Last weekend, He and I were watching the current series of Mad Men. The estate agent was trying to sell Peggy her first apartment. On the Upper East Side. Great views, she chirped, an up-and-coming area she added – oh and the smell of all those Hungarian bakeries, the pushy sales lady threw in as a last resort. And, bearing in mind my latest find, that would have clinched the sale for me. There and then.
The latest sweet-smelling addition to our neighbourhood is Chimney Cake Bakers (which also doubles up as a café), on Finchley Road. In fact, it is even worth finding a parking space for – if you don’t live as close as I do. Neighbour ushered me in there last week; both of us equally keen to discover what on earth a chimney cake is.
Hungarian’s oldest pastry, was the answer. In fact, Kürtos Kalács is its real name when it’s at home. Some say that chimney cakes originally come from Transylvania but there’s no doubt that those Eastern European countries are all rather fond of them nowadays.
So, they can be sweet or savory, but MUST have a crispy crust with a soft, doughy inside. The really curious part about my new-found-favourite pastry is the way it’s cooked. Chimney Cake Bakers make each one from scratch, wrapping the uncooked pastry like a ribbon around a steel pin before baking it in a special chimney cake oven. You can even stand there and watch it turn as it cooks.
On Saturday morning, my little ballerina needed a treat before her plies. We devoured a traditional one with sugar, only leaving a little remaining chimney for our boys. I wonder if the local estate agents in this area will start adding to their particulars: 3-bed split-level apartment, stunning rooftop views of London’s skyline, walking distance to HUNGARIAN BAKERY?