Ginger-flavored Soup Biscuits

photo taken by Craig Dugas, on January 25, 2009, CC licensing

This is quite an unusual soup garnish. It is in the Austro-Hungarian cooking tradition, but different from other Austrian or Hungarian recipes I know. I love the texture and the nice ginger flavor of these biscuits in beef-vegetable soup or other meat soups. Sprinkle chopped parsley around the biscuit slices in the soup and you will have an interesting, elegant, yet easily prepared dish.

Though Riza neni used ground ginger to make these biscuits—she couldn't buy fresh ginger in Moson—I used fresh ginger in this and several other savory recipes calling for ginger because, given the choice, I prefer its taste to ground ginger in such recipes. If you don't have fresh ginger on hand and wish to bask in the glory of super-authenticity, you can always substitute half the amount of ground ginger for the fresh one.

- 1 teaspoon canola oil or rendered poultry fat (to grease the pan)
- 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs, made from stale white bread in the food processor (to coat the pan)
- 1 whole large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 2 slices white bread (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/2" cubes, dried for 5-7 minutes on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven, soaked for 1 minute in enough water to cover, and squeezed out 1 tablespoon canola oil or rendered poultry fat
- 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Special equipment: 3 1/2" x 8 1/2" (2 1/2" x 7 1/2" at the bottom) loaf pan or a baking pan of about the same area

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the loaf pan or baking pan with oil or poultry fat, add bread crumbs, and tilt the form to coat it with crumbs.

2. Place the eggs in a large bowl, whisk them, and add all the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly with a fork to make a thick, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to the loaf or baking pan and with the back of a moistened spoon spread it in an approximately 1" -thick layer. If you have time for it, let it rest for about 10 minutes. Place it on a baking sheet and bake it in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

3. Turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool for at least 5 minutes. The dough, which has puffed-up in the oven, will slightly deflate during cooling. Using a serrated knife, cut it into 1/2"-thick slices and use about 4 slices for each serving. Add the slices to the soup only in the last minute before serving.

Approximate time for preparation:
about 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Sephardic or Askhenazi