Valašský frgál (Valašsko cake)
CZO Valašský frgál is a Czech cake with a diameter of 30-32 cm. Also known colloquially as ‘vdolek’, ‘pecák’ or ‘lopaťák’, it is made from a fine yeast-based dough and has a topping. After baking, the colour of the cake is golden, whereas that of the topping is characteristic of the topping used, with a light-coloured crumble on the surface, which may be sprinkled with gingerbread crumbs or ground cinnamon, or drizzled with butter and sprinkled with sugar. The types of topping used are pear, curd cheese, poppy seed, jam (povidla), fruit (plum, apple, bilberry, apricot), walnut, cabbage (fresh cabbage or sauerkraut), carrot and kohlrabi. The topping accounts for about 42-48 % of the whole product.
The cake is placed on a circular paper base and most commonly packaged in a heat-shrinkable wrapper or another kind of food-grade wrapper used on the market. It may also be packaged in a carton, a plastic or wooden box or a greaseproof-paper wrapping. Types of packaging: whole cakes: 600-700 g; halves 300-350 g; quarters: 150-175 g. The cakes may be sold unpackaged on the premises where they are made. ‘Valašský frgál’ may also be marketed frozen. The freezing process does not alter the product’s properties. It is placed in the freezer already packaged. The frozen product may be stored at a temperature of – 18 °C or less for nine months. It is recommended that it be consumed within 24 hours after being defrosted.
The following raw materials are used to make the dough: semi-coarse wheat flour or a blend of three types of flour (fine-ground, semi-coarse and coarse), beet sugar or sweetener, vegetable fats or vegetable oil or lard or butter, pasteurised or fresh egg yolks, milk powder or fresh milk or drinking water, fruit juices (lemon, apple, pear), bakers’ yeast and salt; nowadays, it is permitted to add an improver to the dough in order to keep the product fresh. The main ingredient is flour; the proportions of the other ingredients by weight of dough must be as follows: fat (vegetable fat or oil or lard or butter) — at least 20 %; sugar or sweetener (fructose) — at least 10 % (if another sweetener is used, the amount will depend on its sweetness); egg yolks — at least 5 %. The amount of fruit juice, yeast, salt and other flavour-imparting raw materials depends on the recipe used by individual producers. The topping must account for about 42-48 % of the total weight of a ‘Valašský frgál’ before baking.
The following raw materials are used to make the topping:
-pear topping: pear jam (povidla) made from dried pears, plum jam (povidla) or fruit jam, dried apples, grated gingerbread, ethyl oxyhydrate-based flavouring (hereinafter ‘flavouring’), ground star anise, vanilla sugar, drinking water;
-curd-cheese topping: soft curd cheese, beet sugar or sweetener, pasteurised or fresh egg yolks, drinking water, raisins, vanilla sugar or vanilla custard, fruit juice (optional), vegetable oil, flavouring, ground mace, curd-cheese stabiliser, forest berries;
-poppy seed topping: ground poppy seeds, beet sugar or sweetener, milk powder or fresh milk, drinking water, vegetable fat, fine-ground wheat flour, vanilla sugar, raisins, breadcrumbs, ground cinnamon, flavouring; jam (povidla) topping: plum jam (povidla), vanilla sugar or sweetener, drinking water, flavouring;
-nut topping: ground nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts or a mixture), beet sugar or sweetener, fine-ground wheat flour, milk, butter or vegetable fat or vegetable oil, breadcrumbs, apricot jam, drinking water, raisins, vanilla sugar, flavouring;
-cabbage topping: shredded fresh cabbage or well-rinsed sauerkraut, beet sugar or sweetener, butter or vegetable fat or vegetable oil, fine-ground wheat flour, drinking water, ground black pepper, salt;
-kohlrabi topping: fresh kohlrabi, beet sugar or sweetener, butter or vegetable fat or vegetable oil, fineground wheat flour, lemon juice or apple juice, drinking water, ground black pepper, fresh or dried parsley, salt.
Concise definition of the geographical area:
Valašsko, which is a geographical region in the south-east of the Czech Republic.
Link with the geographical area:
In the past, drying was the most traditional method used by the inhabitants of Valašsko to preserve fruit. For the rest of the year, the dried fruit was put to a wide variety of culinary uses. The most typical example of this was the use of dried pears to make pear jam (povidla). The use of a single kind of spread — or topping — on a ‘frgál’ is also typical for Valašsko. This is a tradition; as historical sources also state, there is never more than one type of topping on a ‘frgál’.
‘Valašský frgál’ differs from other cakes in particular owing to the following characteristics: — the method of making the dough and its composition: the runnier ingredients are first whisked together until they form a smooth paste. The fats, which have been softened, are then added and everything is again whisked together to obtain a smooth paste. Only then is the leavening agent added, and after that the flour is added gradually to form a smooth dough which must be mixed until bubbles form (it contains plenty of air) and must not stick.
— the rolling of the dough into a round shape using a one-hand rolling pin that also originates in Valašsko. The even rolling-out of the dough from the centre to the edges means that, although thin, it is dense, soft and fine-textured when baked,
— a ‘Valašský frgál’ only ever has one kind of topping on it (toppings are never combined). The topping accounts for a high proportion of the cake: about 42-48 % by weight before baking. The surface of the topping is sprinkled generously with crumble and may be sprinkled with gingerbread crumbs or ground cinnamon. After baking, it may be sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with butter.
Reference: The European Commission