In the Hungarian folk diet, boiled pretzel is one of the festive dishes, known in many parts of the country. Especially famous was the pretzel from the Rábaköz region, the preparation of which was more widespread in the Transdanubian region. It is little known, however, that it was also a popular and frequently made cake in Hódmezővásárhely.
In Vásárhely, boiled pretzels, also known as ‘egg pretzels’, were made for weddings, on name days and especially during Lent before Easter, and were eaten especially on Good Friday. In more fashionable places, where eggs were plentiful, they were more often served as a wine-based snack. A larger quantity was baked at a time, because it would keep for a long time if put in a linen bag.
A larger batch uses 15 eggs, 8 spoonfuls of melted fat, 1 spoonful of salt, 4 dkg of yeast, ½ litre of water and as much flour as it will take. The egg yolks are beaten with the fat, the yeast is dissolved in a little salted water and then added to the eggs with the flour. (The recipe may vary slightly from house to house, some people adding a little sugar, others omitting the fat, especially if it is intended as a Lenten dish. Others use baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast.) After a short rest, the dough is ground three times in a meat grinder. From the resulting mass, a pretzel-sized piece is taken, rolled out and then shaped into a ring. The pretzels are cooked in boiling water. When they rise to the surface, they are removed with a sieve, thrown into cold water and placed on a table covered with a dishcloth to dry. When dry, they are placed on a baking tray, brushed with egg and baked in a medium hot oven until pale pink. It is good when it is slightly cracked.
Some women also made it to sell, and it used to be sold strung up at fairs and markets. Even in the 1970s, you could still buy cooked pretzels at the market in the market town of Fairgrounds. They are no longer made because they are very labour-intensive.
Boiled pretzels are one of the traditional folk dishes of the market town, but they are increasingly forgotten because of the labour-intensive way of making them. It would be worthwhile to resume its commercial production. As a local product, it could become a speciality of the town. This is facilitated by the fact that it can be stored for a long time.