Sara Filep making a traditional Transylvanian cake

by admin on 15/06/2013


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We went to the village of Sic, which is renowned for its summer festival where the locals are wearing traditional costumes, dancing, singing and performing.

Sic means salt and the village is named after the nearby salt mines which were at their peak production in the nineteenth century, attracting people from afar and making Sic a town. After the mines were closed, Sic gradually returned to being a village having about 2500 inhabitants.

We stayed at a guesthouse in Sic and the aunt of the owner, Sara Filep, was fortunately willing to show us how she made a traditional Transylvanian cake called Kurtos Kalacs. It’s shaped like a hollow cylinder and the name Kurtos comes from the word for the shape of a bull’s horn in Romanian.

Sara mixed flour, egg, milk, vegetable oil, salt and yeast in a bowl and she worked very hard at kneading the dough. While the dough was leavening, one of her relatives put made two parallel rows of bricks on the ground, put some firewood between them and lit a fire. When it was burnt out, it was time to bake the cakes.

Before starting the baking, she formed small parts of the dough into long and thin lines which she rotated around a wooden cylinder to which was attached a long wooden stick. However, she always applied sunflower oil to the wooden cylinder before attaching the dough in order to facilitate the loosening of the cake after having been baked. Besides, she rolled the dough in sugar.  Having finished this, she let someone else rotate the cylinder above the embers for some time. When all the surface of the cake had become light brown, she knocked the cylinder carefully against the ground such that the cake was released. This procedure was repeated until a lot of cakes had been made.

It seemed like rumour was spread that this delicious cake was being made or maybe it was the nice smell since people from the village were gradually arriving. Anyway, the cake was delicious and I certainly had my fill.

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