I am sitting at my favorite place, on the stairs at the front door eating cheese wafers we made with my grandmother yesterday and listen to the quiet little noise leaves are making when they arrive at the bottom after falling down slowly from the cherry tree. This idyllic relaxing moment ends when my dog Beeper shows up with her toy in her mouth and asks me to play with her. For this I would really need four hands: two for typing the blog post, another one for grabbing the wafers and another one to throw the toy as far as possible to make her happy. Fortunately some people from the village pass by on the street which attracts little dog’s attention so I can go back to my blog post and wafers. At least for a while.
Cheese wafer is our childhood classic and favorite snack which is my grandmother’s speciality since she was the only one who had the cast-iron wafer-maker which is necessary to make them. It was made specially for her in a small manufactory in Veszprém, in my home town. Its grips are made from wood, the iron became already black because of lots of years of usage which is not surprising: it is already 60 years old. It served many family occasions, evening snacks and the arrivals of the grandchildren.
Although I don’t have a wafer- maker yet, I would like to learn how to make it, if only because of the nostalgic feeling it awakes in me when I see these golden brown cheesy wafers.
I like cooking with my grandmother. I like watching her movements which show many years of experience, her logically and practically organized kitchen where every tool has its own place. There isn’t any single unnecessary movement and everything needs to go back to its place right away we don’t use it any more. My grandmother likes tidiness and order. We knead the dough together than heat up the iron on the stove. As everything this tool has its own tricks as well. When using gas stove the flame shouldn’t be too big or too little. The dough should be placed properly on the iron to have enough space to grow. We push together the iron and turn it immediately. But not with that energetic, grandiose movements like I did the first time- my grandmother warns me that moving to much will make me tired at the end.
After the first wafers are ready we taste them and we miss some salt. We add more salt to the dough, bake another bunch and test it again. Then it pops into our minds that we could add some pepper…Here we are, we ground some pepper on the dough pieces and bake them. Next time we decide to add same garlic seasoning salt. Another bunch, another testing-tasting. This way we slowly get the recipe ready which is the 4th version of the original recipe since my grandma started to bake wafers 60 years ago.
She allows me to take the iron home to try it alone and take some pictures. While I am baking another bunch of wafers I ask Áron the question which I had in my head since morning. “Áron could you make a wafer-maker for me…for example for Christmas maybe…? I look at him with hopeful wide-opened eyes while he is examining the wafer-maker. “Yes, I could actually” he says slowly which statement I answer with a loud “Yuhuuu!”
“It is 60 years old”- I point meaningfully at the iron. Áron smiles at me with a smile I know very well and shows me that he is actually reading in my mind.
“Than I have to make one which last at least so long, right?”
- 500 g plain flour
- 100 g cake and pastry flour
- 200 g butter or margarine
- 150 g grated cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 200 ml sour cream
- 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds and/or ground pepper or any other spice according to your taste
- Mix flours with salt, bicarbonate of soda and any seasonings you might use. Grate butter and mix it with the flour than add grated cheese. Mix sour cream and egg yolks and add to the dough, then knead it until it is smooth and soft.
- Put it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Heat up the wafer-maker.
- Cut the dough into 4-6 pieces and roll them to a long, tight cylinder. Cut it to 2 cm pieces and put two of them on the iron at once.
- Press it together and fold it immediately. They get quickly a beautiful golden color remove them with a spatula and put them in a prepared bowl or plate. It is not a problem if you pile them up and there is no need for an airtight container. They keep their crispiness for a long time by only covered by a napkin.
Judit is a Hungarian globetrotter, cook and food photographer who loves eating, cooking, taking pictures and writing about all of that. She travelled through Europe, lived in Germany, France and Spain, and even had her own successful bistro in the heart of Budapest called Bistro 181. After years of traveling and cooking abroad she returned to her home country and moved to the village where her grandmother was born. Her blog, Taste of Memories is a return to the roots. She is cooking and baking her family’s old recipes, bringing new life into her countryside house and orchard and rediscovering beautiful places in the Hungarian countryside.