Greetings, fellow travelers! In response to winter’s chill, we’ve conjured for you the romance and intrigue of old Europe with flavors as heady as the spice of well-seasoned firewood, as comforting as a thrice-wrapped scarf, and as cleverly deceptive as a double agent.
We started poking around the edges of Hungarian goulash and Danish pastry for a winter rollout, curious to see how Anson Mills heirlooms would perform in these classic dishes. We knew goulash was often misrepresented here in the United States, and we knew Danish was, in point of fact, Viennese. Ultimately, we became as intrigued with the historical antecedents as with the recipes themselves, discovering though neither place-based identity is actually what it seems, each can claim direct lineage to the late Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A click on each image will take you to its recipe.
Paprika-Braised Short Ribs with Pinched Butter Dumplings (Csipetke)
Let’s start with a Hungarian stew of alphabet letters seasoned with accent marks, and a second stew in a pot with just three ingredients: water, meat, and onions. As it evolved, “goulash” absorbed the culture of wild and domestic meats, caraway, paprika, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, noodles, sour cream, gherkins, and the like, becoming more like the Hungarian language by the decade. By the 19th century, as its ingredients swirled across Western Europe, “goulash” had garnered new names and identities. In present-day Hungary, as many as five or six different dishes possess similar elements and different names. Our retread of this ancient, rural original goes “restaurant urban” using short ribs, shallots, and wine, but finishes with decidedly old-school hand-wrought soup dumplings called csipetke. The semolina we used in the csipetke reflects the ancient wheat culture of central Europe. Goulash it is not, but it will soothe your soul on a wintry evening just the same.
Classic Danish Pastry Dough
Danish pastry has been casting around foreign capitals under various aliases for years—and despite being wanted for questioning, it continues to elude all but seasoned pros. In disguises ranging from plump peasant braids, to crisp dashing twists, to jagged claws, to fruit-filled envelopes, Danish strikes out beyond its celebrated buttery patina, flaky layers, and moist fermented crumb into an array of accessories: custard and quark, dried and fresh fruit, nuts, icings, and glazes. We weren’t looking to apprehend Danish—which has been the same elevated butter and egg enriched laminated yeast dough for centuries—just to capture its original essence with Anson Mills ingredients. For anyone willing and able, this is a superb Danish pastry recipe—shown below amid various costume changes and camouflage.
Danish Apricot Envelopes
Shivery-tart plumped apricots baked on smooth custard and crisp layers of pastry, and then brushed with a sticky apricot glaze.
Round and round we go, these snails are rolled up with rum-soaked currants, toasted pecans, and the Danish frosting called remonce. They get a light sugar glaze.
Danish Apple Braid
How to describe the lusciousness of a buttery apple compote—fragrant, tart and whisper-sweet—tucked into a Danish braid with remonce, the pastry's favorite filling?