Our nonnas (grandmothers) hold the secrets to many delicious meals which made our childhoods so happy and sweet and our stomachs so full, especially if the meal in question is – hrostule. One by one, we try to write the recipes down so one day, we can make some for our own grandchildren and pass the tradition onto them. Luckily, as our nonnas grow older, they are more willing to pass the recipes on.
Here’s one of our favorite recipes, for a pastry which gets eaten so fast one wonders was it even worth the trouble and many hours it took to make it. But it was. It always is. So, here’s a recipe of one nonna from Pučišća, for hrostule, hrustule, or hroštule.
WHAT YOU NEED
× eggs (depends on the number of people you want to make them for, 1 egg is enough for 2 people)
× rakija (homemade, of course)
× sugar (both granulated and powder)
× pork fat
× rum or some other aroma, or as nonna likes to say “smell” (usually pear extract)
× pinch of salt
× lemon or orange peal
Old recipes usually don’t include specific quantities, especially for flour, so you’ll have to be a bit creative and intuitive in deciding how much of it to use. For flour, our nonna likes to say – “as much as it drinks!”. When it comes to this recipe, quantities depend on the number of eggs – if you use 3 eggs, then use 3 tablespoons of rakija, 3 tablespoons of sugar, etc.
(1) Mix egg yolks with sugar, rakija, and fat. Mix egg whites and add to the previous mixture. After mixing it together, add flour “as much as it drinks” or as you deem necessary until the dough is nice and soft. It shouldn’t be hard to roll out the dough, so don’t use too much flour. Leave it covered for half an hour and then proceed to step two.
(2) Divide the dough into smaller pieces (usually 4 smaller balls), and roll out the first one. Try to make it as thin as possible, without the dough breaking. If needed, add a bit flour on it. Cut it into 1.5 cm wide strips and lay them on a kitchen towel.
(3) Heat up a big pot of oil for deep frying and carefully add the strips into the oil. Before putting them in, try to make a small bow out of the strip.
(4) It doesn’t take long to fry it, so be very careful they don’t burn. Take them out and put them in a colander which you put on top of another pot, to collect excess oil and for them to dry a bit.
(5) When hrostule cool down a bit, transfer them in a bowl and sprinkle them with fine sugar.
(6) Our nonna says that you know you made good hrustule if they have these small bubbles on them.