Recently I was delighted to learn that one of my favourite new foodie friends grew up with a Croatian neighbour. She’s Greek and, the funny thing is, I’m Croatian but grew up with Greek neighbours. Her Croatian is much better than my Greek but we soon moved past that and onto – unsurprisingly – food.
My favourite Greek biscuits are definitely the amazing honey and walnut cookies, melamakarona. Her favourite Croatian biscuits are kiflice. Now, this is how much I like this friend, after a rare night out partying I woke up at sparrow’s to make her a batch before she headed home.
(Scoffed a few myself first, of course. To make sure they were up to standard, of course.)
Kiflice look like adorable little croissants but with a shortbread texture and (usually) a tart, plum jam filling. Sometimes walnuts. Occasionally apples.
In terms of difficulty level and general cache in the scheme of Croatian baking, these sit somewhere comparable to ANZAC biscuits. Entry level, doesn’t take long and well-liked by all.
But without the military connection… as far as I’m aware.
My mum has always made these, along with every other Croatian baker worth their salt. They keep well so you can make a stack and freeze or simply store in an airtight container. Or, give to a friend. A special friend who knows how to make Greek melamakarona biscuits.
- 1 kg plain flour
- 250g cold butter
- 600ml thickened cream
- pinch of salt
- Podravka brand plum preserve
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Remove 1 cup of flour from the 1kg bag and place to the side.
- Place the remaining flour in a large bowl and add salt.
- Chop the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add the thickened cream and work the mixture into a firm dough but only mix as much as needed, be careful not to overwork.
- Use the remaining flour to dust the bench. Take small balls of dough and roll out into discs about 3mm thick.
- Using a sharp knife, draw an asterisk on each disc, dividing it into 8 triangles.
- Place a small amount – about 1/4 teaspoon – of jam at the wider end of each triangle and roll into a croissant shape.
- Lay the kiflice out on a greased or lined baking sheet with a bit of space between each one. Make sure the tip of the triangle is under the kiflica so that it doesn’t spring open during baking.
- Bake until golden and place on a wire rack too cool.
- Combine caster sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl.
- Roll each one in the sugar mixture before arranging in an airtight container to store… or on a plate to be eaten.