finished krofi with a dusting of powdered sugar.
— No matter where your roots lie, eating a krofi just
might taste like going home — or where you wish you’d
combinations of ingredients and techniques cross any number
of cultures. Consider the culinary swath cut by mixing
together a dough of eggs, yeast, flour, butter and milk,
then frying it in dollops until golden.
call this a doughnut, Germans say Berliner, while the French
say beignet. In South America, it’s a sopaipilla, while in
Italy, it’s a zeppole. Indians make fry bread and Jews
make sufganiyah. We could go on, but you get the idea. Given
the goods, humanity tends to evolve toward deep-fried dough.
Slovenia, they call such pastries krofi (KRO-fee). A hint of
lemon sets them apart from the crowd.
discovered these while preparing for a recent family
celebration on my husband’s side of the aisle, which has
Slovenian roots. (Slovenia, for the record, is a smallish
nation tucked into the mountains between Italy, Austria,
Hungary and Croatia.)
elderly father requested krofi from his childhood, but few
members of the succeeding generation had kept up the
tradition. So we staged a Slovenian renaissance of this
zest and juice are the key, although my mother-in-law’s
ethnic cookbooks noted further variations with fillings of
marmalade, jelly, even custard, injected after frying with a
squeeze tube or pastry bag and nozzle tip.
barely sweet dough comes together easily, although it helps
to have a stand mixer to knead the sticky dough until it
comes together. But if hands are all you have, use a dough
scraper (also called a bench knife) to lift and fold the
dough, over and over, until it becomes smooth and less
mixed, the dough is left to raise for an hour or two.
delicate dough is never rolled, but gently stretched into a
square, best done by reaching underneath and pulling, trying
to deflate it as little as possible.
cut rounds of dough rest once more while you clean up and
heat the cooking oil to 360 degrees. Maintaining a steady
temperature is the key to successful frying, so unless you
own an electric fryer, a deep-fry thermometer is a
about disposing of oil: You’ll be able to re-use it once
or twice again in other ways. Once cool, decant the oil into
a container, leaving behind any flour residue, which you can
wipe out with paper towels. Use the oil for stir-frying and
such. If you want to dispose of the whole batch, pour into
small containers such as milk cartons and dispose in the
trash. Never pour large amounts of oil down the drain.
check if a recycling center near you accepts cooking oil.
Here’s a link: .
that winter is in the wings, we’d be remiss if we didn’t
pass along this tip: Wipe a snow shovel with oil and the
scooped snow will just slide off!)
what with leaf-raking and snow-shoveling, it’s a perfect
time of year to indulge in these pastries. We enjoyed the
krofi showered with powdered sugar, and we also loved the
look on everyone’s face as they tasted a bit of their
Krofi (KRO-fee) are best fresh, but keep well for a day, and
so may be made the night before and served for breakfast.
Freshen by warming them on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in a
250-degree oven. Instant yeast also is called
"rapid-rise" or bread machine yeast. The nutmeg is
optional, but nice. This recipe is slightly adapted from
"More Pots and Pans," a cookbook of the Slovenian
Women’s Union of America.
tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
lemon, zest and juice
4 to 5
cups flour, divided
tsp. instant yeast (see Note)
tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, if desired
eggs, room temperature
oil for frying (canola or vegetable)
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the half-and-half
with the butter until the butter melts. Set aside and cool
the lemon, scraping only the yellow rind (you’ll have 1 to
2 teaspoons of zest). Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the
juice, straining out any seeds.
small bowl, whisk together lemon zest, 1 cup flour, yeast,
salt and nutmeg (if using). Set aside.
bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat eggs
with sugar and sour cream until smooth. With the mixer on
low speed, gradually add lukewarm half-and-half mixture and
lemon juice and mix well. Add flour mixture and mix until
smooth. Beat in 3 additional cups of flour, 1 at a time,
mixing well. The dough will be soft and quite sticky. Switch
attachment to a dough hook and knead dough for 3 to 4
minutes, until smooth. It will remain slightly sticky.
mixing by hand, follow the mixing process through adding 3
cups flour. To knead, turn the dough out onto a floured
surface. Use a dough scraper (also called a bench knife) to
lift and fold the dough, stretching it as much as possible
as you lift with the scraper. Flour as necessary using the
remaining 1 cup flour, but use as little as possible.
Stretch and fold for several minutes, until the dough
becomes smoother and firmer.)
a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and
cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size,
about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
the risen dough out onto a generously floured counter.
Reaching underneath the dough, gently pull it outward from
the middle into a 14-inch square. Do not roll the dough. You
don’t want to deflate it any more than necessary.
3-inch round cutter in flour and cut 16 rounds. Place them
on a lightly floured cloth. Save the largest of the scraps;
they’ll be odd shapes, but are like doughnut holes. Cover
dough with a cloth and let rise about 30 minutes or until
dough is rising, pour oil into a heavy frying pan or heavy
pot with sides at least 3 inches high. Heat to 360 degrees.
a wire rack with a couple of layers of paper towels.
the dough rounds in the hot oil, carefully placing them top
side down first and frying for about 45 seconds, then
flipping and frying for another 45 seconds or until golden
brown. You can fry 3 to 4 at a time, but don’t crowd them.
With a slotted spoon, lift the doughnut rounds onto the
they have cooled, dust with powdered sugar and serve.
information per each doughnut:
290; Fat: 17 g; Sodium: 93 mg
29 g; Saturated fat: 6 g; Calcium: 33 mg
5 g; Cholesterol: 52 mg; Dietary fiber: 1 g
exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 3½ fat.