The Kurtosh Kalach Story

Kurtosh Kalach
a.k.a. Chimney Cake


The Kurtosh Kalach (with the right Hungarian spelling: Kürtős Kalács) originated from Hungary, more precisely from Transylvania which was the eastern region of Hungary some time ago. The first Hungarian cookbook which mentioned the Kurtosh Kalach recipe was issued in 1723. The name derives from the Hungarian words "kürtő" that refers to "chimney", and "kalács" meaning "cake". It is famous as Hungary's oldest pastry. In Hungary, Kurtosh Cake is sold in pastry shops, and street vendors are selling them on street corners, carnivals, and fairs. Kurtosh Cake became a national symbol of Hungary reaching huge success all around the world.

Why it is called Kurtosh (Chimney) Cake? Well, luckily it isn't baked in a chimney as you may think at first, but the freshly baked cake itself looks like a chimney when the steam comes off from its center spreading the wonderful sweet-scent all around making it impossible to resist.

Kurtosh Cake consists of a thin yeast pastry ribbon wound around a wooden cylinder, heavily sprinkled with sugar, thus becoming a tubular shaped pastry which may taper very slightly towards the end. The pastry is traditionally baked on a hand-turned, tapered, wooden spit, rolled slowly on the wooden cylinder above an open fire. The dough is yeast-raised, flavored with sweet spices, the most common being cinnamon, walnuts, coconut or cocoa. The sugar is caramelized on the Kurtosh Cake surface, creating a sweet, crispy exterior, and a soft, smooth interior.

  While the Kurtosh Cake was baked on a spit over charcoal fire in the old times, nowadays we bake it in a specialized electric oven. Its recipe and baking technology was refined throughout the years to reach its current perfection.

/photo source: mek.oszk.hu/

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