Thursday, May 6, 2021
HomeRecipe ReviewsDessertsHungarian Zserbo Szelet

Hungarian Zserbo Szelet

Can you tell this week’s theme is Hungarian food? After the spectacular Hungarian Chicken Paprikash I just made, I felt the need for a dessert. I found this Hungarian Zserbo Szelet recipe and immediately put it on my list of possibilities. What sold me was reading the accompanying blog post. The author did a good bit of research to create an authentic Hungarian recipe. Not that I don’t like new interpretations (I do!) but I also appreciate the history behind traditional foods. I’m pretty sure I can’t pronounce zserbo szelet, but I’m going to make it. Let’s get to it!

I found this old-fashioned Zserbo Szelet Recipe in one of the vintage recipe binders I own. This traditional Hungarian holiday dessert recipe is also known as Gerbeaud cake.

Recipe Author: Arlene Mobley at Flour on My Face
Get the recipe

The Ingredients

Alright, let’s talk about the ingredients for this recipe. They were all basics, and I had most everything in my pantry and refrigerator. I love it when that happens! I even had most of a jar of apricot preserves, so I used that for the filling.

That left me a short grocery list, which is always a good thing. I had to buy milk, sour cream, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Nothing exotic or expensive, and all things my regular grocery store had in stock.

Hungarian Zserbo Szelet Ingredients
Walnuts, apricot preserves, sour cream, sugar, flour, dark chocolate chips, milk, butter, baking soda, salt, and yeast

The Process

When I started making my zserbo szelet, I had it in my head that it would be a long and arduous recipe. I’m really pleased to tell you that this wasn’t the case! While it did take just over two hours, about 3/4 of that time was inactive. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • 34 minutes to prep
  • 1 hour to stand
  • 35 minutes to bake
  • 5 minutes for the chocolate topping
  • 2 hours 14 minutes total (not including time to cool)

Making the zserbo szelet wasn’t too difficult, either. I liked how the steps were broken down to one action each—it made the recipe very easy to follow.

There are some special pieces of equipment you’ll need beyond the usual mixing bowls and measuring cups/spoons. A food processor and a rolling pin are a must, and you’ll need a flour sifter or a mesh sieve to sift—you guessed it—flour. Another must-have is a rectangular cake pan (the kind you would use for a sheet cake or brownies). The recipe calls it a sheet pan, but the accompanying photos show a deeper pan. I also used my dough blender, but it’s not a requirement—you can use your hands instead.

The toughest part of this recipe was rolling out the dough so I had three pieces the size of my cake pan. I was worried I would end up redoing this part until I got it right, then I came up with a way to make my life a little easier. I used the pan’s lid as a template when I rolled out the dough, cutting away any excess so I had nicely shaped rectangles. It worked a treat!

The last step was adding the chocolate chips, allowing them to melt, then spreading the melted chocolate like frosting. The recipe says it will take about eight minutes for the chocolate to melt, but mine melted much faster. It was fully melted and spread over the in just 5 minutes.

I left the completed zserbo szelet on the counter to cool for about an hour, then I refrigerated it overnight. I wanted to be certain it was completely cooled before cutting it. There was no doubt about that the next day. It was a bit of a workout getting the pieces cut as the zserbo szelet is quite dense. I managed 24 pieces an called it quits. I felt I had earned a taste after all that work, and I was not disappointed!

The kneaded dough cut into thirds
The kneaded dough cut into thirds

So how was it?

Clear & Accurate Directions
Accurate Time(s)
This is the kind of dessert that will make you wish you had a Hungarian grandma to make it for you! It's layers of somewhat crisp pastry layered with apricot preserves and ground walnuts, then topped with dark chocolate. It's very rich and dense, and I thought it was a cross between a cake and a cookie. In other words, it was like several desserts in one between the tastes and textures. And I absolutely loved it! The ingredients were easy to find basics, and I had most of them on hand. The instructions were broken down into easy to follow steps, and I didn't have any trouble with them at all. There was a little confusion for me as to the type of pan to use, but the accompanying photos solved that question quickly. My only real complaint was the time. I'm a pretty capable baker, but it took me 1 hour 14 minutes to complete instead of the 45 minutes listed. But that was quickly forgotten when I took my first bite. This will definitely be made again!
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I'm Candice, and I'm The Hungry Pinner. I created this blog to share my love for cooking and my experiences with the MANY recipes I've found on Pinterest over the years. Join me as I blog my way through those recipes to find out if they are worth trying yourself.


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