Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Vajas kifli - Butter half moons

Half moon shaped pastries are another staple in Hungarian bakeries. They can be sweet or savory, with or without fillings, but the best known is a plain butter kifli you would get with your continental breakfast, hot chocolate or morning coffee. The half moon shape is said to originate from the 16th century Turk's invasion of Central and Eastern Europe, when often the bakers working their night shifts would ring the bells and alert the people of Turkish troops aproaching the city. It became popular in many countries and of course the French have their own version the croissant! This kifli is made with a yeasty dough and is slightly on the sweet side, very light yet buttery. It's also very quick to make and you could add a piece of chocolate before rolling it to make it more of a sweet bite. But I also like it with a bit of butter and morello cherry jam. These are smaller bite size half moons, keep for quite sometime in an airtight container and perfect warmed up in the oven with a cup of coffee or tea for elevenses :-)

600g plain flour
400 ml milk
30g fresh yeast or 7g dried 
50g melted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 220C. Warm the milk a little, dissolve the sugar and crumble the yeast into it, then leave to activate for 10-15 minutes in a warm place. Dried yeast can be added straight to the flour. Mix the flour, salt, yeasty milk until combined then gradually add the melted butter. Knead it for 5 minutes. This is best done in a mixer with a dough hook for quickest results. Cover with tea towel and rest in a warm place if you have time, but this is not necessary if you are in a hurry. 
Devide the dough into six pieces. Roll each one into a 25cm diameter circle and cut each circle into 8 slices. Roll each slice up from the flat end to the pointy end, create a half moon shape and lay on the baking sheet. Glaze them with a beaten egg before baking in the oven for 10 minutes.

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