I spent last weekend wandering through Europe. Ok, so it wasn’t really Europe, but it was easy to pretend while visiting the many EU embassies that opened their doors this past Saturday for Europe in D.C. week, which extends through May 16. One of the best parts about living in (and visiting) D.C. are the infinite ways to engage in the city’s international culture, and this week-long event is one of my favorites. I toured the Czech ambassador’s home, nibbled on Polish perogies, and happened upon a delicious pastry during my stop in Hungary (or the Hungarian embassy, if you will). Naturally, it was the pastry that rose to the top of the things that screamed out “this must be blogged.”
The Kürtöskalács, or chimney cake, is a traditional Hungarian pastry that is wrapped around a wooden spool and slowly turned over an open fire. Its origins are from Transylvania, but they’re now celebrated as the oldest pastry in Hungary, and they’re often served as street food. The dough is coated with oil and sugar, and when baked it creates a crunchy, sugary outside crust, not unlike a hot pretzel, with a soft doughy inside. City Life editor Amy Alipio tells me that, “you can find them at folk fairs and festivals, they’re kind of like the Hungarian equivalent of funnel cakes or corn dogs. They are best when they are just hot off the fire.” I definitely have to agree. Delicious.
Read more: Check out the recipe here to make the cakes yourself at home, or order some online here. Read Don George’s online Trip Lit column about book of the month, Valeria’s Last Stand, which takes place in part in Hungarian markets. Or watch a video of bakers making the cakes and try to contain your appetite afterward. It’s called Hungary for a reason.
Photo: Janelle Nanos
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