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30.3.11

CORNER HOUSE - SAROKHÁZ


Sarokház means corner house. A corner house is shaped like a slice of cake. The most famous corner house is probably the Flatiron building in New York. The Hungarian dessert that is constructed from a slice of cake and is completely covered with whipped cream is also called sarokház i.e. corner house. Hungarian coffee houses assemble their sarokház from either chocolate, Stefánia or Dobos torts. On one of our first dates in 1967 my husband to be took me to an elegant coffee house in Budapest for espresso and sarokház. There is nothing like sarokház to put Zsuzsa into a sweet mood.

How to assemble it…well, the pictures tell the story. There are pointers though. Assemble just before serving. Use whipping cream with the highest possible fat content. Adding a bit of “whip it”, an Oatker stabilizer, helps too. There are instant whipped creams in pressurized cans on the market; some of them from real cream. But none of these products are stable enough to assemble a sarokház. I have tried, they just slip slide around and collect in a puddle around the cake within seconds.

I cover the entire cake with sweetened whipped cream and pipe more cream to reinforce the form. This is not a sophisticated, complex desert and it was clearly designed with the whipped cream fanatic in mind. And also to use up leftover cakes. Hence the generic name and the fact that no pastry chef stamped his name on it. Although I was quite amazed that there are no sarokház photos on the Internet. Sissi, you now know the rest of the story.

Start with a generous slice of cake

                         Maintaining its shape, cover the entire cake with sweetened whipped cream.

                                        Pipe along the edges to reinforce the cake wedge form.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Zsuzsa, what a surprise!!!!
    Thank you so much for this visual and textual explanation! (And also for a beautiful love story :-)
    I will certainly make sarokhàz one day! It is probably one of the most amazing and funniest dessert recipes I have ever seen.
    Tell me, how the Hungarians have been doing this without any stabilizer (I mean when the stabilizer didn't exist)??? ( I discovered whipped cream stabilizer existence maybe only a year ago and have never used it...).

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  2. The fat content of whipping cream varies, it can be anywhere from 30 to 46%. The higher the fat content the more stable the cream is. Pastry chefs must have had access to the type of cream we can’t get from a grocery store. In the fifties you were lucky to find whipping cream and in the sixties you were lucky if it actually whipped up never mind its fat content. I lived in the VIIth kerulet [7th district] and when we wanted whipped cream we went down to the nearby cukraszda [coffee shop] for it. We would wait by the counter listening for the machine as it was beating up our cream in the back. In those days no ordinary household had an electric beater. It was all so magical when they emerged with our whipped cream piled up on a paper tray. Then they would wrap it up with more paper and we would carry it home 2 long blocks away and it was still good for an hour or so. My guess is the industry had to have some kind of stabilizer even back then.

    And that love story? Well I married him 3 weeks later and we are still married.

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  3. We have here in Switzerland something called "double cream from Gruyère (many people don't know so I'll precise Gruyère is the place where real gruyère cheese is produced :-)
    I have no idea how fat it is (since "normal" cream is here 36%...), never bought it, but when I saw it served with strawberries and not even whipped, it looked like something between butter and whipped cream (my husband loved it but it tasted too fat for me, it's not that I don't like fat, the proof is inthe frequency I prepare fat duck liver...). Anyway, I suppose this one would keep even without whipping :-)
    Congratulations for such a long love story continuation!

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