As their name suggests the uniqueness of salenjaci lies in one quite unusual ingredient – the pork lard. That is why these crispy, puffed and sweet bites are usually prepared during the pig slaughter, bringing the wonderful scents of aromatic homemade pastry and the sweetest filling onto the tables.
Preparation of salenjaci is similar to the preparation of croissants. The dough is kneaded, smeared with lard, overlaped, left to rest and rise. The procedure requires a good dose of will and effort, but when the pastry puffs and separates in a thousand od delicious layers, every minute invested in it is worth while.
Salenjaci are most often filled with freshly prepared homemade plum jam, but it is not unusual to fill it with a thickly cooked apricot jam. At the end, they are simply sprinkled with powder sugar and served warm, while the filling is still dropping from the crispy pastry. After that, you can keep salenjaci in a closed jar up to several days without them losing their crispiness and delicious taste. Therefore, they are ideal to be prepared in large quantities.
Although slightly more “heavier” than traditional rolls and sweet leavened cakes, when salenjaci are involved, there is general opinion that you simply stop counting calories. It is important to enjoy the full, rich taste of increadibly tender puff pastry in combination with the same filling.
We looked for the Slavonian croissants at the best known places in this region rich in delicacies. In Ivica i Marica, a village farm located at Karanac, they traditionally make salenjaci in the form of hearts, and they revealed to us the secret of the finest filling.
“We offer several sweet winter cakes, among them traditional salenjaci in the form of hearts. We fill them with the plum jam that we make ourselves, very thickly cooked. In addition to the jam, we sometimes fill salenjaci with the wallnut filling, like the one for walnut strudel.”
The staff at the Ilok’s Dunav Hotel has gone a step forward, and in addition to the classical plum filling, they fill salenjaci with one completely special seasonal ingredient.
“We bake Slavonian salenjaci traditionally in the form of hearts, we first cut a rectangle and then press so that the ends to glue and finely separate into layers during baking. We make them with the homemade plum jam, thickly cooked. In addition to the plum jam, we fill them with the quince jam.”
The Baranjska Kuća, a place where you can find the finest traditional bites, bakes this favourite sweet dessert to order, in addition to many other delights.
“We bake salenjaci in an old-fashion way, the dough should be finely puffed and separated in layers, and we fill it with the homemade plum jam. We make them in the form of hearts to look nicer, and that’s it. We bake salenjaci to order, so you are required to make booking before coming,” we were told in the Baranjska Kuća family restaurant.
Puffed and crispy, fine even several days after being baked, filled with homemade jams, delicious and greasy, salenjaci are a perfect winter dessert. If you happen to come to Slavonia, you know where you can find it.