Sajtos Pogácsa (Cheese Biscuit)

Hungarians just love to eat pogacsa. There is hardly a week goes by in a good Hungarian household when pogácsa is not served as a supplement to a "one-plate" meal (like töltött paprika), or just for a healthy snack. It is very common to offer them to a guest with a shot of "palinka" (brandy), or a glass of red wine.

Ingredients

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm milk; let it rest for 10 minutes. In a large bowl mix 4 ½ cups flour with the salt, work in the butter with hands until it crumbles. Add the cream cheese, egg yolks and the yeast solution. Work all together as quickly as you can to form a smooth and medium soft dough. Add a bit of flour or milk if necessary. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place for an hour until the dough has doubled its volume.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the dough on a floured board and roll it out to ½ inch. Dip a medium sized cookie cutter in flour and cut out the biscuits. Place them on a cookie sheet ½ inches apart. Mix one egg in a small bowl and brush it on the top of the biscuits lightly; sprinkle them with the Parmesan cheese. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Bake it in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes.

For a lighter variation of the pogácsa substitute the cream cheese with sour cream, and use small cookie cutter. Roll out to ¾ inch thick. The tops could be sprinkled with caraway or sesame seeds also.

Preparing the pogácsa at home is a fairly simple procedure, but takes up some time. To solve this problem, there are almost a hundred bakery shops and street vendors in Budapest offering the various kinds of pogácsa to be taken home. There is no need to advertise, the aroma of the freshly baked goods welcomes all the pedestrians on the boulevards and streets.

My memory takes me back to the time of my youth when occasionally instead of taking the public transport, I chose the seven and some kilometer (approx. 4 miles) route to walk home from work. I named my routine the "Pogácsa walk", because just about ½ way home on the boulevard I always ended up stopping off at the first bakery to buy a bag-full of pogácsa to munch on for the rest of my walk.

The illustration is an aerial image showing, in red, the direction from work to home, you can see that I didn't take the shortest route.

When walking down the street from work I chose to take a right and followed the road to get on the Árpád Bridge of the Danube.

Half way across the bridge I entered Margit Island (Margit Sziget) to walk thru the lush botanic gardens and ruins under the hundred or more years old trees. Arriving on the Margit Bridge I took a left and then continued walking all the way South to the IX District, to home. By then my bag-full of pogácsa was gone.

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