Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bajadera Pralines

May I present the first recipe from my Balkan experience I publish on my blog. I am so happy to share one of my favorite culinary Balkan memories with you today. The story behind the bajadere (plural of bajadera in Serbian/Croatian) lies 10 months behind. Well, actually a little bit more...

During my stay in the Balkans, one could consider me as a frequent traveller to my lovely friends in Macedonia. On my way back, one of the many returns to Belgrade, my friend Darko offered me a pack of bajadere. Take them for the road, he said. The ones he offered me were industrial ones and I already liked them a lot. (but nothing compares to domace bajadere)

Some months later, my boyfriend and I were invited to a birthday party. She organized a little get together among friends in the form of an apéro dinatoire, which is something like a dining cocktail. 
Vladana turned 27 and prepared loads of delicious food with her mother. Many many different kinds of  savoury pastries and sweet cakes were on the buffet. And then tadaaaa I discovered the bajadere. I tried one, two.. even three and then I thought OK Sheyla you have to restrain yourself a little bit, you're invited, you can not empty the whole plate. Another person, who I will not name now, took care of this though.

After meeting with Vladana again I dared to ask if she'd share the recipe with me,
and she did. I kindly asked if I could put the recipe on my blog, referring to her and her mother of course. Because all the credits go to that family recipe. The only thing I can do is respect the recipe one to one and spoil my beloved over here with this Balkan treasure. I can say they're family approved. I'd say by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow the latest there will be no bajadere left.

Travelling and coming back with recipes is just so amazing. I still have quite a few, and you will get the more detailed stories behind when I will publish the specific posts. All I can say for now is that there were friends, mothers and even grand-mothers involved. The recipes reach from Croatia to Macedonia and I am so happy I gathered all these little delights in my notebook dedicated to travel-recipes. Just by writing about it all the great memories come to my mind. One day I will indeed have a huge collection by bringing together all the recipes from my international friends and their families. 

For around 30 Bajadere you need:

400g sugar
125g grated walnuts
125g butter
75ml cold water
125g grated Plazma 
(called Lane in Europe or just grated Betterfood Cookies)
100g dark chocolate 
(take good quality chocolate because the choco taste is intense)

For the coating:

100g dark chocolate
50g butter
1 large egg

In a saucepan boil the water and then gradually add the sugar until you get a creamy mixture. Add the plazma, the walnuts and the butter and stir for another 2-3 minutes.

Split the dough in two and add 100g of grated chocolate to one half.

Take a mid-sized rectangular mold and cover it with cling-film. Now pour the chocolate dough in the mold and spread until it is even. Add the other half and let it cool down.

Now you can start melting your chocolate bain-marie style. Add the butter until it melted entirely. Whisk the egg in a separate little bowl and add to the chocolate-butter mixture. You will see that the chocolate thickens immediately. Pour the melted chocolate over the dough and let it cool down a tiny bit before to refrigerate the whole for about an hour.

Take your raw dough out of the fridge and cut it into equal stripes.


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