It is impossible to walk around Old Town Prague without coming across the cinnamon-and-sugar sweet scent of trdleník. On street corners, in take-out windows and lining the edges of the main square you can find these little rolls of crispy, doughy goodness for about $2 .
While the treat has become hugely popular in the Czech Republic, many believe its origins actually lie in nearby Hungary. There it is called kürtőskalács, a name which has its root in the word used for a kitchen vent – probably because of the chimney-like shape the pastry has when it’s standing upright. In its original form, this chimney cake – as we call it – would have been roasted on a wooden spit over an open fire, likely brushed with egg yolk for sweetness. Today, however, it is more likely to be found rolled in sugar, lined with nutella and stuffed with ice cream. Whatever way you want to do it, here is how to make your own chimney cake at home:
‣1 standard packet of yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
‣ ½ cup milk, room temperature
‣ 2½ cups all-purpose flour
‣ 3 tablespoons sugar
‣ 2 eggs
‣ 4 tablespoons softened butter
‣ ½ cup sugar
‣ 3 teaspoons cinnamon
‣ 2 eggs
‣ Ice cream
Makes 6 – 8 pastries
PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees.
MIX yeast and ¼ cup milk in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes until risen and bubbly. Combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons butter and yeast mixture. Gradually pour in remaining ¼ cup milk.
KNEAD the dough on a floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl and allow to rise, covered, for 30 minutes.
CREATE four cylinders, slightly smaller than a mason jar, out of aluminum foil, while waiting for dough to rise. In a small bowl, crack remaining 2 eggs, keeping only the yolks, and mix with 2 teaspoons water. In another small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar. Set all aside.
LAY out dough on the counter, once it has risen, and cut in half. Roll each half into a long, thin rope-like cylinder, about 12 to 14 inches long. Then cut in half again, making 4 total pieces about 6 to 7 inches long.
COAT each foil mold with a thin layer of remaining butter and then wrap the dough around them, pressing the dough slightly flat as you wrap.
SPREAD a thick layer of cinnamon and sugar out on your workspace. Using a pastry brush, cover the dough in the egg wash then roll it through the cinnamon sugar until well coated.
PLACE the dough wrapped molds on a baking sheet so that they are standing upright. The dough should not touch the baking sheet.
BAKE for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully slide warm pastry off foil molds.
SERVE warm. If you like, line the inside with Nutella or jam and stuff with ice cream.