Bosnian Pancakes {Uštipci}

In Bosnia, we love our pancakes, our bread and just dough-y things in general. 🙂 We make two basic types of pancakes. The first kind is a simpler, less time consuming and I am talking about those today. The second kind is made with yeast and I will share the recipe some other time.

My recipe may differ a bit from others, but basically there are three main components for a good pancake: eggs, flour and some type of liquid (water, milk, yogurt, buttermilk, etc.)

I make my pancakes with Greek yogurt and I really love them. They have a nice texture and they remain soft even when cold (IF there are any left). What I  love about them is that they are small, so you can grab one or two on your way out. They are a perfect bite (or two) size and make a really delicious breakfast. We spread them with variety of savory or sweet spreads or make them into sandwiches. Some people serve them coated in sugar/powdered sugar. I also had them with maple syrup and they were great, even though traditionally we don’t use maple syrup.

If you are interested in how to pronounce “uštipci”, it would sound something like “oosh-tipsy”  🙂

Bosnian Pancakes Ustipci

Bosnian Pancakes {Uštipci}

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of yogurt (I like to use Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

 

  1. Whisk the eggs until foamy, add yogurt and mix until smooth, add salt and water.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder and start adding to the egg mixture, stirring the whole time.
  3. Batter needs to be a bit thicker than for the American pancakes.
  4. Pour cooking oil into a large frying pan just enough to coat the bottom.
  5. Set the heat to medium.
  6. Prepare a large tray and cover with paper towel.
  7. Grab a spoonful (I use soup spoon) of batter and pour onto the heated oil.
  8. Make sure pancakes have enough space to expand.
  9. When you see bubbles forming around the edges of the pancake, it’s time to turn them over.
  10. Fry them until golden brown on both sides.
  11. When done, place on a paper towel.
  12. Bosnian pancakes can be served with a variety of spreads, such as cream cheese, pâté, jam, nutella, honey, etc. You can split them and make mini sandwiches too. They are firm enough to be picked up and they are usually one or two-bites-size. They are delicious warm or cold.

Have fun making them!

Bosnian pancakes prep

Bosnian pancakes prep 2

Bosnian Pancakes Ustipci

 These are some of the ways to enjoy them:

Bosnian Pancakes Ustipci

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Egg Foam Pie {Šampita}

Egg Foam Pie? I know it sounds weird, but that would be a literal translation for one of my favorite childhood desserts. All of my Bosnian friends know what I’m talking about here – šampita! 🙂

Šampita is one of many traditional Bosnian desserts. It’s been around for a very long time when fancy ingredients were not available and the most basic ingredients were used to make a dessert. It’s easy and quick to make. Bakeries usually make it with just a layer of puff pastry on the bottom, but this is a kind that’s made at home and it belongs to the category of sugar syrup soaked desserts, such as baklava, gulab jamun, etc. The cake part will soak up the syrup from the meringue and it will be moist and meringue is just sweet enough, fluffy with a hint of lemon.

To me, šampita tastes like childhood, like worry free days, like playing outside, picking flowers, and endless laughter and happiness.

Egg Foam Pie

Egg Foam Pie {Šampita}

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs at room temperature (divided)
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 6 TBSP milk
  • 6 TBSP cooking oil
  • 6 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Syrup:

  • 24 TBSP (about 250 g) sugar
  • About 0.85 cup (2 dl) water

Also needed:

  • 9 X 13 inch baking pan 2 or 3 inches deep (22 X 23 X 5 cm)
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 oz chocolate (about 50 g)
  • 2 TBSP sour cream

Preparation:

  1. Divide eggs. Place egg whites into a large mixing bowl. Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow, then add milk, oil and at the end flour combined with baking powder.
  2. Pour the batter into the baking pan covered with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until you notice edges starting to get lightly brown.
  3. While the cake is baking, add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and mix them at the highest speed. When they are done add lemon juice and mix some more. They are done when you turn the bowl upside down and they don’t move. Leave the egg whites in the bowl as you will have to add the syrup.
  4. While the meringue is in making, place sugar and water for the syrup into a small pot and bring it to boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and slowly start pouring into the egg whites while they’re still at the highest speed. You will notice the volume of the mixture quickly increasing.
  5. Now the cake should be done too, so remove it from the oven and spread the meringue all over the cake. It doesn’t matter that it’s too hot. Spread evenly and smooth it out and place it in the oven for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove it from the oven and set it on the counter.
  6. If you wish, you can melt chocolate, combine with some sour cream and drizzle over the cake.
  7. Place it in the fridge and let it cool completely. Enjoy this moist, light and fluffy dessert.

Egg Foam Pie 1

 ♦

Egg Foam Pie

Egg Foam Pie

Egg Foam Cake

Egg Foam Cake

 

Šape…or…Bear Paws shortbread cookies

Šape are one of the most loved, traditional Bosnian treats. When translated to English, šapa (sing.) simply means a “paw”. The old tins were shaped like bear paws, hence the name. I remember playing with my grandmother’s šape tins when I was a little girl. They had that gray and brownish patina from years of use and I wish I had somehow saved them…Today the tins come in all different shapes and can be purchased here. A madeleine tin can also be used to make šape.

Bear paws are made from simple ingredients, readily available in every household. Biting into a šapa can instantly take me back to my grandmother’s little kitchen, with wooden floors, green credenza and an old tin box she kept them in. Šape are made for birthdays, feasts, weddings, christenings, Christmas and almost every other special occasion. They are sort of a shortbread cookie, originally made with lard, but are just as good made with butter. Traditionally, walnuts are used in the cookie, but I’ve seen them made with shredded coconut, poppy seeds or spiced with cinnamon. The crumbly dough is pressed into tin forms, placed onto a cookie sheet, baked and tossed in powdered sugar. They simply melt in your mouth!

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Šape or Bear Paws

[print recipe]

Yields about 30-35 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 120 g /4.2 oz lard (or 140 g /4.9 oz butter)
  • 120 g / 4.2 oz sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 120 g / 4.2 oz ground walnuts
  • 300 g / 10.5 oz / 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 13 g / about 1 tsp baking powder
  • A few tsp of milk (if needed)
  • 1 – 2  tbsp honey (optional)

+

  • Powdered sugar
  • Baking tins
  • Butter (melted) to brush the tins

Preparation:

  1. Beat lard (or butter), sugar and vanilla for about 3-4 minutes, then add egg and lemon zest and mix for couple of more minutes.
  2. Add ground walnuts.
  3. Combine flour and baking powder; add to the lard mixture.
  4. The dough will be crumbly. If too dry, add a tbsp or two milk
  5. Brush the tins with melted butter, fill them about 2/3 with dough.
  6. Place the tins on a cookie sheet and bake at 180 C / 355 F for about 15 minutes or until golden-brown color.
  7. Let them cool down for a minute or two, remove from tins and liberally dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee, tea or dip in milk! 🙂

Sape preparation

Šape forms

Šape

Šape

Šape

Bosnian Bean Soup {Grah}

Just when I thought the winter has lost its grip on us, it’s snowing again and it’s bitter cold outside. I guess I’ll have to patiently wait for the spring.. In the meantime I decided to cure the winter blues with a cup of familiar, good Bosnian Bean Soup. In Bosnia and the regions of Balkan, this soup has been around for hundreds of years. It is simply called “beans” (grah) and when you say “grah” everyone knows what you’re talking about. Most families have their own, family recipe which they swear to be the best one around. I think my recipe is pretty darn good too! 🙂 This flavorful, hearty soup is made from dried beans, so it takes a while to be done, but I’ll tell you the wait is absolutely worth it. If you would find yourself in a conversation with an older Bosnian lady and if you (God forbid) mentioned that you have used canned beans to make grah, she would be seriously mad (if not offended) and she would use all of her powers of persuasion to change your mind and to point you in the right direction when it comes to preparing grah. 🙂

Although I am not going to be mad if you use canned beans, I would strongly suggest – don’t. I am speaking from my own experience here. Take the time and make this soup the proper way and you will be rewarded with a best cup of bean soup you ever had.

Since I don’t have a way to get the real Bosnian beans here in the US, I tried substituting them with pinto beans, black eyed peas and kidney beans. None of these have worked too well. Recently I found peruano beans which are just perfect for this soup and if not the same, then they are very similar to my favorite Bosnian beans.

As we (Bosnians) are pretty serious meat eaters, we like to add some nice smoked meat to the soup. I usually add authentic Bosnian smoked beef, but smoked pork ribs or similar will also give it a great flavor. Smoked meat from Balkans would require a whole new post, so I will just say that if you would really like to have some, try any store with products from Balkan. Serve the soup with some good, crusty bread. This is essential because you will be dipping that bread into soup and using it to pick up the last drops from your cup! In the winter time we also might serve this soup with pickled vegetables such as pickles, pickled peppers, sarena salata (a mix of various pickled veggies), pickled peppers stuffed with sauerkraut, etc.)

Bosnian Bean Soup (Grah)

Bosnian Bean Soup (Grah)

{print recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 500 g (17 oz) dry peruano beans
  • 1-2 l water
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper
  • 250 g (9 oz) smoked beef (cubed)
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP vegeta
  • 1/4  TSP fresh ground black pepper
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP cooking oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 TSP ground paprika

Preparation:

*** Soaking the beans in cold water over night will reduce the cooking time.

  • If you have pre-soaked the beans, rinse them, place in a large cooking pot and go to number 1.
  • If you didn’t soak the beans, place them in a cooking pot, add water and let it boil for a few minutes, rinse and add fresh water.
  1. Finely chop onion, carrot and the bell pepper. Add it to the beans and let it boil. Reduce the temperature to medium, cover the pot slightly and let it cook for about 1 hour. Occasionally check if water level has decreased, add additional water to always keep the same level of liquid in the pot.
  2. After 1 hour add all spices and cubed smoked meat (polish sausage or similar can be used too, but then you will add them at the last half hour of cooking time). Cook for another 1 to 1.5 hours. To check if beans are ready take a few out of the pot and squeeze them between your thumb and index finger. If they are soft and creamy, and the peel comes off they are ready. The soup will look thick and it will smell wonderfully.
  3. Now add tomato paste and let it incorporate well into the soup.
  4. It is time now to make the roux to thicken the soup.
  5. Peel and finely chop 3-4 garlic cloves. Using medium setting, heat 2 TBSP oil in a small frying pan. Toss the chopped garlic in oil just until fragrant.
  6. Add flour and mix it with a wooden spoon until all crumbs disappear and flour starts changing its color to a very light brown. Now add paprika and again mix well. Pour the roux into the soup. This might produce a lively reaction. Give it a nice stir, reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  7. Serve warm with a slice of a nice, crusty bread.
  8. This soup freezes well and keeps well in the fridge for at least 3-4 days.
Smoked beef meat
Smoked beef meat
Steps of making roux
Steps of making roux

Bosnian Bean Soup (Grah)