Monday, October 26, 2009

Zora Kolači and images of the back yard

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Thank goodness David was the only one to witness my embarrassing moment in the back yard the other day.  I was enjoying the cooler temperatures and the crystal clear skies, and I was taking pictures with our brand new Cannon zoom lens. 

Here’s Esperanza (Yellow Bells)…

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and a White-winged Dove - one of three species who come to visit the bird bath and feeders:

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My 17-year-mistake, aka Cowgirl Joycie, was sniffing for coyotes and snakes…ok, no coyotes but snakes – it’s always a possibility when you live near a bayou.

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Favorite dog Chula, also known as Shederella, was chillin’ quietly in the bushes.

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Rocky LuLu’s head was buried in the Katy Ruelliano doubt also looking for small, unsuspecting creatures.

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Even the garden art was minding its own business!

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The monarchs are migrating south and our yard is a reliable stop-over:  favorite Husbie plants native bushes that naturally attract butterflies…a gardening wizard is my man!  

I was lying in the hammock and I had just photographed this slim beauty feasting on the nectar of a Mexican milkweed plant when suddenly…

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Snap! snap!…quickly followed by a few more snaps and lo and behold within a couple of seconds, I was very rudely deposited on the metal support beam on the ground.  OUCH!  My back, my buttocks, my elbow…the camera…

was safe!   And sweet, considerate David had turned his head! 

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Just so that we are on the same page:  I AM NOT AS BIG AS THAT ENORMOUS HOLE!  

Favorite daughter’s hammock was left out all summer during the heat and drought, followed by several weeks of downpours, and then back with the stifling heat.  Those ravaging most destructive forces must have aged and weakened the ropes substantially… or was it bad construction - made in China, no doubt…?

OR…

Do you think it’s because I’ve been eating too many of these sweet, delicious and addicting Zora Kolači? 

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Zora Kolači have always been a favorite treat in my family.  In my native Serbia, Kolač (pronounced Kolach) is a pastry or cake, and Kolači are cookies or small cakes.  With no similarities to the filled yeast dough known in Texas as Kolaches, these bars have three layers: a sweet short crust base, jam in the middle and a moist and crispy meringue on the top.  These are easy to make and very popular with locals alike.

You start with a meaty nut, like walnuts002 v1 

Grind them as finely as you can.  I used my awesome Serbian grinder, but a food processor will do.006 v1

Pat the short crust pastry in the baking pan and spread it with a thick layer of raspberry (or apricot) jamYu-um!007 v1

Whip up the egg whites and sugar, then gentlyoh so gentlyblend them with the ground walnuts to make a meringue for the top.009 v1

With a crispy, cracked top and a gooey middle, chocolate brownies will have stiff competition!013-crop v1

Zora Kolači

Translated from Veliki Narodni Kuvar (People’s ‘Big’ Cookbook)

 

For the short crust base and filling:

1¾ cups (210 grams) flour

½ teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar

10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 egg yolk

½ cup raspberry or apricot jam

For the meringue topping:

5 egg whites

¼ teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 grams) granulated sugar

1 cup (140 grams) walnuts – measure and then grind as finely as possible, without becoming pasty

about 1 heaping teaspoon confectioner’s sugar, for dusting the top

Prepare a 8 x 8inch (20cm x 20cm) or a 7 x 11inch (18cm x 26cm) baking pan by buttering the bottom and sides and dusting with a little flour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC)

Make the base:

Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a mixer (or you can use a regular bowl and hand-held mixer). Blend together. Add butter and egg yolk and combine until starting to form a ball. Don’t overbeat. Gently pat dough into the prepared baking pan. I does not have to be smooth. Spread jam over dough to about ½ inch (12cm) from the sides of the pan. Refrigerate while you make the meringue topping.

Make the meringue topping:

Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean and dry bowl of a mixer (or you can use a regular bowl and hand-held mixer). With the whisk attachment, beat the whites until foamy and white. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour in the sugar. Beat until the mixture is stiff and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the ground walnuts. Using a spatula, slowly and very gently mix in the walnuts by lifting the meringue from the bottom upward. You don’t want to deflate the meringue by stirring or using a mixer at this point. Spread meringue on top of jam without ‘working’ it too much.

Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes (depending on the size of the pan). The meringue should be light brown and start to crack at the edges when done. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, cut longwise with a sharp, thin knife, into about ¾ inch sections and crosswise into about 1½ inch sections. The meringue will crack as you go, but that’s ok. Rinsing and drying the knife after every cut will help achieve ‘cleaner’ edges. Using a sieve and about a heaping teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar, dust the tops and serve.

Prijatno!

9 comments:

  1. Kolač izgleda fenomenalno i fotkice takod

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  2. Jennifer ComellaOctober 26, 2009

    Looks very yummy! I have a similar recipe with the addition of chocolate chips over the raspberry jam but under the meringue. One of my very favorites!

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  3. Thank you for this. My grandmother was Serbian, and I grew up with great aunts who would make these, along with my grandmothers cabbage rolls (Halubki?).

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  4. Barbara Pepper said:

    "I baked some Zora Kolaci yesterday afternoon, my son and Rodney LOVED them, thanks for inspiring me to bake!"

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  5. Hvala Vera!

    Jennifer - I'm going to do the chocolate version as well. It would be interesting to compare recipes!

    Expat - love your blog! So much valuable information.

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  6. My, goodness, what an exotic treat! These would be a wonderful addition to the holiday cookie plate. Bookmarking! And that totally happened with an old hammock that we'd left out all summer, it just disintegrated!

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  7. Dragana, these are soooo calling my name!! I can't wait to make them with some of the homemade jam I jarred this summer.

    Your camera shots are amazing! I hope you didn't no any damange to your tailbone!!

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  8. Oooooh I made these last night, so so yummy, the shortcrust base was to die for. Thanks for sharing an awesome recipe !

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  9. Wow! Lovely recipe and looks easy to make to boot :) Glad I found your blog, it's gorgeous. It's so good you write in English and make recipes from your country accessible to the whole world. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from Spain.

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