Lichiu Henklesh

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Lichiu Henklesh

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Ingredients

For the base dough:
350 gr White flour
25 gr cube of fresh yeast or a teaspoon of dried
2 Egg Yolks save the whites for the topping
1 lemon lemon zest

3 tablespoons Sugar
50 ml Oil vegetable is fine
1 teaspoon salt Warm milk have about 250ml to hand, but you'll add it as needed
For the topping:
1 l Milk
1 cup semolina flour
to taste Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
6 egg whites
4 Egg Yolks
100 gr Butter
350 gr heavy cream
2 small packets vanilla or equivalent in essence if preferred
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • For the base dough:

  • For the topping:

Directions

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Henklesh, called also “hencleș” or “lichiu”, is a dessert made from simple ingredients that has a bygone taste. Henklesh was never missing from a Saxon table, especially on holidays. Today it is prepared only in the grandparents’ houses or in the communities where the Saxons used to live, and the recipe has changed slightly over time. This dessert or pie is made up of a bread base, something like a thick pizza base in a way, which is then topped with a sweet, creamy mixture and baked –  ideally in a wood-fired oven. It is mostly something cooked at home, particular at times of the year when there is a surplus of eggs (my countryside neighbors frequently cook it around Easter time).

“Saxon style bread-base and sweet dairy topping dessert” 

Time: A couple of hours of prep and baking, depending on the oven

Serving: 8-10 slices

How to Make Lichiu Henklesh:

  1. First of all, prepare the dough. Prepare a yeast starter by mixing together the yeast, one tablespoon of the sugar, one tablespoon of the flour and about 100 ml of the warm milk (make sure it’s not too hot or it’ll kill the yeast).
  2. Mix these together well and leave in a warm place. In about 10-15 minutes, you should see it start to froth and smell ‘yeasty’, this means it’s activated and ready to use.
  3. Once it’s ready, put the rest of the flour in a large bowl (or on a surface if so inclined) and make a well in the middle.
  4. Into the well, add the prepared yeast starter and the two egg yolks and salt. Start to combine them (eggs, starter, salt) and then add the rest of the warm milk, the rest of the sugar, and the zest.
  5. Start to draw in the flour and bring it all together to make a dough, adding the oil little by little once a dough is formed. Keep kneading the dough until it becomes more ‘elastic’ and stops sticking to your hands.
  6. When you feel the dough is ready (this is something bread or pasta makers amongst you will ‘feel’, otherwise, just kneed it until well combined and no longer ‘sticky’), rub a little oil on the ball of dough, put it in a large bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place to rise to about double its original size.
  7. Meanwhile, make a thick semolina by boiling the semolina flour in the milk.
  8. Add sugar according to taste (I’ve had lichiu that’s very sweet and other times almost savory, but it is a dessert and I think it tastes better on the sweet side). Leave the mixture to cool.
  9. Beat the egg whites until they start to make peaks, then fold it gradually into the semolina, which should be lukewarm.
  10. Separately blend the four egg yolks with the butter, add the vanilla flavoring, and then gradually mix in the heavy cream.
  11. Finally, once the dough has risen, roll it out to about 3-4 mm. You can use a shallow baking tray here or maybe even a pie dish, whatever you have to hand. Traditionally the trays are greased but unlined, but feel free to use baking paper if you prefer.
  12. Lay the rolled-out dough in the tray and adjust it to go right to the edges. Pour the semolina mixture onto the dough base, then spread the cream mixture on top of that, making sure to spread it out evenly.
  13. Bake the lichiu for about 40-45 minutes (keep an eye on it) until it is golden brown on top. If using a conventional oven, pre-heat it to about 180°C.

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