'Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.'
I love this, it’s delicious… what is it? He asks, biting into a fresh-out-of-the-oven-morsel.
Kakaós csiga. A yeast bun my mother would often bake in autumn and winter; and one of my most favourite things.
Oh, nice. What’s it called again?
Kakaós csiga. This time I say it more slowly.
Ka/ka/ós, you know, as in co-co-a, but with a Magyar accent like Zsa Zsa and Eva Gábór… and there’s a ‘sshh’ at the end.
He laughs. He remembers that my family used to have a naughty little black Dachshund named Zsa Zsa.
Then csiga… we say it as ‘chi’… then ‘ga’, phonetically the ‘a’ is like a short ‘o’…. csiga. It means snail.
Oh okay, Kakaós csiga. Yes! He says it, albeit with a lilt that sounds more Swedish than Hungarian.
This time I laugh.
In other words, it’s a chocolaty snail, he says knowingly as he licks his lips.
Yes, that’s it, I nod. A warm and delicious chocolaty snail that wraps itself around you, generously, much like a mother’s love.
And in that moment as we stand together eating freshly baked Kakaós csiga, celebrating the warm autumn sunshine streaming through the French doors into our kitchen… nothing more needs to be said.
10g fresh yeast or 1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup lukewarm milk (soured) or buttermilk
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
a little extra milk for brushing
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
3 tablespoons pure icing sugar
First, make sure your kitchen is warm and free from draughts. Work up the fresh yeast by crumbling it into a cup, sprinkle with sugar and the lukewarm milk. Add 2 teaspoons of flour and mix till smooth. Stand in a warm place for 10-15 minutes till frothy.
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the whisked egg and the yeast/milk mixture. Mix well, then using your hands, work mixture into a soft and puffy dough. Alternatively, use a stand mixer to work the dough.
Place the dough into a bowl, sprinkle with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 35-40 minutes until it has doubled in bulk. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Punch down the dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board or bench and pat down or roll out gently to a rectangle of 1/2 cm thickness. Using a spatula, spread the prepared cocoa filling over the dough and roll up the dough carefully, as you would a Swiss roll. Cut into slices 1.5cm thick and place the slices tightly, cut side up, into a greased 18cm round baking tin. Brush the top with melted butter.
Bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees C for 30-40 minutes, sprinkling with milk during baking, until the csiga are lightly browned. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to cool slightly before serving, dusted with icing sugar. Makes 10 csiga.
To make the cocoa filling, cream together the cocoa, icing sugar and softened butter.
*This is my take on my mother's handwritten recipe for Kakaós csiga. She baked it often and she baked it with love.
Spread with kakaós deliciousness...
Ready to bake...
Mmmm. Nagyon finom!
Tell me about your most favourite things and treasured moments, dear readers...
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes, postcards and morsels from my adventures, conversations with cookery writers
and chefs, and news on food and cooking.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.