Celebrate the carnival with a chimney cake

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2014 karácsony Belgium 015Chimney cake is a popular pastry specific to Hungarian-speaking regions, more predominantly, the Szekely land. Earlier it was a festive treat, now it is part of everyday consumption.

It is a sweet, yeast dough (raised dough), of which a strip is spun and then wrapped around a truncated cone–shaped baking spit, and rolled in granulated sugar. She told me that in her childhood it was baked above charcoal cinders and while lubricated with melted butter, until its surface gets a golden-brown color. During the baking process the sugar stuck on “kürtős kalács” becomes caramel and forms shiny, crispy crust on the cake. The surface of cake can then be provided with additional toppings such as ground walnut or cinnamon powder. Up to the present kürtőskalács baked above cinders is regarded as immanent to the Transylvanian wedding menu.

Another easier variants specially at carnival time became popular in the late 20th century not only in Hungary but all over Europa. With this variant, the recipe is more flexible so that it can be manufactured in smaller, mobile places, rendering it much cheaper. In this variant, butter can be replaced by vegetable oil or margarine, and milk by milk powder. Moreover, eggs can be replaced by egg powder or liquid eggs, but this ingredient can also be omitted. In exchange, grated lemon zest, natural citrus extract or citrus juice, rum or vanilla sugar powder can be added to the dough. The surface can be provided any additional topping that bears flavor and aroma.2014 karácsony Belgium 151

But I have a good news about the chimney cake I have just discovered a further alternative variant in Belgium at a market place of Bruxelles. During the festive season I saw a funny red lady bug mobil streetcar in Bruxelles where a middle-aged guy was just busy with preparing a cimney cake-and when I figured out that he was from Hungary-I asked him about the making process of the cake. He gave an interesting explanation about this new version of the chimney cake which has appeared at the beginning of the 21st century. – He also told me that: “These recipe can be even more flexible than the old version because the dough can be made of non–wheat flour. The inner, tubular part can be also given an additional coating, and it can abound in other natural ingredients (for instance pieces of fruit). Alternative “kurtosh kalach” can be prepared gluten free as well. A cake that lacks ingredients of animal origin (milk, butter, eggs) can be labeled as ‘Vegan’ or ‘Lent’”. -Super!  That is good news! I answered and when I was offered a layer from the latest fresh hot chimney cake I was totally convinced!Kürtősh_Kalách_family2014 karácsony Belgium 139

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