“Oven-baked lángos!” When I first saw the sign at the Budapest Christmas fair years ago, I was puzzled. What is lángos about if not deep-fried greasy goodness? But judging from the crowds gathered around the stand, where a clay oven was stoked with wood and slabs of speckled dough were rotated in to bake over the coals, there must be something worthy of attention.
Töki pompos is the Hungarian name for this specialty, and once I got my hands on a piece I understood why fair-goers waited in the icy wind for their own slice. Soft dough with an artery-busting topping of sour cream, onions, bacon and cheese is just what you need to fortify yourself for braving the crowds at the vásár. Even if you don’t make it to the fair, this is easy to make at home, although you might need to open a window and let in some fresh air to really recreate the atmosphere.
Oven-baked lángos (Töki pompos)
Since I’m not a porkophile, I leave the bacon off my piece, and just go a little heavier on the smoked cheese. If you don’t feel like making dough yourself, prepared pizza dough will work in a pinch.
- 8 oz/220 grams floury potatoes (about 1 large potato)
- 2½ cups/320 grams flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup/160 ml water, reserved from cooking the potatoes
For the topping
- 1 cup/200 grams sour cream
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 4 oz/110 grams thick-cut bacon, cubed (optional)
- 1 large purple onion, thinly sliced
- 4 oz/110 grams smoked cheese, grated
- Peel and roughly chop the potato; cook in a pot of boiling water until pieces are easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
- Drain, reserving 2/3 cup of the cooking water. Set the water aside to cool, and mash the potatoes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt.
- Stir the mashed potatoes and water into the dry ingredients, and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes until it is smooth and a bit sticky.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic and leave it to rise for about 2 hours or until doubled.
- When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, 200 C.
- On a well-oiled baking sheet, roll or pat out the dough to about ½ inch (2 cm) thick, then bake for 8-10 minutes or until it is just beginning to turn golden. Set aside to cool.
- While the dough is baking and cooling, prepare your toppings. Chop the bacon, slice the onions, grate the cheese. Put the garlic through a press or use a microplane, and mix it into the sour cream.
- When the dough is cool enough to touch, spread on the sour cream, then sprinkle the onions and bacon evenly over the top. Sprinkle the cheese over it all.
- Return to the oven to bake another 10-12 minutes until the cheese has browned and the bacon is cooked.
- Slice and serve.