Retes

Rites (ray-tcsh) is a traditional Hungarian snack dish, consisting of a savoury filling enclosed by crisp, light strudcl pastry.

6-8 SERVINGS FILLING

½ lb. cabbage, coarse outer leaves removed, washed and finely shredded

2 teaspoons salt

3 oz. vegetable fat

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

4 oz. cup sultanas or seedless raisins

PASTRY

10 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

7 fl. oz. tepid water

2 oz. melted butter

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Set aside for 1 hour to degorge.

Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, water and half the butter.

With a wooden spoon, stir the egg and water mixture into the flour and mix well. Knead until a firm dough is formed.

Place the dough on a floured board and continue kneading for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a warmed, large mixing bowl. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover it with a clean, damp cloth. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. Drain the cabbage in a colander, pressing it down with your hands to squeeze out the excess moisture.

In a large frying-pan, melt the vegetable fat over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the sugar, pepper, caraway seeds and cabbage. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is just tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the cabbage in a colander and set aside to cool completely. Stir in the sultanas or seedless raisins.

Spread out a large, clean cloth (a sheet is ideal) on a table. Sprinkle the cloth with flour and place the dough on the cloth. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out as thinly as possible.

With the backs of your hands, lift and stretch the dough, pulling it until it is paper thin. This should be done carefully.

Do not worry if a few small holes appear in the dough. With scissors, trim the edge of the dough so that the sides are straight.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450 F (Gas Mark 8, 230 C). Grease two large baking sheets with 2 teaspoons of the remaining melted butter.

Brush the dough with half of the remaining melted butter. Spoon the cabbage mixture in a long strip on to the dough, 3- inchcs from the edge of the dough nearest to you and within 2-inches of each end.

Using the cloth, lift the dough over the lilling and roll it up Swiss roll style. Tuck in the ends. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining butter.

With a sharp knife, divide the retes into pieces long enough to fit the baking sheets. Place them on the baking sheets with the seams underneath.

Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the retes for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to fairly hot 400 F (Gas Mark 6, 200 C), and continue baking for a further 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Transfer the rctes to a large heated serving dish and serve immediately.

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