Categorized | All Recipes, Sweet

Mini Kurtosh Colac – Kürtös Kalács

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Mădălina

Kürtös Kalács is a traditional Hungarian pastry that is hollow– the pastry is baked on wooden spit, rolled slowly on an open fire until golden brown.

A few years back, my boyfriend and I went traveling to Europe. En route to Romania, we had a 7 hour lay-over in Hungary– instead of taking an uncomfortable nap in the airport concourse, we decided to roam the streets of Budapest. We wandered to the city center, and on that particular Saturday, vendors lined the street selling everything under the sun.My favorite part about any market is the food: the kind that is made on the spot, and more often then not, it’s unusual and delicious.

Enter “Kurtosh Colac” — I believe it’s pronounced something along the lines of keer-toosh-col-ak. Essentially, a Kurtosh Colac (kürtös kalács) is a hollow pastry cooked over an open fire. Roughly translated, it means “chimney cake”, and it is DELICIOUS.

To make these, you wrap a thin strip of pastry around a wooden cylinder, and cooked on an open flame, rotating it as it cooks until golden brown. Once cooked, they’re heavily sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, or any combination of the four .

This recipe is a cheater’s version. I don’t have access to an open flame, nor the robust wooden cylinders that are traditionally used for this dessert. I used mini hand-crafted wooden cylinders, and a small square metal pan to deep fry these little suckers instead. If you ever come across these at a street fair, I urge you to try them.

Mini Kurtosh Colac (kürtös kalács)
(makes ~ 24 x 7″ (2.5″ dia) colacs)

Sweet Bread Dough:
– 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 pkg (.25oz) Fleischmanns Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
+ 4 cups of oil for frying
+ 4 x 2.5″ diameter dowels, tapered at the end with handles
+ square metal pan for frying


1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp sugar, yeast and warm water. Allow the yeast slurry to stand for about 10 minutes, or until it turns foamy (as below). If the mixture doesn’t foam, it could be an indication that you’re yeast is no longer active, and your dough won’t rise.

2. In a sauce pan, scald milk over medium heat– once it bubbles, remove it from the stove, and mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and salt until melted. Allow to cool until luke warm.

Prepare dough, and first rise:

3. In a large bowl, combine yeast slurry, milk mixture, eggs, zest and flour. Using your hook attachment on your stationary mixer, mix on low until combined. Once most of the ingredients appear damp and slightly combined, increase speed and allow to mix for 8 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.

4. Once the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly flour-dusted surface, and knead for an additional 2 minutes. Round into a ball, and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 30 minutes)

Shaping and Second Rise:

5. Remove your dough from the bowl, and return to lightly floured surface. Evenly divide the dough into 6 parts (each roll will make approximately 4 colacs.  Round divided dough into balls and return to greased bowl for the second rise. Cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for an additional 25-30

*Dowels are slightly tapered on one end, with a nail in the center to grip the edges of the square pan. The square baking pan is heated on the stove, and you rotate the dowels as it bakes to create an even golden color. 

Prepare the dowels:

6. Generously grease the dowels with oil.

Roll and Cut Strips:

7. Roll out each dough ball into oblong ovals (5 x wider than tall– think “beaver tail”), and cut out 1″ strips. Beginning from one end, wrap the dough around the dowel on a slight angle, pinching the dough and “tucking it in” when you get to the end.

8. Prepare all of your dowels prior to baking, and fry at 350′F, rotating until golden brown. Remove from oil, and allow to co0l. Once cooled, carefully remove the pastry from the dowel. Brush with a one to one ratio of sugar/water syrup, and roll in sugar or nuts. Serve immediately, or wrap for later.

…Here is a pro making this awesome pastry.


14 Comments For This Post

  1. Jessica Says:

    water mouthering!

  2. Javelin Warrior Says:

    For a “cheaters” version, these look just amazing! I’ll take a whole plate to munch on, please :) I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks for the inspiration…

  3. Avanika {Yumsilicious Bakes} Says:

    I ate these while travelling through Europe, I think it was at Prague that I tasted these though. They taste so so good, there were two options – cinnamom sugar or Nutella, obviously I picked the Nutella one!

  4. Louise Samuel Says:

    WOW what great photo’s… If you want to learn more about Kurtoskalacs check out:

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  7. Claudiu Says:

    Dear Madalina,

    From all people commenting here, it looks like we’re the only fools actually trying to follow the recipe, and not only drool at the pics.

    Unfortunately the result was disappointing to say the least.
    First, the quantities were all approximated; when you say 1/4 cup butter, how in the world can one measure a solid using a cup? Not to mention that cups are of various sizes; so better use grams (or ounces as I can see you’re a real American now).

    However, where this recipe really failed miserably is the taste…
    It had nothing to do with the real thing and believe us, we live in Budapest 2 years already. Yours tastes exactly like a bread rolled in a conic shape :)

    Anyway, we’ve been quite mad about wasting our time, ingredients, dish washing liquid, etc. instead of getting out for some real stuff. The good thing is that, now we know we can order at home: we found that 4 pieces delivered at home are only 10 euro ($13.48 for you ;) from one of the best Kurtos companies in here (Vitez Kurtos).

    The bottom line is: we wish people would advise others only about things they really know. Sorry.

    Roxana & Claudiu

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