Is this pastry actually Hungarian? I don't know, but it's my grandmother's classic recipe and a beloved family favorite.
The base is an enriched pastry dough, soft but not crumbly, with raspberry jam slathered on top. Then there's a layer of finely chopped walnuts and a topping of unsweetened egg whites that bakes into a delicately crispy, melt-in-the-mouth crust. I was tempted to tinker with the spices - add some cinnamon here, a little lemon zest there. Don't. These are perfect just as they are.
Raspberry Hungarian Pastry
makes an 11x15" pan of pastry
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, yolks and white separated
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. raspberry jam (Use the tartest jam you can find.)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 300ºF. Prepare an 11x15" jelly roll pan by coating lightly with cooking spray. Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are quite firm and form stiff peaks. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg yolks, and beat for a full three or four minutes, until their volume has increased and the mixture is yellow and smooth.
Sift flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon or your hands. Pat out to corners of jelly roll pan. Spread dough with jam; sprinkle 1/2 cup ground walnuts over the jelly and spread beaten egg whites evenly over the nuts. Sprinkle remaining nuts over egg whites.
Bake in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Watch carefully and avoid over-baking the egg white topping. It should be crisp but not really brown at all.
Cut into squares when cool. These last quite well for a couple days, and would do fine made the night before a party or a dinner.