Summer is here. Bake something summery :)

January 25, 2012

Hraběnčiny řezy (Countess' Cake)

At first I'd like to remind you the giveaway is still open to everyone so don't hesitate and give it a chance :) Now let's move to Christmas. This time it was really RICH when it comes to Christmas cookies and food in general. Anyway, I keep telling myself there's enough time till summer, so why shall I give up delicious treat in January? This cake is extremely popular with my family - even when I bake it at 10pm, there hardly is a half of it left the next morning and it "magically"disappears within the next few hours. Even Jack Malon wouldn't be able to find it!

I really tried hard to find anything about its origin but without any trace at all. I only find this: "....Hraběnčiny řezy...Czech traditional cake....time consuming, but exquisite..." So here you go :) It's a Czech traditional cake that requires a bit of effort and time but rewards you with incredibly amazing taste! Hraběnčiny řezy could be (literally) translated as Countess' cake. It's more like a pie but also a kind of coffee cake. I really don't know the right name for this in English - in Czech it's a type of buchta (a specific type of cake I have never met in English speaking countries). Simply it's a combination of pie and coffee cake :) The cake was introduced to my family by my mum's friend who's Slovak :D (sooo maybe it's a Czechoslovak traditional cake??). Since then we've been making this cake for a long time (although the original recipe has been changed and upgraded to become almost perfect according to my mum :D).


I'm not very keen on repeating the same recipes over and over again but what can I do? Daddy is a huge fan of sweets from time to time and he appreciates a lot when someone bakes for him. But! I'd bake French entremet, baklava, Croquembouche and dad would say:"And this time you're finally making a usual kind of cake?" My heart is broken :D Well, okay, it may not be THAT serious but it definitely doesn't make me the happiest girl in the world. That's why I have two recipes my daddy won't ask the question about: Hraběnčiny řezy and Jidášky (I'll post the recipe later this year :)).

My mum has been calling this cake Hraběnčin štrůdl (Countess' Strudel) - I somehow don't get it since it's not rolled like strudel at all. However, it can be found under other names, e.g. Hraběnčin koláč/buchta (Countess' pie or coffee cake). Nevertheless, it's all the same dessert no matter how you call it. Even a high and mighty countess would love this cake :D


The main differences me and my mum practise are: using more apples -in fact we double the amount -  which makes it oh-so moist and juicy. Also, we use less sugar so that we can taste the apple flavour (don't worry, it's not sour :D). By the way, I use sugar in both apple filling and whipped egg whites layer unlike the more usual recipes which use sugar only in the whipped egg whites layer - this way we made it for the first time but the apples were very sour though they got sweeter after 24 hours it wasn't too much.So now we want to be sure :)

For the dough, I use the pasta frolla method to always end up with perfectly flaky dough that melts in your mouth. The BEST BEST part definitely is the grated dough on the top! Have I whetted your appetite for the cake?

Ingredients:
Dough:
480g (3 4/5 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
160g (4/5 cup) caster sugar
12g (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
250g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) cold butter, cut into tiny
4 egg yolks
60ml (1/4 cup) cold milk
Filling:
1200g (c. 10 medium apples) grated apples (peeled+cored)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
60g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
40g (1/5 cup) organic vanilla sugar
100g (1 cup) chopped walnuts
Whipped Egg Whites:
4 egg whites
125g (1 cup) powdered sugar


Directions:
Dough: Mix together sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using a knife and then your fingertips. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour lightly beaten egg yolks and milk into it. Use a knife to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips. Knead lightly until the dough comes together into a smooth solid ball. Wrap 1/3 of the dough in plastic wrap and place in your freezer. Place the rest of the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.
Filling: In a bowl, combine apples, cinnamon and both sugars.
Whipped Egg Whites: Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and then gradually beat in sugar till stiff peaks form again (about 5 minutes).
Assembly: Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into the size of your baking sheet (30x40cm). The dough tends to fall apart when transfering, so cut it into smaller rectangles and put them together in the sheet again :) Don't forget to grease and flour the sheet! Make sure to create 3cm high edges. Spread the apple filling evenly over the dough, sprinkle with chopped nuts and spread with whipped egg whites evenly. Remove the dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it on the surface of the cake. Bake in preheated oven to 175C until lightly golden (about 30-40 minutes). Remove from oven, let cool completely and start devouring :D

  • If your apples are extra sour, add more sugar to the filling. It's better to taste the filling to be sure it has the right level of sweetness.
  • Feel free to use different kinds of nuts that have strong flavour: hazelnuts or pecans.

Verdict:
Based on the words written above, it's probably pretty clear this verdict is gonna be all about oooh and yummm :D No matter how hard I try to eat healthy, show me this cake and I can assure you half of it disappears inside of me within a few minutes. And after another couple of minutes, it's gone for good (and my stomach is aching) :D And when my dad joins me, this countess' goodness disappears in no time...immediately...just like that :D The baked dough is perfectly flaky, melt-in-your-mouth and creates a great partner for the apple filling. The smell of cinnamon pairs so well with apples and nuts add crunchiness. Since there are quite a lot of apples, the egg white layer is not that visible but it silkens the cake so much! Well, maybe I'm a bit exaggerating, it's just a cake, but sooooooo goooooood :D


Linked to:
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
These Chicks Cooked
Sweets for a Saturday

28 comments:

  1. This sounds and looks good - lot of apples, lot of butter, rich and delicious

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    1. Thank you :D Yes, you're right - it's rich but is feels so light when you eat it :D

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  2. This sounds amazing! And my husband is just like your dad - I can make all kinds of new and exciting things, but all he ever wants are chocolate chip cookies! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you! Great to know :D Though if my dad wanted CCC all the time, I'd be quite happy as I love them so much, too :D You're welcome :)

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  3. Looks delicious!! Definitely my kind of dessert, can't wait to try it!

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    1. Thank you :) Let me know if you give it a try!

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  4. Hi Catalina!
    I'm happy to see this in English. I make a really nice coffee cake, but I would love to try your version.
    I guess I'll check in with you on measurements before baking this. O tal vez me compre finalmente un peso de cocina!

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    1. Hi :) I'm happy you like ti :) Once again, I totally forgot to include the measurements, but added them asap - thank you for reminding me! Anyway, a kitchen scale is a very good and handy gadget (at least I can't imagine baking without one :D).

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  5. Very interesting Catalina. Are the apples peeled? I assume so. The topping reminds me of streusel, so maybe it started as streusel and ended up as strudel? Just a wild guess. It looks very elegant! Thank you for sharing your family recipe with us.

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    1. Thank you, Simona :) Ups, I forgot to include that in the recipe! Yes, you're right, the apples are peeled. Your idea sounds interesting although I can neither confirm nor deny it as unfortunately I haven't found anything about its origin. You're welcome :)

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  6. This cake looks delicious! I need to make this.

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  7. This looks so good, my dad is Russian and he would love this cake, he's like your dad, I can make the most amazing dessert and he would request an old family favorite. Thanks for sharing, gonna try it!!

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    1. Thank you :) Czech and Russian cuisine definitely does have some similar aspects. I'm glad I'm not the only one with daddy loving the classic :D Let me know how you like it if you try it out :)

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  8. This sounds very rich and delicious. It's full of things my family would love. I am new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Thank you, Mary! I really glad you like the recipe and my blog :)

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  9. I love this recipe....my grandma used to make something very similar, but I never got the recipe from her. I can't wait to try this.

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    1. It makes me so happy to hear you find it interesting! I bet this cake is pretty popular in Slovakia, too :) If you give it a try, let me know how you like it :)

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  10. it's beautiful...and looks so delicious

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  11. Buscando esta receta que quería recordar,mi suegra inglesa la preparaba ,ahora anoto y la preparo es una exquisitéz abrazos hugs,hugs.

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    1. Muchas gracias, Rosita :)Me alegra que te guste! Abrazos :)

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  12. I usually try to avoid you before lunch :) or when I really want something sweet (when don't I) but I wanted to tell you I found the response from your dad so funny and so familiar.
    And the cake looks great - I love anything with apples (and cinnamon!) so I think I'll go buy some and try this!

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    1. Oh, don't do that - it's no sin to have something sweet every day :D Thank you a lot and I'm really glad you find the cake tempting :D

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  13. Except for the apples in the recipe, this looks almost like baklava. I can imagine it tastes wonderful!

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    1. Thank you! Though baklava tastes very different, I can see your point :D

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