For centuries pig fat has been an indispensable and valuable foodstuff used in the preparation of many savoury and sweet dishes and can still be found in larders throughout continental Croatia. Besides fresh fat, which is used throughout the year, during slaughter the pig’s lard from inside the abdominal cavity and ribs is separated, and it is frequently used for the preparation of salenjaci, sweet pastries filled with jam. Although they are not made so often today, and pork lard is slowly being forgotten, the fragrant and soft salenjaci will always be a piece of nostalgia of past times and raise a smile of faces, especially on those of older generations.
Salenjaci are made from homemade dough which are filled with homemade jam of plums or apricots. Due to their layered structure, salenjaci are also referred to as pastries with a thousand leaves, and this is achieved by the multiple folding of the pastry when it is rolled out. For the pastry the pig lard is cleaned of capillaries, which is achieved by grinding it well. A smooth dough is mixed from flour, a little salt, mineral water and sugar which is rolled out initially into a thin square. The whole surface of the dough is coated with the pig lard, and then two opposite edges of the dough are folded inwards to touch in the middle. This procedure is repeated from the other two edges of the square. The folded dough is the left to rest, and then it rolled out again thinly. The folding procedure is repeated, but in the reverse order, after which the dough is left to rest once more. The same procedure is repeated two more times until the last time when it is rolled out into a slightly thicker pastry, which is cut into small squares. A spoonful of the chosen jam is placed on each square, then each pastry is folded and put on a baking tray. They are then coated with a beaten egg, and placed in a pre-heated oven until they turn golden brown. The warm salenjaci are sprinkled with icing sugar and are sweet and filling, the ideal choice for breakfast or a snack.