Whatever week you’re in in lockdown (perhaps you’re in a country where lockdown is being lifted – lucky you!), I’m sure you’ve done a fair amount of baking. After all, it’s relatively simple (assuming you’re not trying to make a five tier rainbow cake), it lifts the spirits (it really does!) AND you can treat yourself to the yummy end result! With a nice cup of tea, preferably.
Here’s a Croatian recipe for making krostule that’s incredibly simple AND incredibly delicious. You’ll barely be able to stop yourself from eating 2, 5…8 krostule in one go. And if you’ve got any little ones at home, they can easily get involved in helping you make this, although obviously the deep-frying stage should be done by adults only.
Krostule are little pastries, traditionally from Istria and Dalmatia. They have a doughnut-like texture and are usually shaped as knots. They are best eaten when warm, right after cooking!
I got this original recipe for making krostule from a book called Croatian Cooking by Sandra Lougher, published in 2005. It contains some easy to follow recipes for Croatian starters, mains and desserts. This particular one is described as being “popular with kids”. Which is interesting, as the recipe contains rum… Unfortunately, the book appears out of print, but you may be able to pick up a second hand copy online.
Speaking of which (kids, not rum), I made a batch of these to take into my child’s nursery about a month and a half ago (one of the last “normal” things I did, pre-lockdown) when I went in to talk about Croatia to all the three and four year olds. I think they liked my talk and looking at the pretty pictures of Croatia. They certainly liked the soft toy Dalmatian dog I brought in! And the definitely liked the krostule!
This recipe says it makes about 100. I ended up with about 35, so perhaps I didn’t roll out the dough thin enough…no matter.
- 500g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 50g granulated sugar
- 50g butter, melted
- 1 tbsp rum (which I omitted to make it more child-friendly! But you may like to include it…)
- grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- grated rind of 1/2 orange
- 100ml milk
- sunflower or vegetable oil for deep-frying
- icing sugar for dusting
1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix together the eggs and sugar in another bowl until the mixture becomes foamy.
3. Add the butter, rum (if using!), lemon and orange rind to the eggs and sugar, and mix together well.
4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon to get a dough to form. Little by little, add some of the milk so your dough is not too dry. (You may well find that you do not need to use all of the 100ml of milk).
5. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with a little flour, and knead well for about five minutes.
6. Return the dough to your bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
7. Turn the dough out again and break into large pieces, manageable enough for you to roll out quite thin.
8. Once one piece is rolled out quite thinly, slice into thin but long strips measuring about 1.5cm in width. Tie each strip into a knot (you may need to ‘practice’ a few times to get it right) and set aside for deep-frying! Repeat for all the other pieces of dough.
9. Once you’ve cut and shaped all your knots, heat your oil in a saucepan until it is very hot – it will be shimmering slightly. I used quite a small saucepan to make the frying more manageable, and filled it about a third full with oil. You can always drop in one knot to test to see if the oil is hot enough to cook.
10. Once ready, drop a few knots into the oil at a time. (I did four at a time.) Fry for about 1-2 minutes each side – use a slotted spoon to turn halfway – until they’re golden brown. Remove with the spoon and place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.
Transfer to a plate and dust with icing sugar.
Believe me, these are amazingly more-ish – you’ll no doubt ‘test’ quite a few whilst you’re frying them to make sure they’re not over- or under-done!
As mentioned, these are best eaten soon after cooking, whilst they are still warm. They don’t quite keep so well, becoming a bit harder, but you can nevertheless store them in an airtight container. (And why not dust with a bit more icing sugar before serving again?)
Why not try out some more Croatian recipes?