Serbians love rich tortes, nut rolls, strudels and desserts of all kinds, and after periods of strict abstinence from eggs, dairy, butter and meat for the Great Lent and Advent, when Easter, Christmas and slavas roll around, Serbs pull out all the stops with a sweets table groaning with delights. Serbians and Croatians share some of the same desserts, so I've included those here.
This recipe for Serbian chocolate torte or torta cokolada is a moist, rich cake frequently served for Christmas, Easter, slavas and other special occasions. The finely ground nuts give the cake layers extra moisture.
This recipe for Serbian reform torte or reforma torta is a rich, many-layered walnut sponge cake with creamy chocolate filling. Some believe it came into being with the post-WWII Communist reforms when eggs, butter, finer flour, chocolate and nuts were more available and could be "squandered" on a rich dessert.
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This recipe for Bosnian poached apples or tufahije (tufahija is singular) is from chef Julia Jaksic, a New York City chef of Croatian-American descent. The dessert is popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other parts of the Balkans.
Serbian dougnuts or krofne are eaten year-round but especially before the Great Lent begins. Orthodox Christians observe Cheesefare Sunday (the last day dairy products can be eaten) two days prior to Shrove Tuesday, so krofne, palacinke and other fried and rich foods would be eaten then.
This recipe for tulumbe is a very sweet and popular dessert in the Balkans. The batter is similar to a French pate a choux dough, and the appearance is similar to an unfilled, unglazed eclair. Tulumbe are traditionally fried and then soaked in simple syrup overnight. I prefer to bake mine as I've done here.