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Vargabéles [Sweet Noodle Pie] – Easy Kitchen Guide

By Lori Walker, MS, RD | Last update on October 31, 2022

The Vargabéles is a traditional Hungarian dessert that is made with a layer of noodles with melted butter, a layer cream and dough sheets on the top. It’s often decorated with whipped cream and it can be absolutely delicious.

Who doesn’t like dessert? Well, maybe some people don’t have a sweet tooth, but I think most folks enjoy a tasty treat now and then. And what could be better than a delicious piece of cake?

Of course, there are all sorts of cakes out there to choose from. You’ve got your chocolate cakes, fruitcakes, angel food cakes… the list goes on and on. But one type of cake that always seems to stand out is the Vargabéles.

If you’re looking for something a little different the next time you want to indulge in a dessert, why not give the Vargabéles a try? You just might be pleasantly surprised.

Vargabéles

What is Vargabéles?

Vargabéles is a flat ribbon-like strip of pasta that has been cooked. Warm butter and cottage cheese are sprinkled on top before mixing it. It’s thinned with sour cream, bound with eggs, sweetened with sugar, flavored with vanilla or lemon peel, and baked to perfection.

You can serve Vargabéles as a second main course or as a dessert. It is often served with fruit or jam.

What does it taste like?

Vargabéles is a sweet and cheesy pastry that is similar to a cream cheese Danish. The dough is light and flaky, and the filling is rich and creamy. There is also a hint of sweetness from the raisins added to the filling. Vargabéles are best served warm, and they can be dusted with confectioners’ sugar or drizzled with chocolate sauce.

How to make Vargabéles?

Vargabéles is a dessert that hails from Transylvania, more specifically Kolozsvár. It was created in the 1920s or 1930s by the Darvas family. This family-owned a restaurant at the time.

Vargabeles consist of two layers of dough surrounding Romanian cow cheese and pasta filling – making it a cake like no other. The dough was originally a shortcrust pastry. But now it has been replaced by store-bought phyllo dough sheets. 

In the fall of 2016, I was on a solo trip to Transylvania and stayed in the city of Sibiu. I had read about vargabéles in my guidebook and was dying to try it. The guidebook said that the best place in town to get it was at Kürtősh, a small cafe located on Strada Vasile Alecsandri. I ordered vargabéles. 

As I took my first bite, I was instantly in love. The dough was light and flaky, and the filling was creamy and cheesy with just a hint of sweetness. It was unlike any dessert I had ever had before, and I knew I had to get the recipe. Somehow, I managed the recipe. I was so excited to get home and make vargabéles for my friends and family.

It is an easy recipe. I made it with cheese, noodles, sugar and phyllo dough sheets. In your big party, this dessert can easily fill the core of the heart of your guests. 

And now, I’m sharing the recipe with you!

How to make Vargabéles?

Ingredients

  • 6-8 sheets phyllo dough 
  • 200g vermicelli pasta (Angel hair pasta will also work)
  • 100g raisins soaked in warm water
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 300g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 600g Romanian cow cheese
  • 1 egg yolk for spreading the top
  • 40g melted butter for pasta
  • 60g melted butter for the filling
  • 60g melted butter for brushing the phyllo dough sheets
  • 4-5 tbsp butter for spreading the dough sheet
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar to finish

Equipment

  • Two mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Oven

Instructions

Step 1: First, take the raisins in a small bowl and soak them in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes.  

Step 2: Cook the pasta in boiling water with a little salt added until it is soft. After draining the noodles, combine them immediately with 40g of melted butter. Put them aside.

Step 3: Whisk the egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl until frothy. Next, mix in cow cheese, sour cream, vanilla sugar, raisins (that have been drained), and lemon zest. Finally, stir in the 60g melted butter and cooled buttered vermicelli.

Step 4: Take a large bowl, add 4 eggs white and a pinch of salt. Beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the foam into the Romanian cow cheese mixture, not breaking up the bubbles too much.

Step 5: Preheat your oven to 170°C (338°F). 

Step 6: Now take a 20×30 cm baking pan, then line it with 3-4 phyllo dough sheets. Make sure to spread butter on each sheet before placing them in the baking pan. 

Step 7: In a pan, melt 60g or 5 tablespoons of butter. Take three sheets of phyllo dough and lay them at the bottom of the baking dish to cover the sides. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter on all layers. Add the cow cheese mixture evenly on top of the dough, then place three more sheets of buttered phyllo dough on top. Use a brush to spread a beaten egg yolk over the final layer.

Step 8: Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Bake until the top is golden brown.

Step 9: Allow the cake to cool somewhat, then cut it into equal-sized squares. 

Best served lukewarm, with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.

Tips

-If you can’t find raisins, you can use chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries instead.

-Vargabéles can also be made in a muffin tin. Just fill each muffin cup with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and top with a sheet of phyllo dough. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

-If you want a really cheesy flavor, you can add 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the filling.

-For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free phyllo dough.

What to serve with Vargabéles?

You can serve Vargabéles as a dessert or a snack. It goes well with coffee or tea and can also be enjoyed on its own.

How to store leftover Vargabéles?

Vargabéles can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

What Type of Cheese can I use for the Vargabéles?

This recipe suggests the Romanian cow cheese, but you can replace it if needed with quark cheese or cottage cheese–whatever is best for your tastes. Keep in mind that they all have a fairly mild taste. I prefer to use full-fat cottage cheese for a richer flavor. You can also use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese.

Vargabeles Recipe

Vargabéles [Sweet Noodle Pie]

Lori Walker, MS, RD
The Vargabéles is a traditional Hungarian dessert that is made with a layer of noodles with melted butter, a layer cream and dough sheets on the top. It’s often decorated with whipped cream and it can be absolutely delicious.
If you’re looking for something a little different the next time you want to indulge in a dessert, why not give the Vargabéles a try? You just might be pleasantly surprised.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Hungarian Cuisine
Servings 8 people
Calories 402.6 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 mixing bowl
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 Oven

Ingredients
  

  • 6-8 sheets phyllo dough 
  • 200 g vermicelli pasta 
  • 100 g raisins soaked in warm water
  • cup sugar
  • 300 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 600 g Romanian cow cheese
  • 1 egg yolk for spreading the top
  • 40 g melted butter for pasta
  • 60 g melted butter for the filling
  • 60 g melted butter for brushing the phyllo dough sheets
  • 4-5 tbsp butter for spreading the dough sheet
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar to finish

Instructions
 

  • First, take the raisins in a small bowl and soak them in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes.  
  • Cook the pasta in boiling water with a little salt added until it is soft. After draining the noodles, combine them immediately with 40g of melted butter. Put them aside.
  • Whisk the egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl until frothy. Next, mix in cow cheese, sour cream, vanilla sugar, raisins (that have been drained), and lemon zest. Finally, stir in the 60g melted butter and cooled buttered vermicelli.
  • Take a large bowl, add 4 eggs white and a pinch of salt. Beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the foam into the Romanian cow cheese mixture, not breaking up the bubbles too much.
  • Preheat your oven to 170°C (338°F). 
  • Now take a 20×30 cm baking pan, then line it with 3-4 phyllo dough sheets. Make sure to spread butter on each sheet before placing them in the baking pan. 
  • In a pan, melt 60g or 5 tablespoons of butter. Take three sheets of phyllo dough and lay them at the bottom of the baking dish to cover the sides. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter on all layers. Add the cow cheese mixture evenly on top of the dough, then place three more sheets of buttered phyllo dough on top. Use a brush to spread a beaten egg yolk over the final layer.
  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Bake until the top is golden brown.
  • Allow the cake to cool somewhat, then cut it into equal-sized squares.

Video

Notes

-If you can’t find raisins, you can use chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries instead.
-Vargabéles can also be made in a muffin tin. Just fill each muffin cup with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and top with a sheet of phyllo dough. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
-If you want a really cheesy flavor, you can add 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the filling.
-For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free phyllo dough.
Keyword Hungarian dessert, Hungarian vargabeles, Sweet noodle, Sweet Noodle Pie, Vargabéles, Vargabéles recipe

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Amount per serving And % Daily Values

Serving: 8 people | Calories 402.6 | Fat 17.1 g (26%) | Saturated 3.3 g 16 % | Trans 0.0 g | Cholesterol 78.8mg 26 % | Sodium 345.3 mg 14 % | Potassium 310.0 mg 9 % | Carbohydrates 51.5 g 17 % | Fiber 2.1g 8 % | Sugar 12.4 g 13% | Protein 11.7 g | Vitamin B6 0.2 mg 10%

Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Vargabéles is a delicious and easy to make cake that can be enjoyed as a dessert or snack. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Please rate this recipe if you liked it, and share it with others who might also enjoy it! Thank you!

Happy baking!

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