Blog Checking Lines: 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!
It’s always a thrill when the Daring Bakers’ group introduces me to something I’ve never even seen before let alone tried to make. August was one of those months, when Swathi decided to have us make coiled/spiral treats. We had a choice between two things – Kürtőskalács /Chimney Cake and Ensaimada/Spanish Pastry. Since the Spanish Pastry looked more like things I had made before I opted to try the Chimney cake which was completely new to me. Chimney cake is apparently a traditional wedding pastry made in Transylvania (Romana). This pastry is made by wrapping a fresh yeast dough around a wooden cylinder, rolled into sugar and slowly baked over a fire in a brick oven. It can also be found as a street food in Eastern European countries.
Since most of us don’t have access to a backyard brick oven, Swathi helpfully gave us instructions on converting our ovens and using a wooden rolling pin to make this pastry. This was actually a very easy pastry to make, though the baking took me several hours as I have only one rolling pin and had to bake the 4 pastries one at a time with time in-between for the pin to cool off a little. On a side note, who sells wooden rolling pins anymore? The only one I found in stores near me was a six inch child’s rolling pin. Most of the pins in my local stores were a stone or silicon material. Thankfully, a friend had a wood pin she didn’t want anymore, so my husband didn’t have to make me one!
To make the bread, a simple yeast dough is made and allowed to rise a bit. The dough is then rolled out and cut into a spiral shape. The strip of dough is wrapped around a foil-wrapped and buttered rolling pin and then rolled against the pin to press the strips together slightly. This cylinder of dough on the pin is then brushed with butter, rolled in sugar, and suspended over a baking pan in the oven to bake. It needs to be turned a few times while it’s baking so it browns evenly to replicate the rotisserie experience. Once done, the dough can be brushed with butter and rolled again in a topping such as cinnamon sugar, finely chopped nuts or even chocolate. The cooked pastry then slides easily off of the pin and stands upright to cool, steam rising gently out of the center just like a chimney. Chimney cake is best eaten right out of the oven when they can be pulled apart into a spiral, definitely falling into the “fun food” category!
- For the dough:
- 1¾ cups (8½ oz) (240 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) (7 gm) active dry yeast OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 14 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz)(30 gm) sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon (3/4 gm) salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (1½ oz) (45 gm) melted butter
- ½ cup (120 ml) milk, lukewarm temperature
- For baking/grilling:
- melted butter
- For the toppings:
- Approximately ½ cup (3½ oz) (100gm) sugar
- For walnut sugar topping
- About 1 cup (4 oz) (115 gm) ground walnuts, mixed with about ½ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1/4 oz) (6 gm) cinnamon
- If you are using active dry yeast, add ½ teaspoon sugar to lukewarm milk and set aside for 5-10 minutes until it proofs (becomes foamy) instead of adding it to the dry ingredients. You can use the other yeast types directly along with the flour.
- In a large bowl combine, flour, sugar and salt. To this add egg, milk, melted butter, and yeast. Stir the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, and then knead for about five minutes.
- It will be sticky. Don’t be tempted to add any flour. Grease your hand if needed.
- Transfer to a well greased container.
- Allow the dough to rise for 60 minutes at room temperature until doubled in volume
- Prepare the rolling pins by covering them with aluminum foil, do at least two or three layers, to protect the pins from burning in the oven. Brush the covered pins with melted butter.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal parts about 4 oz (115 gm) of each.
- On a well floured surface spread one portion of the dough. Shape into ⅙ inch (4 mm) thick square-shaped sheet.
- Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into a long ribbons of about ½ inch (13 mm) wide.
- Wrap one end of the dough strip around the spit/rolling pin, tucking in the end so the dough doesn’t unwind.
- Keep the dough very thin (under ¼ inch (6 mm)) as you stretch and wind it on the rolling pun. Then roll the whole thing slightly on the counter top to flatten it/press it together.
- Brush with melted butter and roll in sugar.
- Place in or over a roasting pan and bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 375°F/190⁰C/gas mark 5 for 25 minutes. Turn it occasionally so it browns evenly.
- If using roast function (375⁰F/190⁰C) in the oven it will take about 20 minutes. If you are grilling (broiling) over the fire cooking time is about six minutes, until it starts to take on a dark golden color. Turn the rolling pin at once least once (or more) throughout baking time to ensure uniform cooking.
- When cake is done roll it in sugar again. If you are using other toppings brush more butter, then roll the finished cake in the toppings of your choice.
- Tap the mold on a table top to release the cake and set it up right to cool. It should release easily.
- Serve as soon as it's cool enough to handle.