Kürtöskalács (pronounced keer-tosh-col-ak) is reputed to be Hungary’s oldest pastry. Kürt is Hungarian for horn and kalács means milk bread. It is also known as chimney cake because of its unique hollow tunnel shape
This was what we had to make for this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge.
The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!
This sweet pastry is made of a yeasted dough. The dough is rolled out and cut into thin strips and then wrapped around a wooden cylinder (spindle) in a spiral shape. These are then brushed with butter and coated with sugar before being baked in special ovens or on open fire. They are rotated to brown all the sides evenly. The sugar caramalizes and makes the exterior crunchy while the interior remains soft.
This can be eaten plain or with additional toppings like walnuts, pistachios, cinnamon or chocolate.
Though made by hand on special occasions, they are also available in bakeries and are a popular street food in East Europe.
Traditionally baked as a large roll and cut into smaller pieces, nowadays bakers make smaller pasties by using small wooden spindles similar to rolling pins, that fit into specially-fitted electric ovens to produce miniature cakes that are served in one piece.
Swathi suggested that we make it at home by using wooden rolling pins wrapped in foil. They can then be roasted, grilled or baked in the oven.
To make the moulds for the cake, I used the round carton around which kitchen foil and paper towels are rolled. I cut them into two equal halves and wrapped them with aluminium foil. I got this idea from the blog Pearls of Baking.
I made 4 moulds in all. I made a cinnamon snail roll with the rest of the dough.
I reduced the milk (by 20 ml) and also cut down the amount of yeast from 2 teaspoons to 1/2 a teaspoon. I have learnt to my cost that yeast and hot and humid weather do not get along. The last two breads I made had pockmarks due to excess yeast activity. This time I thought less yeast and a long slow rise would work. It did!! I proofed the dough for 3 1/2 hours and it was a dream to work with.
To make this eggless, I replaced the egg with 50 gms homemade yogurt.
I omitted the topping. The sugar coating had caramalized and it had a nice crunch. I did not feel the need to fiddle with that.
Since I baked these standing, two of the Kürtőskalács became a bit squat as they slid down the moulds and bunched up during baking.
They tasted wonderful and I can fully understand why it is so popular. The pastry was crisp and crunchy. Absolutely perfect.