Croatia is a small country and throughout history she had many countries that ruled her. The influence of different „masters“ can be recognized in our kitchen. One of the empires that ruled part of today’s Croatia (in 15.century) was the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey).
Except that nowadays many of our housewives (and “housemen”) adore Turkish soap operas, major impact is in the kitchen (in Croatia, and especially in Bosnia – Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia have the longest common border). One of the dishes that is native to Turkey, and very popular in Croatia, is borek, or burek (traditionally prepared only with meat) – and all its’ variants.
One of these versions is” krumpirusa” – potato strudel (my favorite). It consists of only few ingredients, but preparation itself requires a little more culinary experience (if you are to make your own pulled dough).
A few years ago I took a photo of the whole process of making and baking krumpirusa. Photographs are not very good, because the conditions were relatively poor, and I was the main cameraman and the cook 🙂 .
But, first things first. For krumpirusa you will need:
About 500 grams smooth (soft) flour
250-300 ml luke warm water
1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp oil
Pinch of salt
4-5 middle sized potatoes
2 middle size onions
Salt, paper, oil
Pour the flour on a work surface and make a dent in the middle. Add salt, and slowly start to pour the water with one hand, while with other, mix the flour and water (like when doing pasta, just without eggs). Add oil and vinegar, and enugh water to get a compact dough.
Dough oughta to be elastic and firm, not too soft, nor hard. Cover it with kitchen cloth so it doens’t get dried, and leave to rest for about 30-40 minutes. During that period, prepare the baking pan (cover it with oil), prepare the and filling, preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees C.
Peel the potatoes and onions. Finelly chop the onions and place it in a middle sized bowl. Grate the potatoes, and mix them with onions. Season with salt and black pepper (don’t save on pepper because potatoes and black pepper are perfect match), add several spoons of oil.
Now it’s time to stretch the dough for your potato strudel.
Prepare an old tablecloth or sheet and place it on the table where you will strech your dough . Flour your hands, and sprinkle a little flour on the center of the table. Place the dough on floured center of the table, and roll it slightly using a rolling pin.
Stretch the dough to the end by your arms, in all directions (in the circle). It must be handled carefuly, as though the dough is elastic, it can easily break . It is best that one hand (left, if you’re right-handed) you tuck in under the dough , and with other hand pull the dough towards you (walking around the table).
Stretch the dough over the edge of the table, and the crop it, if necessary (on the edge of the dough that hangs over the table, almost always remains thicker layer that is harder to stretch).
Sprinkle the dough with a little oil and spread the stuffing of potato in a shape of circle – not too much in the middle, not too much near the edge. Fold the ends hanging over the filling.
Now you need to wrap your potato strudel, and you will do that by rolling up the dough inward ,while pulling that empty middle to the outside. Thus, the dough at the center is further thinning.
Finally, make a little cut in the middle of dough and roll in the strudel to finish. Transfer it in a greased pan (preferably round) by starting from the middle of the pan, forming a circle – as if you want to make a snail.
Grease it a bit (with oil) on the top and bake for about 30-35 minutes 190-200 degrees Celsius, until you get a nice rosy, color.
When baked, cover it with a wet cloth if you want to soften a bit. If you prefer crispy, then just wait for it to cool down for a minuteor two, and dig in!
Krumpiruša Is thirsty, so be prepared ;)… Bon appetite!