This is another recipe passed from my Mum, except that she always does a sweet version of ‘dolki’. I wanted to go beyond the traditional Slovak way of serving them and have explored savoury variations on this popular dessert. Please, have a look and tell me what you think.
When I was first introduced to English crumpets a few years ago, I said: ‘Wait, I know these. We make them in Slovakia too.’ But unlike our ‘dolki’, my English friends served their crumpets with butter, sugar and lemon juice. I ate these little pancakes on a few more occasions and under different names, but none of them tasted the same as the soft, fluffy ‘dolki’ I knew from my Mum. Perhaps it’s because we make them – well, you guessed it – from yeast-based dough that is given plenty of time to rise and then fully develop during the cooking.
As I normally cook by eye, I had to begin by measuring all the ingredients to provide you, my dear reader, with an accurate and reliable recipe.
Dolki or Slovak Crumpets
Makes about 30
500 ml milk
350 g plain wheat flour (I mixed plain wheat with wholemeal in 2:1 ratio)
20 g fresh yeast
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt
oil for frying
Follow the instructions here to make a loose dough that will look like this:
To make ‘dolki’, you will also need a special pan like the one in the pictures below. The ‘dolki’ pans are very easy to get in Slovakia, so come to visit and buy one, if you can’t find it in your country ;). Or look for pancake/blini pans on the Internet, where they can be purchased in various shapes and sizes.
Once you have your dough and pan ready, let’s start cooking ‘dolki’, English crumpets or Russian blini, to give but a few names they can be found under in other cuisines. To fry them evenly from both sides, make sure your cooker plate provides a steady heat that spreads all around the pan. For my old gas cooker, I need a removable metal plate that can be fitted easily on whatever gas ring I want to use (see picture on the right).
Pour half the teaspoon of oil in each pan ring and heat it over a medium heat. With a small ladle or a large spoon, pour as much dough in each ring as to almost fill it up. Fry over a medium low heat* until the dough starts setting around the edges, but it’s still soft and bubbly in the middle. Gently turn the ‘dolki’ on the other side and continue cooking until they are golden brown. You can check this by slightly lifting them up with a wooden spatula and fork.
*Remember that each cooker is different and it will probably take some testing to set the right heat. Your ‘dolki’ are supposed to fry slowly so that they not only come out golden, but also cooked through. It’s always better to start with a low heat and increase it little by little.
Take the cooked ‘dolki’ out with a wooden spatula, or simply tilt the pan and slide them into a bowl. Cover to keep warm. Repeat the above procedure and cook ‘dolki’ in batches until you have used all the dough.
When you’re done, it’s up to you to decide how you want to serve your little fluffy pancakes. In my country, we typically make them sweet, so my first idea was to use my home-made jam. I spread the thicker apricot one in between two ‘dolki’ and spooned natural yoghurt on top of the cake. Then I dusted it with ground cinnamon and let the runny plum jam cascade down the cake. The oranges and almonds I had at home also came in handy and made my ‘dolki’ more luscious.
I thought a cheesy option might work as well, so I put a ‘dolka’ in a regular frying pan and covered it with a slice of cheese. With only a few drops of oil added, I fried everything slowly over a low heat until the cheese started melting at the edges. Then I placed another ‘dolka’ on top and covered it with another cheese slice. When this one was melted enough and started turning golden, I transferred the cheesy ‘dolki’ on a serving plate.
The male part of my family would’ve not been satisfied if there wasn’t some meat involved. Fortunately, we had a tin of cured pork in the cupboard and an aubergine in the fridge. So I cut the vegetable and braised it in a little oil with some herbs and seasoning. I chopped and heated the meat, then I spooned it in between two ‘dolki’ and topped everything with the soft, gooey aubergine. And that was it! My family were happy on all fronts and so was I, only I had to take a break in between each ‘dolki’ course.