During the Carnival season, the smell of festive delicacies spreads all over Slovenia; among them, doughnuts (krofi) have a special place. Slovenian ethnologist, Dr Janez Bogataj, says that the roots of doughnuts reach back to imperial Vienna, where court chef Cecilija Krampf was the first to start making them. Cecilija’s recipe gradually spread throughout the entire monarchy. Slovenian doughnuts were somewhat different from the 'imperial' ones according to the method of preparation, size and fillings. While doughnuts were fried in melted butter in Vienna, our ancestors fried them in lard and later in oil. Original doughnuts were of irregular shapes with protuberances like claws, from which they got their name. They were also called fanclji.
Recipe for doughnuts
- 600 g white flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 80 g sugar
- 80 g butter
- 30 g yeast
- 200–300 ml milk
- 1 tablespoon of rum
- grated lemon zest
- apricot jam for filling
- icing sugar
First crumble the yeast and mix it with 1 tablespoon of sugar taken from the entire amount of sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Over the mixture add some flour. Put the remaining flour into a bowl and make a hole in the middle into which you pour the yeast mixture. Cover it with a cloth and leave it for a few minutes so that yeast mixture rises.
Separately mix lukewarm milk, melted butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, lemon zest and rum, and pour this mixture into the flour. Knead into a soft and supple dough and leave it to rise at least for an hour in a warm place.
On a surface covered with flour, roll out the dough until about 1.5 cm thick and cut out circles measuring 5 to 8 cm in diameter. Cover the circles or doughnuts with a cloth and leave them to rise again for at least half an hour.
Heat up the oil for frying in a pan and put the risen doughnuts in the oil with the upper side facing down. After few minutes, turn the doughnuts quickly over and fry them on the other side until they are golden brown. Take the doughnuts from the oil with a skimmer and lay them on a paper towel to drain the access oil.
Use a syringe to fill doughnuts with apricot jam. Put the doughnuts on a plate and dust them with icing sugar.
Carnival fried dough balls
If you find the preparation of the doughnuts too complicated, you can try out an easier dessert – the fried dough balls (miške). The same as doughnuts, the balls are made of leavened dough to which raisins or finely chopped apples are often added. Like fanclji in the past, miške are also of irregular shape, but are nevertheless very delicious. Try out our recipe.
Recipe for fried dough balls
- 300 g flour
- 15 g yeast
- 30 g sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 60 g butter
- 150 ml milk
- 30 g raisins
- oil or lard for frying
Knead a softer leavened dough, add in raisins and leave it to rise. With a buttered spoon, scoop the dough and put it in hot oil. Fry until golden brown.
Scoop the fried dough balls from the oil and dust them with sugar (optional).
To Trojane for doughnuts
If you wish to try the most famous Slovenian doughnuts, go to Trojane. Once an important post stop, Roman military garrison and horse and cart drivers’ stop on the 'old Vienna road', Trojane is today a true doughnut centre for travellers. Konšek Restaurant with almost 170 years of tradition in hospitality started frying Trojane doughnuts in the 1960s. If in those days, they only made a few tens of doughnuts in one day, these numbers are today much bigger – between 2,000 and 5,000. At Shrovetide and on other special occasions, they make even more doughnuts. When you are next travelling between Ljubljana and Maribor, stop at Trojane and bite into a delicious doughnut.
Delicious flavours of Carnival season
Carnival is the time of happiness – no wonder, it is a herald of the spring! Good food is enjoyed until Ash Wednesday, so do not hesitate to try out Slovenian delicacies. For a good year and good harvest, dance with traditional Slovenian Carnival masks.