Saturday, April 17, 2010

International Pizza Pie Incident: Lángos, aka Hungarian Pizza, Three Ways


 Because a little tiny bit of fried pizza never hurt anyone ...

Welcome to the second International Incident Party, in which food bloggers from around the world put their own spin on a different dish each month. For April, we celebrate the birthday of the Incident Crew's founding member, Penny aka Jeroxie, with variations on the theme of pizza pie. (For full details and info on how to participate, check out her post about it here.)  

I must admit that when pizza was announced as the theme, I initially felt a bit stymied. You see, though in general I don't tend to be overly didactic or rules-y about cuisine, pizza, to me, is a simple and beautiful thing. It's a plain New York-style pie, with no toppings other than a modest amount of mozzarella cheese, maybe a bit of fresh basil,  and that beautiful, tangy tomato sauce. That's how I always used to order it in Brooklyn, and that's how I make it at home.

I wanted to  break out of my own pizza preconceptions and go a completely different route for this party, but what to do? Well, my quandary was instantly obliterated during my trip to Budapest, where I tasted the delectable lángos, otherwise known as ... Hungarian pizza! Bingo.
I made three different types: Two are closely modeled after lángos I had in Budapest, and the third is a dessert lángos of my own creation, inspired by the fig torte I had at the Cafe Gerbeaud. But before we get to the toppings, first things first - let's talk about dough.

I put this recipe together from several I found online. My biggest deviation from the standard lángos recipe is that I didn't deep fry my dough in lard!  I actually tried a few methods, as you'll see. The recipe makes enough for 4 lángos,  and you can refrigerate the extra overnight.

Lángos  Dough

1.5 cups of potato, boiled, peeled, mashed, and cooled
2.5 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1 tbsp veggie oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Warm the milk to about 100 degrees F & mix with the yeast & sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes. Mix the potatoes with the flour, salt, and oil. Add the starter and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover; let rise one hour. Punch down the dough, divide into 4 equal portions and form them into uniform balls. Let them rest for 20 minutes, covered,  on a floured  surface.

Now for the fun part ... frying!


In a skillet, heat about 1" of oil at 350 degrees F; I used a canola/olive oil blend (make sure of your oil's smoke point before frying). Rather than roll out the dough, you want to pick it up and gently pull it out into a cicular shape:
 
It's okay if you a pull a little hole in it here and there. Next, gently lay the dough in the hot oil, and press the middle down with a spatula. This is important to ensure that the middle cooks properly. You may want to wear an oven mitt to avoid oil burns ... I learned this the hard way!
Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown:
Remove and drain on a rack lined with paper towels. The strange thing is, once the lángos drained they didn't taste heavy all all - they were crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, with none of that yucky greasy residue that fried food often leaves on your fingers.

I fried two lángos in this way, and here's how I topped them:

Sour Cream, Emmental Cheese, & Red Onion:

As easy as 1, 2, 3 ... 

1. Spread the Sour Cream

2. Add the grated Emmental cheese 

3. Plop on the red onions - lots and lots of red onion. This isn't exactly a first date dish:

The flavor of this one really took me back to the Central Market Hall in Budapest! Those pungent onions combined with the pleasantly sour taste of the potato dough is unmistakable. 

Next up, a garlic & paprika lángos:
 
 For this one, I went a little garlic crazy (even for me) and mashed up a bunch of cloves with oil:


 I smeared this on the hot dough and dusted with sweet paprika:

 This was good, but ... yowsa! Pretty pungent stuff. In the future, I would go the more traditional route and just rub a cut garlic clove all over the dough. 

Just in case you don't want to fry every single thing you eat (believe me, I never fry things, so this was new for me!) I tried baking the dough for my dessert  lángos. To make sure I got a crispy crust, I baked it at 450 degrees F in a preheated skillet, into which I'd drizzled some oil. I brushed the top of the dough with oil before I put it in the oven, and flipped it after a few minutes to make sure both sides would brown:
 
Though this wasn't quite as "lángos-y" as the fried versions, it was still crispy and good, and served as the perfect vessel for my ...

Sweet & Spicy Fig Spread


For this, I simply mashed together 8 preserved mission figs, a glug of walnut oil, about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground java pepper, a few pinches of freshly ground nutmeg, a pinch of cardamom, and enough honey to bind the whole thing together. I topped it off with a poof of confectioner's sugar. It was great - not too sweet, and a nice complement to the savory dough. 
Because I had one leftover dough ball, I decided to see what would happen if I pan fried it in just a couple of tablespoons of oil.  It worked, but the consistency was a bit more like a pancake than a lángos:
 

Bottom line: No matter how you cook it, you just can't go wrong with crispy potato dough topped with sweet or savory goodies. Happy Birthday to Penny and all the April babies! Enjoy the pizza party, and make sure to check out everyone's creative contributions!

 





41 comments:

  1. Ohhhhh yum... The process for making the dough reminds me of making a kind of Indian bread, bhatura. I love those so these obviously stole my heart straight away. Love it Trix! Gimme more bread...!

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  2. I love the mission figs on the fried dough even though I would totally eat the fried dough all by itself any day:)

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  3. Ever since I saw your post on eating lángos I was actually hoping you would make this for the party!!! Very cool - I love all three versions and will definitely be making this scrumptious fried pizza very very soon!

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  4. This sounds really enticing, especially the fig and walnut oil one. The garlic one sounds scary but yummy as well.

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  5. Fried pizza dough? Too cool. And it seems like we all thought of the same ingredients lol. I also use Emmental cheese in one and figs in the other. Great minds think alike ha ha. I'll have a piece of each please?

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  6. Oooh - I want your garlic and paprika lángos!

    Not sure I am brave enough to fry pizza dough, but it is a great idea.

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  7. I am SO glad you made these, after drooling over them in your Budupest post. I uh, don't blame you for not frying them in lard though!

    Excellent toppings - really interesting and delicious, I'd (very) happily eat them all, thank you!

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  8. Three more great ways on enjoying pizza. Looks great.

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  9. They're all so yummy. Such variety. Want to make them all...thanks for sharing.

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  10. I'm salivating about this fried potato dough. I think I could eat that alone but topping are really welcome and I want all of it.

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  11. Fried potato dough!? I need to try this!!

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  12. Trix> that is one cool dough with nearly as much potato as flour... the only other potato dough I've made is for english muffins but that's just a bit of potato. I'm dying to try this and check the texture... love those purple onions... they really have an insouciant air when flung about that way, m'dear...lovely to look at delightful to chew??

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  13. I have been looking for a good potato dough recipe for pizza a very long time. It keeps for days, or months frozen, love the one with garlic, I actually like one with lemon and spinach it my aunts lebanese style, you have diffinitely got me in the mood to make some of this...will try this week, love the directions and in the pan, look fabulous! The fig is a must try!

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  14. The fried potato pizzas look like the Chinese potato pancakes, but much larger in size. Wonderful. Love all your variations. I can imagine they are fabulous in taste.

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  15. Very interesting! I will try langos some days! yours look great.

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  16. Trixie Girl! You're talking three of my favorite things here: potato, frying and pizza--YUM! I am marking this one for future attempt--might Peter Reinhart be shaking in his boots? Lovely dish and I'll take your tip and just "wipe" the garlic clove over the dough!

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  17. Superb - love the flower garnish and love the idea of a fried pizza base - I've always meant to give that a try, but never have. Good job

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  18. Trix
    I relished every word you wrote and all these pics! I CAN'T WAIT to try this dough with potato, man it must be so good; I knew there was a reason I liked Hungarians so much! I love all your versions, but I will stick to the fried ones, sounds too too good!

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  19. Something deliciously new to me - lángos! I'm currently in love with potato dough and would have no aversion to trying the fried version of this. Your three ways shows the great versatility of the crust and each one alone would be a such a treat.

    Congratulations on your design being chosen as the official International Incident banner and badge! 8-)

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  20. Fried pizza... this I gotta try!

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  21. Those are very interesting pizza, and definitely unique, very creative I must say!

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  22. 3 versions! cool! Just wondering what if you make a garlic butter, and spread it and bake it a bit. You wouldnt get that raw taste of garlic and yet it would be garlic. Whatsay?
    The banner and badge is cool! Do we thank Poppa Trix for it?

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  23. Thanks, everyone! It's really interesting to me how "un-fried" these taste ... so you can pretend they aren't if you want ; )
    @Shirley - Thanks! Actually Poppa Trix & I collaborated on the logo. It was really fun.

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  24. I want them all - even the vampire repellant langos ;) Sounds fantastic and I love bread with potato in it - it adds to the flavour and gives a marvellous texture!

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  25. DELISH! I love potato bread...want them all.

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  26. I can always count on you to introduce me to new dishes! I love this one! I can't wait to be done with all our moving shenanigans so I can get back in the kitchen!

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  27. Ingenious!!! Love it when you get your creative juices going!! Would love a bite of each, in fact would have them all to myself!!

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  28. great variation of pizza, just like you to come up a great idea and a winner in my book... way to go, don't know which one I like best...maybe the red onion one...

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  29. oooh! I'm reading all your Vienna adventures and they sound like so much fun! Brian actually wanted to take me to Vienna for my birthday but I picked Paris instead. Interesting because I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to find any decent vegetarian meals in Vienna but looks like you scouted it all out! I'll have to hit up Formosa if I do end up going in the future :)

    Btw, love these pizzas. My fave is the sweet & spicy fig!

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  30. Brilliant idea - fried potato dough! Can't go wrong with it! I particularly like the garlic and paprika one with the flowers - it's so gorgeous.

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  31. Wow! This is really different! I really like them, and usually I steer away from fried foods, but no greasy after feeling? I'm so there.

    P/s: Thanks so much for the amazing banner!

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  32. Nice job adding a twist to the classic pizza pie!
    I like the sounds of the Sweet and Spicy Fig ---would be really nice with the tea I am drinking right now.

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  33. Your Hungarian fried bread brings back memories. There was a restaurant in Vancouver that served, as an appetizer Hungarian fried bread with a garlic dipping sauce. It was amazing.

    Great idea to use it as a pizza.

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  34. Way to incorporate flowers into your food. Did you eat the blossoms on the pizza? I am sorry I missed the "Incident".

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  35. looks ands sounds terrific - what a cool hungarian variation on pizza - totally must try this one.

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  36. I wondered if you would make the lángos - I remember eating that way back in 1991 when I was backpacking around Europe and LOVED it! What an international flair you brought to this challenge.

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  37. Well, I am so happy to see this...as someone who grew up in Hungary, my Mom made this a lot for me...and boy, I haven't had it in decades...but sure brings back great yummy memories...totally rocks with garlic on it..

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  38. I grew up eating Italian Fried Dough, cooked by an Italian American Mother with the recipe modified by my Hungarian American Dad, who wanted the cooked dough salty, not sweet like the Italian version. My mother just saved a little bit of dough from her regular yeast dough when baking bread and fried it up. A dud oven and a hankering for homemade pizza led me to come up with my own version of this a while back, never realized until recently surfing the Hungarian food blog Chew.hu that there was a name for what I was doing. I use regular yeast dough and shallow fry the pies, and top with whatever is around. I think this must be part of my DNA.

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  39. @Beatrice - That's so interesting! I think every culture has a version of fried dough - I recently tried Navajo frybread, which somehow reminded me of langos.

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  40. Thanks for linking this up! This is going in next week dinner line-up. Yummm :) Find More Pizza

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