

    • Merav Levkowitz Merav Levkowitz says:

      We’ve never tried it with another kind of dough, so we’re not sure, but that or a pie crust-type dough might work.

  6. Joan Kaufman says:

    Hi, Leah, I just got back from Budapest last night and flodni is one of many things I have been looking for on the web – so glad to have come across this recipe and that it is from you!!!
    I am not a good dough maker, esp rolling, so I will try it with phyllo and see how that works. I’ll let you know.
    Best, Joan

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