Sep 16, 2012

Bosnian pastries and delicacies

All Bosnia seem to love rahatluk. Ad who can blame them? The name is a corrupted form on the Arabic rahat-lokoum, which means „a little sweet that causes pleasure“. And that is just what it is. This delicious hard gelee is made of sugar, starch, water, almonds and rose oil. The dried, sliced almonds are put into a mixture of syrup and starch; lemon juice and a few drops of rose oil are added, and the mixture is left to cool in an enameled dish.

1.5 kg. (3 lb. 4 oz.) sugar
1 ¾ l. (3 pt.) water
250 gr. (8 ½ oz.) cornflour
125 gr. (5 oz.) almonds
1 lemon
6-8 drops of rose water
50 gr. (2 oz.) almond oil

Although it may be bough ready-made many Bosniak housewives prefer to make their own, in the following way: Place the sugar in a large saucepan, pour on 1 ¼  pints ( ¾  litre) of water and make a thick syrup. When the syrup thickens, remove pan from the heat. In another saucepan place the cornflour and slowly add the rest of the water (1 litre or 1 ¾  pints). Add this mixture to the syrup slowly, stirring all the time. Return to the heat until the mixture starts to fall off the spoon, stirring all the time and being careful not to let the mixture burn. Towards the end add the juice of one lemon.
When the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan, remove from the heat, add the rose water and the almonds, blanched and cut into thin strips. Grease a large enamel dish with almond or ordinary oil and pour in the hot mixture to form a layer 3 cm (just over one inch) thick. Level with a knife and leave for 24 hours to set. Cut into squares 2 by 4 cm (nearly 1 by 2 inches). Dip each piece in sieved icing sugar mixed with rice or cornflour, and place in layers in a tin.
Rahatluk can be made in smaller quantities, but since it keeps for a long time without losing its taste or freshness, it is more convenient ito make a larger quantity and store in tins.

Đul Fatma, Đul pita or Ružice
(Jul Fatma Pie or Roses)
1 lb. flour
1 cup water
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup milk
4 ozs. rice flour or 2 ozs. cornflour
3 cups sugar
8 ozs. nuts
1 cup oil or butter
Vanilla flavouring
1 lemon
The wordul" means "rose" in Arabic. When these pastries are baked they resamble an open rose — hence their poetic name. With the ingredients in the first column make paper-thin sheets of pastry as for walnut "pita" or baklava.
Add milk to rice flour or cornflour gradually and cook until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add 'It cup of sugar.
Take four sheets of pastry and sprinkle them in turn with hot oil or butter. Place them one on top of the other and spread the filling along one side of the pastry. Roll up as tightly as possible. Butter a large baking tin. With a sharp knife cut the roll into one-inch slices and place then flat on the baking tin. Bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.
Put 2 ½  cups of sugar into 2 ½  cups of water, add vanilla and one lemon cut into slices. Bring to the boil and simmer until slightly thickened. Pour this syrup over the hot "pita". After all the syrup has soaked in, carefully remove all the pieces of "pita" and arrange on a serving dish.