Growing up, Sunday lunches where always the time for special desserts in my family. My mother always spent extra time making a decorative cake, trying out a new cookie recipe, or satisfying the family’s recurring request for madártej, our favorite. It may have been a frugal indulgence, but a labor-intensive one at that, as the creamy custard and light-as-air egg-white dumplings would have to be prepared a day in advance. The giant bowl of deliciousness was instantly inhaled by all.
A direct descendant of the French floating island, madártej (literally “bird’s milk”) is a deceptively simple looking dessert of fluffy meringue floating on a sea of vanilla custard that has become a staple of the Hungarian culinary lexicon.