Trdelnik – The Amazing Pastry of Prague

Trdelnik

One exciting thing to look forward to while  visiting Prague for Christmas is the sheer amount of treats available. Trdelnik is one of the best treats in Prague and is often known as the “tourist delight”. Trdelnik or “Cesky Trdelnik” loosely translates to “Czech spindle cake” in English, and it’s a delightful pastry that’s often seen as a national pride. This tasty pastry is basically made of thin dough that’s rolled over a spindle and glazed with caramelized sugar, cinnamon and crushed nuts are also added. Once cooked over open coals – as though on a grill, you’ll have a tasty cylindrical treat ready to munch.

The Story Behind Trdelnik

Trdelnik in Prague
Trdelnik in Prague

Although Trdelnik is largely considered to be a national pride – after all it’s literally called “Czech cake”. But it has a rich history that goes beyond the city of Prague. Trdelnik derives its name from the spindle or “trdlo” that the dough is wrapped around. 

Before Trdelnik found its way to Prague, and way before it became a national pastry, Trdelnik was a common pastry found in several parts of Europe. Its earliest origin dates back to the mid-19th century in Slovakia. It was a regular treat that followed the same process – rolling dough on a spindle and cooking it on open fire. 

By the 20th century, Trdelnik had found its way to Moravia. As Trdelnik crossed various borders, its name remained constant though in varying languages – it was simply the “spindle cake” which was a testament to how it’s made. It wasn’t until the 21st century that Trdelnik became really popular in Prague thanks to tourists who fell in love with the pastry. It even got an upgrade as most cafes in Prague began selling it with ice cream filling

In all, Trdelnik became a national treat“Czech cake” after most Czech street vendors began cooking and modifying Trdelnik as a major treat for tourists. Now, there’s nowhere you’d go to in Prague that you won’t find a Trdelnik vendor. 

The Best-hidden Spots in Prague For The Most Delicious Trdelnik (Avoid Tourist Traps)

Here are 4 of our favorite secret spots in Prague serving you some of the city’s greatest Trdelnk. Your taste buds will appreciate this fine assortment.

U Kajetána

U Kajetána is considered to be one of the best places to get a trdelnik in all of Prague.

In addition to being conveniently located between the city center and Prague Castle, the high quality of its trdelnik also contributes to its reputation as an authentic, hidden gem.

Location:Nerudova 248/17, 118 00 Malá Strana

Photo from the official facebook page of U Kajetána

Good Food Chimney Cake

You can find Trdelnkárna not far from Charles Bridge; they have delicious trdelniks that can be complemented by ice cream, whipped topping, caramel, and sometimes a fresh fruit . In addition to their Prague bakery, they additionally have spots in Romania, Bahrain, as well as Saudi Arabia. 

Location: Karlova 160/8, Prague 1 (Old Town)

Photo from the official facebook page of GOOD FOOD, Coffee and Bakery 

Karlova

Karlova is a tiny store well known for having the best trdelnik throughout all of Prague. The only thing that can be said for sure is that they’re amazing.

Karlova’s ice cream add-ons, such as a little cherry topping and even the odd Nutella – ice cream mix, are a great plus besides the location.

Location: Staré Msto at Karlova 190/1, 110 00

Celetná

If you’re looking for an excellent trdelnik in Prague, you should head to Celetná. A good buy, especially considering the multifaceted nature of the servings.

There will be enough for you to indulge in, like whipped cream, Nutella and hazelnuts, cane sugar, as well as ice cream. A location that is both non-touristy and a hidden gem. 

Location: 565/26, 110 00 Staré Město

How Is Trdelnik Prepared?

Trdelnik is mostly prepared on open coal, but you can prepare it in an oven too. To get started, you need to prepare your yeast-based dough. You’ll need flour, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, lard and a pinch of salt. 

Step 1: Heat up your milk in a container until it’s lukewarm

Step 2: Then add your yeast and a bit of sugar and stir. 

Step 3: Leave the mix for 10 minutes while the yeast does its work. 

Step 4: Pour your floor in a bowl, add sugar, a pinch of salt and egg yolk. 

Step 5: Allow your butter and lard to melt a bit then pour into the bowl and mix well. 

Step 6: Then pour the yeast-based milk and mix until everything blends smoothly. Now it’s time to wrap your down in thin strips around your “trdlo”

Step 7: While you may not have a traditional “trdlo”, you can use a spindle or any smooth cylindrical stick. Before wrapping the dough around your spindle, wrap the spindle with a foil and rub with butter. 

Step 8: Then roll and flatten the strips of dough, and place it in your oven to preheat for 20minutes at 180`C. 

Step 9: Once your Trdelnik has finished baking, add a caramelized sugar glaze generously around it. You can also add edible sprinkles to your glaze to give you a richer taste. 

Yes, you can definitely get Trdelnik in Prague

Trdelnik is an amazing pastry that’s peculiar to Prague thanks to the skillful street food vendors. It’s one of the many wonders of Prague, and a must-have especially at Christmas. While you can try making it at home, it can’t be compared to the tasty treats made by Prague street food vendors.Prague is a beautiful place, with coffee to die for. I think this day would be best spent with coffee and sweets first, then later shopping and coffee again.

Prague offers a variety of breakfast options, ranging from traditional Czech dishes to international favorites. Café Savoy is known for its lavish spreads, while Café Louvre offers traditional Czech sandwiches and omelets. For a healthy start, Momoichi Cafe is the best choice, serving plant-based meals. Czech food culture is centered around hearty fare like goulash and svíčková, and beer is also a beloved part of Czech culinary tradition. No culinary journey in Prague would be truly satisfying without indulging in the delicious treat known as trdelník.

In recent years, the streets of Prague have witnessed the emergence of filled trdelnik, introducing a delightful twist to this classic pastry.

The process of preparing trdelnik remains largely unchanged, but the addition of various fillings and toppings has elevated this traditional treat to a new level of decadence. Once the trdelnik is freshly baked and while still warm, it is generously filled with an assortment of ingredients. Among the most popular fillings are ice cream, a perfect choice for those sunny Prague afternoons, offering a cool respite within the warm, toasted dough. Chocolate lovers revel in versions filled to the brim with Nutella, providing a rich, hazelnut-flavored experience that pairs wonderfully with the caramelized sugar crust of the trdelnik.

Fruit fillings, such as fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, offer a lighter, tangier alternative, complementing the sweetness of the pastry with their natural acidity and freshness. For an indulgent twist, some vendors fill the trdelnik with a combination of cream cheese and fruit, striking a perfect balance between the creamy texture and the brightness of the berries.

Toppings add another layer of flavor and texture to the filled trdelnik. A dusting of powdered sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a drizzle of caramel sauce can enhance the overall taste and appeal of the pastry. Crushed nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, are also popular choices, adding a delightful crunch that contrasts with the softness of the filling and the dough.

These new, trendy variations of filled trdelnik have not only broadened its appeal but have also cemented its status as a must-try culinary delight in Prague. Whether you’re a traditionalist who prefers the simple sugar and nut coating or an adventurer eager to try the latest filling, trdelnik offers a taste experience that’s hard to forget.

FAQ

While specific recipes vary, a homemade trdelník would typically require flour, sugar, yeast, and eggs. The dough is rolled into strips, wrapped around a cylindrical mold, and baked while rotating to achieve its characteristic golden color and texture.

In Prague, trdelník might feature seasonal ingredients or toppings, like fresh berries in summer or spiced fillings in winter, offering a festive or seasonal twist.

Locals might have mixed views, appreciating the global recognition of Czech culture while possibly lamenting its commercialization or the overshadowing of other traditional foods.

Trdelník is flexible in its consumption; it can be a sweet treat or a casual snack, often enjoyed with a hot beverage or as a street food delight.

As a sweet pastry, trdelník is likely high in sugars and carbohydrates. It’s considered an indulgence rather than a health food, best enjoyed in moderation.

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