A follower of my blog in Canada recently wrote to me asking if I could write a post about Slovenian recipes, so how could I refuse to comply! So, Mary in Canada, this one is for you!
Since all the restaurants, bars, cafes etc. are (still) closed – it’s been like this here since the end of October last year – we (both the owners of such establishments and the public at large) have had to get used to cooking more at home whilst also taking advantage of the take-away food on offer at selected places. Many of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants have been offering take-away food and, in fact, it has actually been to my advantage in some respect that chefs have had more time to ‘play’ in their kitchens, and Aleš Tavčar, head chef and owner of Gostišče Draga in the Draga valley in Begunje na Gorenjskem, finally found time to make me a glut of gluten-free štruklji to go in my freezer.
And since štruklji really are something unbeknown to most of the world, they were the first thing that sprung to mind when deciding which Slovenian recipe to first write about.
Štruklji at Gostišče Draga
The recipe and photos shown below are for gluten-free štruklji, which, due to gluten being what provides the ‘elastic’ in dough mixes, are slightly different to ‘regular’ štruklji. Therefore, I should stress that ‘normal’ flour will provide you with a better result and your štruklji will look and taste somewhat better too, so unless you have to avoid gluten (coeliac disease in my case, though others have an intolerance and/or choose not to eat it for other reasons) you can use the same quantity of regular flour. These days I’m just happy to be able to eat them, even if they aren’t exactly as I remember them in my pre-coeliac days.
The full recipe with quantities is at the end of this post.
First gather the ingredients for the dough – flour, salt, egg, vinegar, water, oil.
Combine them well but don’t overwork the dough.
Shape the dough into a round loaf shape.
Next, make the filling using curd cheese, eggs, sour cream and salt.
Mash (or mince) the curd cheese well, add the eggs and sour cream then season with salt.
Roll out the dough – after watching the ‘pro’, I was allowed to help with this part!
Spread a generous amount of the filling mix over the dough.
Next its time to roll the štruklji then lift them gently onto lightly oiled foil or a non-stick cloth before steaming or cooking into salted simmering water.
This is the basic, traditional way of cooking and serving štruklji, but these days, in terms of how you choose to eat them and what kind of fillings/flavours you add, the sky’s the limit. You can eat them as a main course, a side dish or even chocolate štruklji for dessert. I’ve yet to find a flavour I don’t like!
At Gostišče Draga you can try a savoury version with a mushroom sauce…
…or, my preferred option, topped with cranberry sauce for a savoury/sweet taste.
Until the restaurant is able to reopen – and in fact also thereafter too as they have proved to be such a success – you can buy some of Gostišče Draga’s dishes and home produce from the family farm in jars. The range include goulash, jota, bograč and various pickled vegetables. Aleš and Tina have certainly not been resting on their laurels during this long lockdown – all credit to them. The jars can be bought direct at the restaurant (at weekends), at the Lesce farmers market (Friday afternoons/Saturday mornings), from the vending machine outside Gostilna Kunstelj, and at various local shops as well as further afield.
370g flour (gluten-free or regular)
pinch of salt
1kg curd cheese
200g sour cream
Make the dough by mixing together the flour, eggs, water, vinegar and oil then shape into a round loaf.
Make the filling by mashing/mincing the curd cheese then add the eggs and sour cream and season with salt.
Roll out the dough – it should be very thin – ???? then spread over the filling. Roll the štruklji into a Swiss roll shape then lift gently onto lightly oiled foil or a non-stick cloth and roll to fully encase the štruklji. Steam for 45 minutes or cook into salted simmering water for 30 minutes.
And that’s it – simple when you know how!
Let me know how you get on!
© Adele in Slovenia