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Serbian food

Serbian foodBeagradska Torta od Badema (Belgrade Almond Cake)

8 eggs
125 gr sugar
100 gr almonds (skinned and cut in small pieces)
50 gr flour

Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Beat the egg yolks with sugar and add the almonds. Mix the egg whites with the flour until it becomes a thick substance. Spoon the almond mixture in the egg white mixture and then pour everything in a buttered and floured cake pan. Bake the cake in a preheated oven on 190 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes.
Let the cake cool down and cut it into three layers.

Ingredients for the filling
10 egg yolks
125 gr sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1.2 liter milk
1 vanilla pod (ground)
380 gr butter

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add flour and mix well. Stir in the milk and add vanilla. Cook this mixture au bain marie, stirring all the time until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the fire and stir until it becomes cool again. Cream the butter with a mixer and add it to the filling.

Spread the filling over the three layers of the cake and put the cake together again. Cover the complete outside of the cake with the remained filling. Decorate the cake with some almonds and let it cool down completely before serving.


Pelmeni (Serbian Ravioli)

This recipe makes about 100 pelmeni which serves 10 people.

Ingredients for the dough
200 gr all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
80 ml water

Combine flour and salt and mound on a clean surface.
Make a well in the centre and add eggs and water.
Incorporate flour mixture with egg mixture by working around the walls of the well until the dough is mixed.
Knead on a floured surface until soft and pliable.
Form into 100 balls, cover with a moist towel and let rest at room temperature for one hour.

Ingredients for the filling
450 gr ground beef
1 onion (minced)
1 teaspoon dried dill
Salt and pepper
White of one small egg (beaten)
Water, chicken or beef broth
120 gr butter

Mix ground beef, onion, dill, salt and pepper to taste and enough water to make a soft mixture.
When the dough is ready flatten the dough balls into circles with a diameter of 7.5 cm. Place one tablespoon filling on each dough round. Brush the edges with water and fold the dough to form half moons. Pinch opposite ends to one another to seal. Repeat this with the rest of the dough balls. Brush the pelmeni with beaten egg white.
Bring a large pot full of salted water to boil, you also can use chicken or beef broth. Without crowding, drop the pelmeni into the boiling water (or broth), stirring to prevent sticking, until the pelmeni comes to surface (about 4 minutes). Remove the pelmeni and put them on a large plate.
Melt butter over medium heat and drizzle it over the pelmeni.

You can also serve pelmeni with sour cream or a white sause. The children like them with ketchup.


Posna Sarma (vegetarian)

This recipe is similar to the recipe for Greek dolmas, though it's made with cabbage instead of grape leaves. The usual sarma is made with ground pork and chuck, resulting in a combination of meat, oil and cabbage. If you like to use ground pork you can leave the oil out of the recipe, fry the ground pork in its own fat and then add the rest of the ingredients.

1 cabbage (or sweet cabbage)
5 onions (diced)
2 stalks celery
olive oil
1 green pepper (diced)
100 gr. rice (cooked)
100 gr. walnuts (ground)
1 can whole tomatoes

Cut out the hard core of the cabbage and boil the cabbage and then separate each leaf.
Heat oil in a skillet and add onions, celery and green pepper. Fry until soft. Add the cooked rice and stir fry the mixture for about two minutes.
Remove the mixture from heat and add walnuts and salt. Mix well.
Take a cabbage leaf and scoop approx. one tablespoon of the mixture on it. Roll up the leaf, the sides should be folded inside to prevent the mixture from falling out. Place the rolls in a large pan, add the tomatoes and enough water to cover them up. Cook over a medium heat for about one hour.
Switch of the heat and keep the sarma's covered until it's time to eat.


Saint Nicholas Bread

At the time when Christianity was accepted in Serbia, many families were baptised and chose their own Saint. This is why Saint Nicholas is celebrated by so many families on the 19th of December. For the Orthodox families St. Nicholas is a special day with special rituals and prayers, to others it only means a day to be with your family and enjoy lots of food.

This St. Nicholas bread is traditionaly made in Orthodox families for the feast of St. Nicholas. I heard that in other families a coin is put in the bread and the person who gets the piece with the coin will be rich in the future. I do not believe that this is part of a religious ritual, but I can be wrong.

Ingredients for the bread
1 tablespoon sugar
15 gram fresh yeast or 1 package dry yeast (7 gr)
500 ml lukewarm milk
1 kilo flour (all purpose)
1 teaspoon salt
150 gr sugar
100 gr butter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel and some lemon juice

Ingredients for the braid
250 gram flour
180 ml water
little bit salt

How to make the bread

Put the (fresh) yeast in a small bowl together with a teaspoon sugar and a little bit lukewarm milk. Mix and set aside so the yeast can start to work. Yeast usually activates between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius.

Take another bowl and beat the egg yolks, add the rest of the milk and stir well.

Put the flour, sugar, salt, lemon peel and a bit of lemon juice together in a bowl. Add the softened butter in small pieces and knead until the mixture has a fine texture.
Mix the yeast mixture with the milk/egg mixture and add it to the flour. Knead everything well until the dough becomes a ball (leaving the bowl clean). Put the dough into another bowl, cover it with a damp cloth and put it on a warm place. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.

After these two hours knead the dough again (shortly) on a floured surface. Make a ball again and let the dough rise again for 1 hour.

Form a round bread and put it on a greased baking tray or use greased baking paper. You can also use a round baking pan, don't forget to grease it!

Make the dough for the braid by mixing 250 gram flour, 180 ml water and a pinch of salt together in a bowl. Make a soft dough, divide it in three pieces and form 3 rolls. Make a braid twice the diameter of the bread. Cut the braid in half and form a cross on the bread, use a water/egg mixture to glue it on the bread.

Bake the St. Nicholas bread in a preheated oven on 180 degrees celsius for about 60 minutes.

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