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Rakott Palacsinta (Hungarian Pancake Cake)

First things first. I would really appreciate it if you would go vote for me in Culinate’s Death By Chocolate contest.

Also, I heard today is crepe day, so we made a Hungarian crepe cake!

My grandmother says that she used to make this with a different filling in each layer – jam, ground walnuts, chocolate cream, cottage cheese, poppy seeds, whatever she was in the mood for. When I told her that I made mine with just a walnut filling and chocolate on top, she huffed a bit, then said, “It’s okay, I make it with walnuts sometimes too.”

If you trust Ima more than you trust me (probably wise, when we’re talking about Hungarian food), you should make a smaller portion of the walnut filling I describe below, and use layers of jam, chocolate, and cottage cheese as well as walnut layers between the pancakes.

But if you trust me, well, believe that my way of making Rakott Palacsinta (which Ima tells me translates to ‘Raising Palacsinta’) is very delicious, too.

Rakott Palacsinta (Hungarian Pancake Cake)

Layer palacsinta (recipe below) with walnut filling (recipe below), then cover with chocolate rum sauce (recipe below).

2 C milk
2 C all-purpose flour
6 eggs
A splash of seltzer or ginger ale
Butter for frying

Blend or whisk together all ingredients except the seltzer until you have a homogenous batter. Add a splash of seltzer or, if you prefer, ginger ale, until the batter reaches your desired consistency. A thinner batter means that it is easier to create very thin and delicate pancakes, but may be harder for them to retain structural integrity. I suggest thinning the batter more as you grow more confident in your ability to maneuver the pancakes.

You want a light pan, a pan you can easily lift and move around with one hand. I keep the batter in a blender with a good spout, and a stick of butter with the wrapper pulled back halfway in a small bowl near the stove.

Heat the pan, then just run the butter stick across it to coat it with sizzling butter. Coat the sides as well as the bottom. Hold the pan away from the stove, and pour in a dollop of batter – how much will depend on how well and how quickly you can move the pan. You want to start swirling the batter around in the pan immediately, before it has time to cook and set.

The motion is all in the wrist. You want to keep the pan moving in a sort of circular motion so that the batter runs around that central dollop in a spiral, creating the [connected] concentric rings of an ever-widening circle. This gets much easier with practice. Once that’s done, return the pan to the heat.

As soon as the pancake looks entirely dry, it is ready to be flipped. After the pancake is flipped, it is just a few moments before it is completely done – wait to see the surface begin to bubble, then flip it out of the pan and onto the plate.

Do butter the pan before each and every pancake. It is not healthy, but you can really tell the difference in flavor.

Walnut Filling
(adapted from The Cuisine of Hungary by George Lang)
1 1/3 C heavy cream
2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C rum
2 lbs. walnuts, ground
1 C chopped raisins
4 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
Milk to taste

Bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Stir in the other ingredients (except for the milk) and continue to simmer for a minute. Stir in milk to thin it for spreading if necessary.

Chocolate Rum Sauce
(adapted from The Cuisine of Hungary by George Lang)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 C milk
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp rum

Melt the chocolate into the milk in a small saucepan. Whisk in the egg yolks. Remove from heat and whisk in the other ingredients.

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14 Responses to “Rakott Palacsinta (Hungarian Pancake Cake)”

  1. brilynn says:

    I don’t know if I’ve recovered from the dread crepe cake, but then again, yours has a chocolate rum sauce and you just can’t go wrong with that!

  2. toadberry says:

    I love palacsinta in all forms. It is really versatile and you can use both sweet and savory fillings. The walnut filling we used to make consisted of ground wallnuts, sugar and rum.

    There is one recipe I like a lot: the crepes are filled with cottage cheese filling, rolled up, lined in a baking dish, topped with sour cream topping and baked.

  3. Anon says:



  4. Danielle says:

    Brilynn – I remember when you guys were doing that! I looked at all the posts and thought, ‘huh, Ima keeps mentioning something kinda like that.’

    toadberry – Growing up, we used to make a filling out of cottage cheese, cinnamon, and sugar and just roll them up and eat them like that for breakfast. I also like just using sour cream and jam.

    Anon – Thank you!

  5. linda says:

    That is some serious chocolate you have here! Looks delicious….

  6. Rosa says:

    OMG, that looks gorgeously scrumptious! Wow, with that filling and sauce, it must be a killer dessert!



  7. Barbara says:

    Q- do you cool all of the crepes before layering or fill as they come off the pan? (is that there somewhere and I missed it?)

  8. Barbara says:

    Q- do you cool all of the crepes before layering or fill as they come off the pan? (is that there somewhere and I missed it?)

  9. Danielle says:

    Linda – Sure is.

    Rosa – I lovelovelove the filling. I have all sorts of ideas on how else to use it.

    Barbara – I didn’t specify because it didn’t occur to me as important. Whatever’s easier for you. I found it easier to cook all the crepes, then layer them, just because of the timing.

  10. Zsofi says:

    oh yes, rakott palacsinta, I haven’t had it since years. actually, with the walnut filling and the chocolate sauce , you could call it a “layered Gundel palacsinta”. You know, we also make a dish called “rakott teszta”, which translates basicly like layered pasta: simply cooked pasta (e.g. tagliatelle)whith jam, poppyseed, and walnut between the layers. Ask your grandma, I’m sure she knows it

  11. toadberry says:

    Rakott palacsinta is actually made with thicker pancakes that are not flipped, except the last one that goes on top.

  12. Danielle says:

    Zsofi – rakott gundel palacsinta?

    toadberry – Hm! Not according to my grandmother. Does it perhaps vary by region in the country? She grew up in Tarpa.

  13. toadberry says:

    My wrong, it’s called “Csúsztatott Palacsinta”. The pancakes are thick like American pancakes, but much lighter because of the folded in whipped egg whites. The filling would most likely be a simple mix of ground walnuts, sugar and rum.

  14. chriesi says:

    Mmmm I love palacsinta in any way.

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