Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Palacinke with stewed plums

It seems like nearly every country has its version of American pancakes - France has its crepes, Mexico has its tortillas, Norway has its lefse and several countries in Central and Eastern Europe have palacinke.
I first learned about palacinke while watching a cooking show by Lidia Bastianich, the noted cookbook author and restaurateur. It's a dish she ate many times while growing up in Istria, a peninsula that's now part of Croatia, but once belonged to Italy.
Palacinke were ubiquitous on every breakfast menu on our recent trip to Croatia, but they were also commonly found in Ljubljana, Slovenia's charming capital, where we also spent a few days.
They were served many different ways, including with maple syrup and a swath of jam smeared on the plate.
At a street fair in Ljubljana, you could order them stuffed with mango, Nutella or even Snickers candy bar.

Abundant and delicious food choices are just one of the reasons to visit this city.
 The streets in the old part of Ljubljana are jammed with tourists enjoying a drink or dinner at one of the many bars and restaurants lining the river banks.

Ljubljana's old town has become a not-so-secret hip place to visit. Walk along its medieval streets and gaze at its beautiful architecture with clay tile roofs and you'll hear a multitude of languages being spoken, including English.

The city's triple bridge, consisting of a main stone bridge with balustrades, and two side bridges, is a well known landmark and popular meeting place.
 Dominating the city though, is Ljubljana castle, most of which was built in the 16th century, following a devastating earthquake.
Inside the castle, you can climb the 19th century watchtower, tour the 15th century church of St. George, or just enjoy lunch or an ice cream cone in its central courtyard.

The gift shop features beautifully decorated cookies:
 And lovely hand-painted boxes with traditional Slovenian designs.
 Music is everywhere in the city, performed at various venues, including the neoclassic opera house, home to the Slovenian National opera and ballet companies.
We were lucky enough to find ourselves in Ljubljana on the eve of the country's 25th anniversary of its independence from Yugoslavia, and discovered we had front seats, from our hotel room, to a fireworks display above the castle. 
The anniversary also meant we had to navigate the way to our room past armed guards outside our door, since four European presidents were staying at our hotel during the festivities.
You may not be able to get to Ljubljana any time soon, but you can pretend you're there when you dig your fork into these palacinke. 
I serve them here with poached plums, my new favorite topping for yogurt, cooked oatmeal or ice cream. Spoon some inside the palacinke, then ladle on a bit more on top. If you really want to gild the lily, serve with whipped cream. 

 Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

recipe from Lidia's Italy, by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tablespoon dark rum
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/3 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 8 tablespoons melted butter ( or more)
    • 2 lemons, zest of, finely grated.
      To make the palacinke batter, whisk together the eggs, 2 cups water, the rum, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, until well blended. Sift the flour on top, a bit at a time, whisking each addition in until smooth. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons of the melted butter, whisking until the batter has slightly thickened, with the consistency of melted ice cream. Finally, whisk in the lemon zest. Put the remaining 4 tablespoons of melted butter in a small cup and keep it warm.
      Set the crêpe pan or skillet over medium-high heat until quite hot. Pour in a couple tablespoons of the reserved melted butter, quickly swirl it all over the pan bottom, then pour excess butter back into the cup, leaving the bottom lightly coated with sizzling butter. (If the butter doesn't sizzle, heat the pan longer before adding the batter.) Immediately ladle in a scant 1/3 cup of batter, tilt and swirl so it coats the bottom, and set the pan on the burner.
      Stewed Plums
      Cut 4-6 plums in quarters, discarding pits. (I use any kind, from Italian prune plums to Santa Rosa plums). Place the plums in a saucepan with three tablespoons of water, two tablespoons sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Let come to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook over love heat for about ten minutes, or until fruit has softened. 

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Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

What beautiful scenery!! I'd love to be able to visit that entire area. I am definitely making your stewed plum and palacinke. What a nice way to start the day. You have made some fantastic memories. Welcome back!!

Chiara Giglio said...

cara Linda, bello rileggerti, spero che il tuo polso stia guarendo. Le palacinke sono molto comuni anche a Trieste, nel mio blog ho una ricetta con la crema di noci (crepes alla crema di noci e cannella), così le ho mangiate in Slovenia ma la tua versione con le prugne è molto golosa, un abbraccio !

Paola said...

Linda, you make an amazing case for visiting this special area from its people, culture, history and of course food.

Claudia said...

I've been told by friends that I need to go to Croatia and surrounding areas. You are also convincing me. And ... stewing the plums as we speak!

AdriBarr said...

How beautiful! What wonderful memories you two are making for yourselves, and to be able to return home and recreate the food, well, how much better can life get? The palacinke look delicious. I always senjoy recipes frm Lidia Bastianich. I will have to try making this dish. Thanks for the inspiration.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Croatia is now on my bucket list! I've enjoyed seeing all your photos form this beautiful country. Your stewed plum filling for these palacinke sounds delicious!

My maternal grandmother made a crepe type pancake called a "nalysnyky" that was very much like these except it had no lemon zest in it. She filled them with fruit, or with a soft cheese that my mother called farmers cheese, and rolled them up to serve them. I have not had them in years .I will have to see if this recipe tastes like them.

Rosa said...

Beautiful places and heavenly pancakes!



Strategic said...

They look like the are something between pancakes and crepes - yum!

Claudia Di Nardo said...

Bellissima Lubiana, ci son stata proprio circa un mese fa. Adoro la Slovenia! :-*