Saturday, August 25, 2007

SHF: Going local - Bobici

I know it is not that time of the year yet, but when I read about this month SHF hosted by The Passionate cook with the theme “Going local!”, Bobici just jumped in my mind and I desperately wanted to participate!

Well, traditional Dalmatian sweets in general are very tasteful. The main ingredient are local fruit: figs, raisins, almonds, walnuts… honey is often used instead of the sugar…

If you ever visit Dalmatic coast, island or inland you just have to try some of these: Mandulat, Rafioli, Smokvenjak (Hib), Rožata (in Split it is called Rožada), Fritule, Kroštule… and many, many others delicious sweets, cookies, cakes…

But today, I’ll write about Bobici, since their background is so fascinating!

Bobici, meaning “little broad beans” (“broad beans” = “bob” in Croatian), are small cakes that got its name form the old believe that the beans represent some sort of media for the direct communication between the world of dead and the world of living. Because of their ability to bring alive the souls of the dead the beans were present in the funeral ceremony in old Greece, Egypt and Rome, but also in other parts of the world. So baking and sharing the cookies in shape of beans - Bobici represents the symbolic reunion of departed and alive.

In Catholic world the Bobici were traditionally served on Day of Dead (or All Souls day) that is always on November 2. It is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away. In Italy there are similar cookies called "Fave dei morti" meaning "Beans of the Dead".

Today in Split Bobici are very popular in everyday life and they are considered Split’s gastronomical souvenir. They are even industrially produced and are the most popular product of Bobis, the oldest pastry industry in Croatia, based in Split.

So if you ever come to Split find Bobis shop and ask for Bobići (Bobichi). You can find them in many others souvenir or delicates shops were you can fined home made Bobici that are for sure more tasteful than those form Bobis which are industrially produced. Or even better, buy local ingredients and bake them yourself!


250 g Unbleached and unpeeled almonds
250 g Sugar
1 egg
1 spoon of Maraschino
grated nutmeg
½ lemon zest
1 spoon of biscuit or Savoiardi crumbs
1 spoon of grated dark chocolate

Lightly toast the almonds and let them cool. Half of the almonds grind until they get flour like consistency (if you are doing this in a food processor be careful not to overgrind since almond are quite oily and they can easily get creamy. We do not want that!). Other half chop finely using knife (so that crumbs are size of couscous). Mix both halves back together.

Mix sugar with egg yolk. Grate some lemons zest. Add almonds, maraschino or some other domestic brandy, nutmeg, and beaten egg white (the “snow” from whites should form firm foam. Test it by turning the bowl upside down. Whites should stay in bowl.).

Mix it till you get firm dough and divide it in two halves. For white Bobici add same biscuit crumbs or grated Savoiardi. To the other half add grated dark chocolate.

Damp your hands and roll the dough between them to get long rolls about 1,5 cm thick. Cut them in 2 cm long pieces and then shape them into small balls. Lightly press each ball with finger to make a shallow pit.

Grease the baking dish or paper preferably with natural bee wax but butter or oil will do just fine. Place carefully the balls on it. Dry them in the oven on 50°C for about 3 hours.

This is basic recipe based on recipe form “Dalmatinska kuharica” by Dika Marjanović-Radica. There are lots of variants depending of the place you visit.


thepassionatecook said...

these sound great! thanks for yur insight into day-of-the-dead rituals, i know many of them from my time in mexico, but never thought there were similar traditions in europe! i'll have a bag of those beans any day of the year... thanks for contributing!

linda said...

I love Bobici (and Rožata too)! I buy them regularly when I am in Split. Nice to know the background of the cookies. Had them on my to-do list...

Are you from Split? My father is...

Adriatic said...

Hi, PassionateCook, I'm glad you like it. Unfortunately these traditions are getting lost, and, I believe that most of people in Split are not aware of this story and are taking the cookies "for granted". Thank you for such a great theme!

Hi, Linda, yes I'm from Split, but I live between Split and Zagreb! I adore Rožada (that how is called in Split)! I'll put recipe for it soon!

Jeanne said...

What a great story, and wonderful that you are digitising these stories so that they will not be lost. The cookies look great too :)

fresh adriatic fish said...

@ Jeanne :)

maninas: food matters said...

Excellent story! I've had bobici before as I have loads of friends in Split, but I had no idea about the story behind them! Fascinating! I love bits and pieces like that.

The bobici I had were from Bobis, and therefore industrially made. Hey, now i know how to make them! Thanks! The recipe sounds delicious.

Rachel said...

We were just in Croatia in June- what a lovely country and so wonderful to have you participating so we can learn all the foods we should have eaten! We can make them here at home.


FreshAdriaticFish said...

@maninas - u slast!
@Rachel - what a great honeymoon! There will be more recipes, just drop by again!

maninas: food matters said...

sutra idem u split! mozes li mi predlozit koju dobru konobu/restoran? cula sam da je fife dobar. fala!

FreshAdriaticFish said...

@Maninas -U Fifi nisam bila već neko vrime jer se navodno pokvarija odkad su ga otkrili turisti. Ja nisam bila dosta dugo jer su uvik guzve pa ti ne bi mogla potvrdit koliko je to zaista istina.
Moje prepuruke bi bile: "Spalatin" na Prokurativama i Konoba "Varoš" u Ban Mladenovoj (2 min od Sv. Frane na Rivi).
I jedan i drugi imaju dobru spizu (Konoba Varoš je malo tradicionalnija, dok je Splatin više pizzerija) i odličan ambijent.
Nisam bila osobno, ali sam čula jako dobre preporuke za "Noštromo" na ribarnici.
Eto, nadam se da sam ti pomogla! Želim ti ugodan dan u Splitu, ja san vec partila za Zagreb!

maninas: food matters said...

super! fala puno!

a u zagrebu? idem i u zg :)

Krystyna said...

I found this particular link when I searched for Dika Marjanovic's book "Dalmatinska Kuhinja". I'm actually looking to buy this book for my father - whose grandmother Dika actually lived with when she was younger. He remembers the recipes and I would love to get this book for him. Is there any where you know I could buy it from?
Let me know, thanks so much!
- Krystyna

FreshAdriaticFish said...

Hi, Krystyna. That book is the best cookbook about Dalmatian cuisine!
I tried to find if there is possibility to by it on-line but I didn't have any success.

The book had more than 12 edition but it is constantly sold out. It is one of those books that you inherit from your grandma.
You do know that there is no english translation?

I'll try to find contact of the publisher and maybe it will be best to contact them directly.
Sand me your e-mail.

Krystyna said...

I do know there is no english translation, but my father is fluent in Croatian, so I don't think it would be a big problem. Thanks for the help! It was a bit difficult for me to understand all the Croatian websites...

Krystyna said...

Oops, and my email is julia dot thorne13 at gmail dot com (without the spaces and . for "dot", you know what I mean).

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