This recipe for Walnut and Jam Bars, also called Hungarian Londoni Szelet, comes from Transylvania. The rosehip jam and walnuts are the stars of this wonderful recipe you can make for any occasion, from lazy Sundays to holidays.
Discover the Recipe's Charm
I am pleased to finally share with you a recipe that is the closest to my heart. The recipe comes from my grandmother, Herta, who used to make it very often.
She made these bars using walnuts from the walnut tree growing in the backyard and rose hip jam she was making from scratch.
I know it doesn't mean anything to you, but for me, that image is the same as the memories I have of the summers spent in that part of the world while growing up.
This recipe is Hungarian, but it was adopted by many generations of Romanians, Hungarians, and Saxons living in Transylvania. You can also find it under different names.
My grandmother was German, so she called this recipe Szekler Kuchen. Schneider Kuchen is another name for this delicious dessert.
In Hungarian, it is called Londoni Szelet; in Romanian, it is called either Prajitura London or Prajitura cu gem si nuca.
It took me a while to figure out the right recipe for these bars, as my grandmother did not write it down. Another family member gave me the recipe, but she was very vague with her instructions.
I think a lot of recipes were like that in the past. They were passed from generation to generation. People learned from each other. Therefore, many times, nothing was written down.
It was a pinch of this, a tablespoon of that, a handful of flour to make a dough and other incomplete instructions that only an experimented baker could figure out how to make the recipe today.
The bars have three layers: a delicious shortbread crust, a layer of jam, and a layer of meringue and walnuts, all baked to perfection.
In the Fagaras region, where my grandmother lived in Transylvania, this recipe is traditionally made with rosehip jam.
What is Rosehip, and where does it come from?
Rosehip is a fruit from the European native dog rose (Rosa canina), a wild rose plant. The plant makes little red fruits (rose hips) high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Because it grows abundantly in Transylvania and other regions of Romania, the plant is very popular and widely used in many products.
People make jam or a sweet paste out of this fruit, sometimes tea, wine, or syrup that can be diluted with water and enjoyed as a refreshment.
Apparently, the dog rose was also popular in the United States in the 1940s, during World War II, when it was planted in the victory gardens.
I really encourage you to make the recipe with rosehip jam, if you have it available, so you can taste it as it was supposed to taste originally in this dessert.
However, feel free to swap out the rosehip jam for your favorite flavor if you cannot find that jam in particular.
Try to avoid anything too sweet. Tart jams like cherry, apricot, blackberry, raspberry, or lingonberry work best. The bars are sweet, so they need a tart fruit jam for balance.
Sweet, tart, and gooey, these bars are perfect for a weekend or as a gift to your favorite person. Impress your coworkers with these bars when you make them for a potluck.
They are also an excellent dessert for a Christmas gathering or a New Year's party, as they are easy to make and serve directly from the pan where you baked them.
This dessert is made with regular all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, eggs, walnuts, and your favorite jam. Please see the recipe card for the complete list.
How To Make These Walnut and Jam Bars:
While you can definitely make the shortbread crust by hand, I chose to use a food processor. There is no shame in using one when you are in a hurry.
Step 1. Ground the walnuts in the food processor.
Step 2. Make the crust.
The unsalted butter has to be very cold, directly from the fridge. Start by measuring all the ingredients and gathering them together.
To make the crust, put the dry ingredients in the food processor and add the butter. Pulse 3-4 times or until you obtain a dough that has a sandy texture.
Add the egg and pulse a few more times until you obtain a dough.
Shape the dough into a thick disk, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3. Make the walnut topping
I used the same food processor to make the cream. Place the eggs, sugar, and zest of lemon in the food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture looks frothy.
Incorporate the ground walnuts and mix until you obtain a creamy mixture.
Step 4. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C, assemble the pan and bake.
Lightly flour the dough and the table surface and roll the dough to the size of a 9x13 inch (23/33cm) baking pan. Place the dough in the baking pan.
Spread a layer of jam over it. Spread the walnut mixture over the jam.
Place the baking pan inside the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Let the pan cool on a rack, then cut the bars into squares and serve them.
How long do these walnut and jam bars last?
I hope they do not last too long, as they are amazing and everyone will love them. However, these bars can last for about two weeks if you keep them at room temperature in an air-tight container.
This is awesome if you ask me because you can bake them in advance. They are insanely decadent, rich, and so good that you will not be able to stop after only one piece. You can make the recipe for potlucks, picnics, holidays, or any Sunday family meal.
Perfect with coffee. This is how my grandmother used to serve this dessert.
The baked goods were kept in the pantry and enjoyed during the week with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, especially with friends or family who would stop for a short visit once in a while.
If you are curious about the recipe, I dare you to bake it and tell me if you like it. It is easy to make and very delicious. If you have a major sweet tooth, this dessert is for you.
More bars recipes
Walnut and Jam Bars -Hungarian Londoni Szelet
For the Crust:
- 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg
- 14 ounces fruit jam You need a tart jam, not very sweet, like rosehip, plum, lingonberry, apricot
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- zest from one lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups ground walnuts
Make the crust:
If you make the dough by hand:
- In a bowl place flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Add cubed cold butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry tool until you obtain a sandy mixture.
- Add egg and knead them together until you obtain a dough.
If you use a food processor:
- In a food processor, place flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together.
- Add butter and pulse 3-4 times or until you obtain a dough that has a sandy texture.
- Add egg and pulse few more times until you obtain a dough.
- Shape the dough into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the walnuts topping:
- Beat the eggs until frothy, then add the sugar and the zest of the lemon. Beat again until creamy. Incorporate the ground walnuts.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Lightly flour the dough and the table surface and roll the dough to the size of a 9x13 inch(23/33cm) baking pan.
- Place the dough in the baking pan.
- Spread a layer of jam over it.
- Spread the walnut mixture over the jam.
- Place the baking pan inside the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- When cool, cut in squares and serve. This bars should be kept room temperature in a dry, cool place(closed container). They last about 14 days.