Croatian Heirloom Recipes (from my dear Grandmother and Mother)


These are traditional Croatian Recipes for Cakes, Slices and Biscuits passed onto my mother from her mother, and in turn my mother has passed them down to me.

I'm hoping that my daughter will continue with the tradition.

Sweet Chocolate Wafer Salami Roll (Slatka Salama)

I was asked by a reader if I had a recipe for this cake.  Even though I had never made it myself, I knew that my mother had the recipe as I could recall her making this when I was younger.  I had also seen this quite often at Croatian weddings.  So a quick phone call last night to my dear mother for the recipe to be retrieved from her wonderful hand written recipes.

 

This is a simple recipe that uses the wafer sheets (Oblatne), that are rolled up into a log or salami shape and set overnight in the fridge.  When sliced they resemble a "snail" shape.

 

 

4 whole (Oblatne) wafer sheets

80g of plain sweet biscuits 

550ml milk 

20g coco powder

25g butter

6 tbsp sugar

60g ground walnuts (or walnut meal)

200g coarsely chopped walnuts

 

·         Break biscuits into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add chopped and ground walnuts to your bowl.

·         Add milk, coco powder and sugar to a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and butter and stir until butter has melted.

·         Pour chocolate milk mixture over biscuits and walnuts mixture in your bowl.   Stir to evenly saturate the biscuits.

·         Lay a wafer sheet between 2 damp clothes for 1-2 minutes to soften slightly.  Evenly spread ¼ of your mixture onto the wafer sheet.  Roll into a log.  Repeat the process with the remaining 3 wafer sheets.

·         Wrap each wafer log tightly with aluminum foil and let set in the fridge for a few hours.  Remove aluminum foil after the logs have set hard and allow wafers to dry out in the fridge overnight.

·         Next day cut into slices and serve.

·         In order to prevent rapid drying, keep them in a closed container.  They can also be stored in freezer in the container.

 

Bajadera

 

This is a no bake dessert that originated in Osijek (where my father was born), but is well known and loved by all in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia. Making Bajadera at home is a lot of fun and relative simple so it’s a great recipe to get the kids involved with.  It’s based on a nougat paste from ground nuts, chocolate, biscuits, sugar syrup and butter.  Very rich and delicious….be warned though, you won’t be able to stop at just one.

 

Makes 64 cubes

 

Nougats

500g white sugar

 12 tbsp water

 200g hazelnut meal (or almond meal)

 200g plain biscuits (e.g. Marie biscuits)

 250g butter

 100g dark chocolate

 

 Chocolate Glaze

100g dark chocolate

 4 tablespoons water

 1 teaspoon butter

 

·          Preheat the oven to 180C

·          Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to boil to make syrup. (Occasionally remove the sugar from the edges of the pan with spatula so that crystals do not form.) Once the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (about 238F) remove from the heat. Place the bottom of the saucepan in the cold water to prevent the syrup from overcooking. Let the syrup cool.

·          In a food processor grind the biscuits as finely as possible (the closer to powder the better). Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the hazelnut meal, the syrup and butter. Coat your hands in powdered (icing) sugar and begin to knead until it forms smooth paste.

·          Split the hazelnut paste into two equal parts, and then take 50g of paste from the first batch and add it to the second. (We will be adding chocolate into the first batch and this will ensure that at the end we have the equal amounts of the dark chocolate paste and the light hazelnut paste.)

·          Melt the chocolate and add it to the first (smaller) batch. Mix well until the paste is smooth.

·          Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Turn the chocolate mixture into the pan, spread and then press with a flat spatula or your fingers to form a dense, even layer. Place the pan into the fridge for about 30min to an hour, until the chocolate layer becomes very firm.

·          Pour the light paste on top of the chocolate layer, spread and press into a dense, even layer. Place the pan again into the fridge and refrigerate until the second layer becomes very firm.

·          Remove the nougat from the pan, and place on a cardboard square, or cutting board (I do not own a glazing rack). Prepare the chocolate glaze by combining the dark chocolate and water, and melt in a double boiler. After the chocolate has melted add the butter. Continue to cook until the butter is fully melted and the glaze is uniform. Remove the chocolate glaze from the heat, let it cool for about a minute and then pour it over the center of the nougat. Use an icing spatula to coax it over. (Do not glaze the sides.) Allow the glaze to set, and then transfer the nougat to the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

·          Thirty minutes before serving, remove the nougat from the refrigerator, and while still cold cut into small squares or rectangles.

Peaches (Breskvice)

These are a traditional Croatian biscuit that look like little peaches (hence the name), and when you cut into them, the cocoa filling looks like the space where the stone would be. Gorgeous!

As it takes some time to prepare them; traditionally these little biscuits are kept for special occasions like Christmas, Easter and weddings.

 

Makes 24  (time 1½ hrs)

Biscuit Dough

2 cups caster sugar

1½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup milk

4 eggs

1½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla paste, or extract

6 cups plain flour (approx)

 

Filling

1 cup cookie crumbs

1 ½ cups ground walnuts (walnut meal)

2 tsp cocoa powder

1 cup apricot jam

1 tbsp bourbon or rum

1-2 tbsp milk

¼ tsp cinnamon

 

Sugar topping

¼ cup milk

¼ cup peach brandy (optional or replace with milk)

Pink and yellow food colouring

1 cup caster sugar

 

·         In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, oil, milk, eggs, baking powder and vanilla and whisk until well combined.

·         Blend enough of the flour to form a soft dough.

·         Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and bake on a lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes. The biscuits should be pale in colour (not golden). Cool completely.

·         Using a paring knife, carefully cut a circle in the bottom of each biscuit and scoop out the centre using a teaspoon.

·         Place the biscuit crumbs into a food processor and blitz for several seconds until it resembles coarse sand.

·         In a medium mixing bowl combine the 1 cup of biscuit crumbs, ground walnuts, jam, bourbon and cinnamon and mix well.

·         Using a teaspoon or a butter knife, scoop a little of the mixture into the cavity of half the biscuit and press another half on top to sandwich them together. Gently squeeze them together until both biscuits touch and are stuck together. If any of the filling squeezes out just wipe it away with your finger, making sure there’s no filling residue at the join. Set aside.

·         For your sugar topping, place the milk in one bowl and add about 4-5 drops of the pink and 2 drops of yellow food colouring.

·         Place the peach brandy into another bowl and add 3-4 drops of yellow food colouring.

·         Place the sugar into a third bowl.

·         Take each filled biscuit and carefully dip one half into the coloured milk and then the other half into the coloured brandy. Quickly and gently remove any excess liquid by dabbing the cookie onto a clean sponge or paper towels laid on the bench. (Remember you’re using food colouring so make sure your work bench is protected from splashes). Place the damp biscuit into the sugar bowl and toss around to coat it entirely, shaking off any excess.

·         Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 3 months (just thaw 2-3 hrs before serving)

 

Note:  these are best made 2-3 days beforehand as the biscuits will soak up some of the liquid and become softer.

 

CROATIAN NUT ROLL

DOUGH:

100 grams caster sugar

200 ml milk

30 grams yeast

600 grams plain flour

150 grams butter, melted

4 egg yolks

1/2 tsp salt

FILLING:

400 grams  wallnuts, finely ground

4 egg whites

200 grams caster sugar

100 ml  milk, scalded

 

 

DOUGH:

·          Dissolve the sugar in warm milk, blend in the yeast and leave for 15 minutes.

·          Mix together flour, yeast, salt, butter and egg yolks to make a dough. Beat with a wooden spoon until blisters begin to form on the dough.

·          Cover and let stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

 

 

FILLING:

·          Beat egg whites until stiff.

·          Heat the milk in a pot until scalding hot. Pour the scalded milk over the walnuts. Combine with sugar and rum. Allow to cool.

·          Gently fold in beaten egg whites.

 

 

·          TO ASSEMBLE:
Spread flour on a large table-cloth. Divide the dough into two sections.

·          Roll each section out very thin (on the table-cloth).

·          Divide walnut mixture into half and fill  each rolled out down with the wallnut filling making sure it’s spread out evenly.

·          Roll by up by lifting the edge of the table-cloth on which the dough was rolled out, to form an even roll.

·          Liberal oil 2 bread pans and place a roll into each pan.

·          Brush the rolls with melted butter and bake at 175 C (350 F) for about 40 minutes or until they become golden. Let cool in the pan.  Slice and enjoy.
 

Suitable to freeze the extra loaf (freeze unsliced)

CROATIAN APPLE SLICE

This was originally my grandmother’s recipe that was passed down to my mum, and she in turn passed it down to me.  It’s a typical Croatian apple slice that is called “Jabuka Pita” which means Apple Slice.  This is just as good warm or cold.

 

DOUGH:

410 grams plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

100 grams caster sugar

140 grams butter

1-2 Tbsp sour cream

FILLING:

1,5 kg green apples

2 Tbsp lemon juice

4 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

 

 

DOUGH:

·          Combine all ingredients to make a dough. Do not overwork.

·          Wrap in cling wrap and cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

 

FILLING: 

·          Peel and grate apples. 

·          Mix with sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon juice

 

ASSEMBLE: 

·          Divide the dough in half.  Roll out the dough to approx 2-3mm thickness.

·          Press the dough into the baking dish and up the sides (or you can use a pie dish).

·          Squeeze most of the liquid from the apples, and spoon in apple filling onto the dough in the baking dish.. Cover with the top crust.

·          Bake at 180 (370 F) for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Cool slightly and sprinkle with icing sugar and cut in squares and serve

BAKED PANCAKES (CREPES) WITH RICOTTA (PALENCINKE)

This is my family’s absolute favourites and always nag me to make it for them.  But, as it’s a little time consuming making the crepes (as I always need to make a double batch and the standard is never enough for my family). I only make it several times a year.

 

This is another Croatian recipe that I learnt from my mother, but I have slightly altered it using ricotta cheese instead of the traditional cottage cheese as the European cottage cheese is not always readily available in the supermarkets.  But it tastes just as good.

 

BATTER:

275 grams plain flour

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup sparkling mineral water

½ tspn salt

FILLING:

500 grams ricotta cheese (broken up finely with the back of a fork)

4 eggs

150 grams caster sugar

grated lemon rind of 1 lemon

Juice from 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

TOPPING:

1 1/2 cups sour cream

¼ cup white sugar

 

 

BATTER:

·          Mix eggs with salt. Gradually add flour, milk and mineral water. Mix until smooth.

·          Let stand 30 minutes

·          Heat a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan (or crepe pan if you have one) over medium high heat. Pour approximately ½ a soup ladle of batter into the pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook each side until the lightly golden brown (about 2 minutes each side).

 

 

FILLING:

Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.

 In a separate bowl mix egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Add ricotta cheese, lemon rind and juice, vanilla extract and beaten egg whites. Fold to combine evenly.

 

 

ASSEMBLE:

·          Add 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture on a crepe and spread across half of the crepe.

·          Roll the up the crepe and place in an oiled baking tray. (ensure seem side of crepe is facing down).

·          Repeat process until cheese mixture and crepes are all used up and the baking pan is full.

·          Gentle spread the sour cream on top of the pancakes and finally sprinkle with remaining sugar.

·          Bake in 175 C (350 F) oven for 20 minutes

KIFLICE

This is a traditional Croatian and Serbian recipe for Kiflice (sorry but I don’t really know if there is an English translation for them.

My mother always used to make them with Croatian plum jam (which is really thick and dense so it doesn’t melt easily when baked).  I remember helping mum make these when I was about 5-6 years old.

However, my daughter doesn’t like jam so I always make some for her with a Nutella filling instead.

 

250g (1⅔ cups) plain flour

¼ tsp baking powder

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ lemon, zested

80ml (⅓ cup) sour cream

1 egg yolk

Plum jam or Nutella spread, to fill

Icing sugar, to dust

   

 

·          Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line 2 large oven trays with baking paper.

·          Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in butter and zest until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add sour cream and egg yolk, and stir until combined.

·          Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth, and then shape into a ball.

·          Divide into 4 and, working with one piece at a time, roll out to a 20cm round and cut into 8 wedges.

·          Place ½ tsp jam or Nutella on the wider side of each wedge and roll wedge towards its point to enclose the filling. Place on the lined trays and repeat with remaining dough and filling.

·          Bake kiflice for 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until lightly golden.

·          Roll kiflice in sugar while hot and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

CROATIAN WALNUT & VANILLA HALF MOON BISCUITS

This biscuit is just one of many traditional Croatian biscuits that are made for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Weddings and Christenings. 

 I remember making big batches of these with mum while growing up, and she still makes them to this day.  I also now make these for Christmas (along with others) and always take a large platter to work to share with my work colleagues, and they always get devoured.

The biscuits can be stored in an air tight container for up to a month and get better with time.

 

 

250 grams plain flour

200 grams butter (softened)

100 grams finely ground walnuts (or you can substitute with ground hazelnuts)

70 grams pure icing sugar

 

 

·          Preheat oven

·          Line a baking tray with baking paper and give it a light spray of cooking spray

·          With a wooden spoon, mix the 1st 3 ingredients until a soft dough forms.  Cover with cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.

·          Scoop up using a spoon a small amount of dough (about the size of a walnut), and gently roll between your palms for form a small sausage shape approximately 8-10 cms long.  Now shape into a crescent shape and place on baking tray.  Repeat with remainder of dough.

·          Bake at 160C for approx 10 mins (just so they start to colour very slightly)

·          Remove tray and let rest for 3-4 mins.  While biscuits are still warm, gently remove from tray and roll in icing sugar.  Lightly shake off excess sugar and place biscuit on a plate.

 

JAM BISCUITS (YO-YO'S)

My mother always called these Yo-Yo biscuits, and the photo below is pretty much self explanatory where the name came from.

 

Adults will love these just as much as kids.

 

 

350 grams plain flour

150 grams butter (softened)

100 grams white sugar

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

100 grams icing sugar

150 grams raspberry or apricot jam

 

 

·          Preheat oven

·          Line a baking tray with baking paper and give it a light spray of cooking spray

·          In a bowl, mix flour, butter, sugar, egg and egg yolks until dough starts to form.  Empty on a lightly floured surface and gently need until it comes into a dough.

·          Let it stand for 30 mins in a cool place with a tea towel over it.

·          On a lightly floured surface, roll dough our thinly (approx 3mm tick)

·          Cut into circles with cookie cutter (note that half of them need to have holes cut in the middle). Place on baking tray (you may need to do it in 3-4 batches).

·          Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes.

·          Remove and let cool for a few minutes before removing the biscuits from the trays.

·          Place a teaspoon of jam on the full circle and top with the other circle with the hole in the middle and gently press to stick them together.  Repeat until all done.

·          Roll biscuits in icing sugar.  Gently shake of access and store in an air tight container.

 

OBLANTE - CROATIAN WAFER SLICE

This is such an easy recipe with no baking involved.  They can have chocolate or lemon filling; personally I love the zesty lemon flavor.  I have provided recipes for both fillings.

The wafer sheets are available for any good European delicatesant.

 

200 gram packet of wafer sheets 

 

Chocolate Filling

 400 gram Sweetened Condensed Milk 

 250 grams unsalted soft butter 

 200 grams Dark chocolate (melted)

 110 grams finely ground walnuts 

 1 tsp vanilla extract 

 

·          With a mixer combine all ingredients until creamy.  

 

Lemon Filling

4 egg yolks

150 grams white sugar

Juice from 1 ½ lemons

½ tbsp finely grated lemon rind

150 grams unsalted butter

150 grams pure icing sugar

 

·          Mix the first 4 ingredients together.  Transfer to a pot and cook on stove stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and stir until it cools.

·          In a separate bowl mix butter and icing sugar together until combined thoroughly.

·          Now add the lemon/egg mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and thoroughly combine.

 

To Assemble the Wafer Slice

 

·          Make sure the smooth side of the wafer sheet is facing up.

·          Spread ¼ of the mixture evenly over the wafer sheet.

·          Lay another wafer sheet on top (smooth side up) and repeat process until filling is used up.  Ensure last wafer sheet placed on filling is pattern side up.

·          Place slice on a chopping board or a cookie baking tray, and another on top of the wafer slice.  Place some cans on top and refrigerate for 4 hrs (overnight is even better).

·          Cut into squares or diamond shapes with a serrated or bread knife, and serve.

 

Note:  Slice will keep for several weeks if kept in an airtight plastic container refrigerated. 

 

 

CHOCOLATE SLICE (MADARICA)

This is a very traditional Croatian slice.  A must for any festive occasion.

 

Pastry

 

600 grams plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

80 grams butter

2 eggs

150 grams sugar

250 ml cream

1/2 tsp salt

 

Filling

 

1 liter milk

200 grams cubed butter at room temperature

200 grams sugar

70 grams cocoa

4 tbsp plain flour

 

Glaze

 

180 grams cooking chocolate

4 tbsp milk

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp sugar

 

 

Directions for Pastry Sheet

 

Preheat oven to 180°C; grease a cookie tray 25x30cm or line it with non-stick baking paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add softened butter and mix until they resemble crumbs.

Add eggs, sugar, sour cream and combine to make a dough.

Divide dough into 5 equal parts.

Roll each sheet to fit cookie tray.

Bake one at a time for 10 minutes each.

Cool them carefully so they don't break.

 

Directions for Filling

 

Mix together milk, sugar, cocoa and flour.  Heat in saucepan and mix until thickened. 

Remove from stove and cool the filling.

With a mixer, beat filling and butter together until smooth.

 

To Assemble.

 

On a cookie tray lined with baking paper, place one sheet of pastry down.

Spread with 1/4 of chocolate cream, and place another pastry sheet on top.

Continue until process, ending with plain pastry sheet on top.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap.

To ensure layers stick together place a light chopping board or similar on top.

Leave for a couple of hours or overnight for filling to set.

 

Chocolate Glaze

 

Heat all ingredients in a bowl, over gentle simmering water until well combined.

 

 

Remove slice from the fridge.

Pour glaze over slice and working quickly, spread glaze evenly over slice.

Return to the fridge for the glaze to set.

 

To Serve

 

Cut off the outer untidy edges to ensure you get straight and even slices.  Slice evenly into small squares and this is quite rich.

 

 

TORN UNDERPANTS (PODERANE GACE IN CROATIAN)

 

Translated in English, these are called Torn Underpants (strange name I know but I couldn’t find anywhere what these are really called in English……maybe there isn’t a name).

 

Anyway, my mum always used to make these when we were young and she had to stretch the money purse to make ends meet.  They are such a cheap and easy dessert/cake to make, and we loved them as kids.  I still love these today.

 

They resemble something between a donut and an Italian Crostoli.

 

 

Ingredients

 

1 kg plain flour

2 satchels of dried yeast powder

3 tbsp white suga1 tsp salt

600 mls warm milk

100 mls oil

1 egg (whisked lightly)

Enough oil for deep frying (vegetable, sunflower and rice bran oil)

 

·         Place flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. 

 

·         Add the egg and slow put the warm milk and oil and gently mix with your fingers to combine and form a soft dough.  Knead gently for a minute or two.  Cover the dough in the bowl with a tea towel and allow to rest for ½ hr.  

 

·         On a large surface area sprinkle some flour to enable you to roll out your dough (I usually cover the table with an old tablecloth or sheet covering it as this gives me plenty of room to work with).   Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/2 cm.

 

·         Cut dough into strips approx 5cm wide and cut again the opposite direction at 8cm wide (so you end up 5cm x 7cm rectangles).  With the tip of your knife, cut each 2 small slits in the middle of each square.

 

·         Transfer them to a trays lined with baking paper and cover with tea towels, and let them rest in a warm area for approx 30 minutes.  

 

·         Heat the oil in the pot (Test if oil is ready if you dropping a small piece of bread in it. It’s ready if the oil bubbles around the bread gently).

 

·         Place 4-5 pieces of cut dough into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.  Remove with tongs and drain on paper towel to soak up excess oil.  Repeat process until all pieces are cooked.

 

·         Serve while still warm sprinkled with icing sugar.

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Georgia | Reply 24.11.2014 06.57

Hi Tilda
Most European style deli's have them. If you are in Australia, the Foodworks Supermarket has them also.

Tilda | Reply 24.11.2014 03.31

Could you tell me where to buy the oblatne in large sheets? My mother used to do this recipe with nuts and condensed milk but I don't know where to get them.Tha

Maryann | Reply 15.11.2014 01.24

Thx Georgia for all the wonderful recipes, I've wanted these for a long time. Quick Ques. After filling oblatne, can u make them softer for a fork to go through

Georgia 17.11.2014 08.44

Hi Maryann.
The oblatne will never be soft enough to eat with a fork (no matter what filling you use). They are more of a finger cake. Cut into small squares

lenoma | Reply 12.08.2014 07.22

Do you have a recipe for Sovital bread?

Georgia 13.08.2014 08.27

No sorry I don't

Jadranka Blagus | Reply 11.08.2014 15.28

thank you for recepie

Biba McLaren | Reply 30.06.2014 12.59

My mother use to do wafer rolls with lemon filling. Do you have that receipe?
Thank you

Madhouse Family Reviews | Reply 12.06.2014 21.12

Here is my take on your Kiflice recipe, in honour of the World Cup! : http://madhousefamilyreviews.blogspot.fr/2014/06/globe-cooking-recipe-kiflice-croatia.html

Georgia 13.06.2014 20.37

Thanks Madhouse Family Reviews.
Hope your readers try out and enjoy the Kiflice while enjoying the world cup......go Croatia.

See all comments

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Latest comments

Yesterday | 23:05

Amazing recipes, I can't wait to try them. My father-in-law is Croatian and so many of the recipes I am familiar with. Thank you so much

...
24.11 | 06:57

Hi Tilda
Most European style deli's have them. If you are in Australia, the Foodworks Supermarket has them also.

...
24.11 | 03:31

Could you tell me where to buy the oblatne in large sheets? My mother used to do this recipe with nuts and condensed milk but I don't know where to get them.Tha

...
17.11 | 08:44

Hi Maryann.
The oblatne will never be soft enough to eat with a fork (no matter what filling you use). They are more of a finger cake. Cut into small squares

...
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