Wednesday, 25 April 2012
How does a pastry almost the length of your forearm sound? If you are intrigued, read on.
The pastry I speak of is cleverly and rightly called a chimney cake. Its shape resembles a chimney and might be compared to one in color, length and size. At almost if not a foot in length, the chimney cake is the largest single serving pastry I have encountered in my 22 years of dessert searches.
I read about this long-established Hungarian pastry in the recent issue of my local food publication, Edible Queens, and just had to check it out ASAP. Within a few days of reading the article I headed over to Chimney Cake, the bakery that hosts this monstrosity of a pastry in Long Island City, New York.
On their website the chimney cake is described as a “traditional wedding pastry made by Hungarians in Transylvania for hundreds of years”. How does it attain its remarkable size and shape you might ask? Well, the yeast dough is rolled in sugar, wrapped around a wooden cylinder and fired in a brick oven or an open fire and is manually rotated. The simple preparation and baking method is not common in desserts and pastries, but it creates an astounding affect in the shape that remains after the “firing” process.
I found myself admiring not only the chimney cake’s size but its hue; such a simple yeast dough is turned into something so beautifully golden brown in color, given by the surface sugar caramelizing and the char from the open fire. I chose to top my chimney cake with walnuts but the other common options are cinnamon, coconut, chocolate, or simply leaving it as is. The pastry itself has a nice bite on the outside with an equally nice chew, much like a pretzel. It reminded me of a shopping mall pretzel because of the mild sweetness of the dough and the buttery exterior.
I had not expected the dough to be that light, so for me it was a unique pastry experience. Embarrassingly, I finished the whole chimney cake. It was just so delightful that I could not stop peeling away its fantastic layers. One chimney cake is $4, which is well worth it because you definitely get a whole lot of pastry!
Have you ever tried a chimney cake?