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The Christmas meal á la Gresham Four Seasons

The Christmas cooking class at the Gresham Palace Budapest Four Seasons was a feast of useful tips and delicious food from Simone Cerea, Executive Chef, Sous Chef Tamás Turcsán and pastry chef Árpád Szűcs.

The trio imparted their vast range of specialist culinary knowledge on the fine ingredients consisting of goose liver, pike-perch, asparagus, amongst many others, but the eight participants also got their hands dirty and contributed to the finished product which we all then sat down to eat together with wine.

When making goose liver terrine you take the terrine out of the oven after cooking at 100 degrees Centigrade for 30 minutes (note: rather the lighter parfait is included in the recipe) put a weight on the top so as to push the expanded liver back in and then cut open the top a bit to let the excess fat drain out. To cut it, after it’s spent the night in the fridge, put the knife in hot water before slicing and it won’t stick to the knife but cut cleanly through. Another handy hint is that when selecting fish, in general look out for clear bright eyes and with pike-perch if the red lung type bits below the gills can be separated from one another, then you have fresh quality fish. 

Drinks flowed throughout with sparkling and mulled red wine served while we were busy cooking. The Gresham cooking classes are ideal for those who are already keen and fairly knowledgeable cooks but are looking for those extra skills from the best of chefs who also teach you how to prioritise your time in the kitchen so a to keep a smooth flow of different dishes coming. A number of such classes run throughout the year focusing on various aspects of cooking and seasonal specialities. You actually get quite a lot for Ft 25,000 and only the top quality ingredients are used and the chefs are inspiring to watch at their craft.

1.

Foie Gras Duo:

Foie Gras Parfait with Red Wine Jelly;

Pan Seared Foie Gras with Swiss Chard and Chestnut Quiche

 

Foie Gras Parfait:

1000 g goose liver

0,5 dl cream

3 pc pearl onion

2 pc bay leafs

2 ml truffle oil

1,5 dl Tokaji wine

1,5 dl red wine jelly

Salt and white pepper

Method: Cut the goose liver into four and place it on a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper than add the whole onions, the bay leafs and the Tokaji wine.  Bake in the oven at 180˚C for about 6-8 minutes. Pour off the grease and take out the onions and the bay leafs. Grind together the liver with the cream and truffle oil then chill down the mix in the refrigerator. When it is cool enough with the help of a foam sack place it into a small glass and add the red wine jelly on the top to decorate.

If we do not have red wine jelly we can use sautéed pear instead.

Sautéed Pear:

200 g cooking pear

20 g butter

1 pc cinnamon stick

30 g brown sugar

1 dl Tokaji wine

Method: Peal the pears and cut them into cubes than sautéed it with the rest of the ingredients.

Pan Seared Foie Gras:

160 g goose liver

2 ml sunflower oil

Salt and pepper

Method: Slice the goose liver into medallions weighing 40g each. Season it with salt and pepper than sear it in a pre-heated pan until it is golden brown.

Quiche:

80 g flour

40 g butter

1 pc egg

2,5 g water

salt

Method: Incorporate the ingredients until it will reach smooth dough and keep in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes before using. Flat it down with a roller about 0,5 cm high and place them in a round small baking form. Pre-bake at 180 ˚C for about 6-8 minutes.

Royal:

3 dl cream

4 pc egg yolks

nutmeg

salt and pepper

Stuffing:

30 g swiss chard

300 g chestnut

100 g shallot

20 g butter

5 g acacia honey

olive oil

salt and pepper

Method: Cut the top of each fresh chestnut in order to bake it thoroughly. Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 160 ˚C for 30-35 minutes. When it is ready clean and cut them into bigger pieces. Wash the swiss chard under running water and divide the white part from the green. Peel the white stamp and cut into cubes and the green part into large julienne. Chop thinly the shallot and sear it with the olive oil, butter and the white part of the swiss chard. Then add the chestnut and let it cook for 5 minutes. At the end add the honey, the green leaves and season with the salt and the pepper. After cooling for a few minutes mix it with the royal and pour it into the pre-baked quiche dough. Bake in the oven at 180˚C for about 20-25 minutes until it is firm and the top has golden colour.

 

2.

Kárpáthy Style Pike Perch with Parsnip Flan, Green Asparagus and

Mushroom, Crayfish Ragout

 

Pike Perch:

600 g pike perch fillet

salt and pepper

sunflower oil

Method: Cut the pike perch into pieces weighing approximately 120 g each. Season them with salt and pepper than let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile heat up the sunflower oil in a pan and seare the fish in it on both sides. When both sides are golden brown put them into a pre-heated owen and bake it at 180˚C for about 4-5 minutes.

Sauce:

100 g Champignon mushroom

20 g pearl onion

0,5 l cream

60 g pre-cooked crayfish tail

10 g butter

10 g flour

5 g fresh dill

1 dl white wine or lemon juice

salt and pepper

Method: Chop the pearl onion into small pieces then sear it in a pan with the butter. Cut the mushroom into slices and add them to the pan together with some salt and pepper. When the mushroom has a nice golden colour sprinkle with the flour and stir it for another 2 minutes. Then add the cream and boil it for about 3 minutes. Finish the sauce with the crayfish tails and the lemon juice (or white wine). At the last minute sprinkle the ragout with the fresh, thinly cut dill.

Parsnip flan:

50 gr parsnip

100 gr milk

100 gr cream

3 pc eggs

20 gr parmesan cheese

Method: Preheat the oven 180 degrees. Cook the parsnip in vegetable stock for about 35-40 minutes while it will soft. Remove all the fluid from the parsnip and put them on a baking tray. Bake them in the oven at 180˚C for 3-4 minutes to make it dry a little bit. Make purée from the parsnip then blend it with the rest of the ingrediences while we will have a smooth consistency. Place the mixture in to a buttered mould and bake it in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it will be firm.

Green Asparagus:

0,5 kg green asparagus (12 pc)

0,2 g parsley

vegetable stock

butter

salt and pepper

Method: Peel the asparagus on the bottom of the stamp and wash them. Braise them with all the ingredients until soft enough, keeping the green colour (about 3-5 minutes after starting to boil)

Garnish: fresh dill

 

3.

Walnut and Poppy Seed Beigli with Warm Cinnamon Sauce

 

Dough:

250 g flour

1 pc egg yolk

22,5 g custard sugar

5 g yeast powder

125 g butter

125 g milk

2 g salt

Method: Incorporate all the ingredients until it will reach smooth dough and keep in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before using. Split the dough and flatten it with a roller to about 1 cm high, into a square shape.

We will use them with two different fillings.

Poppy seed filling:

140 g ground poppy seed

93 g sugar

56 g water

22 g honey

31 g raisin

2 g lemon zest

2 g cinnamon powder

Method: Incorporate the ingredients with the exception of the poppy seed and bring them to boil. When it is ready pour it on the poppy seed and mix it until it will reach a smooth consistency. Cool it down before using.

Walnut filling:

140 g ground walnut

93 g sugar

56 g water

22 g honey

31 g raisin

2 g cinnamon powder

Method: Incorporate the ingredients with the exception of the walnut and bring them to boil. When it is ready pour it on the walnut and mix it until it will reach a smooth consistency. Cool it down before using.

Compilation of the Bejgli: Put the filling evenly on the previously flattened dough and roll it up gently. Separate an egg into egg white and yolk. First whisk the egg yolk and brush the rolls with it. Than let them rest in the refrigerator for an hour. When the yolk is dried use the egg white to brush them again. Let it rest on warm place for half an hour Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 180 ˚C for about 40 minutes. Let it cool down before cutting in slices.

Cinnamon Sauce:

100 g milk

2 pc egg yolks

30 g sugar

3 g cinnamon powder

Method: Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and warm up the milk by the side. When the milk is boiling pour in the egg mix and cook it for about 2 minutes until it will reach the right consistency. Add the cinnamon powder and serve it warm. (BBJ)