Another recipe from Vierka’s rural kitchen is for traditional savoury cakes called Škvarkové pagáče, which would loosely translate as ‘Pork Cracklings Cakes’.
The vital ingredient for Škvarkové pagáče is škvarky (pronounced as shkvarki in English). They are similar to pork cracklings except that shkvarki are made by melting and roasting fatty bacon WITHOUT its rind on. It does change the taste and texture of the final product, so depending on the cut and quality of the bacon, our shkvarki might look like this:
We have different kinds of pagáče (pronounced as pagatche), but what they all have in common is folded yeast-leavened dough. Follow the instructions below if you want to give it a try.
Savoury Pagatche Cakes
- 500 g flour
- 120 g butter
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 200 ml cooking cream (12% fat content in Slovakia) or milk
- 21 g fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 250 g ground shkvarki (pork cracklings)
- 2 tablespoons pork lard
- 1 egg to glaze, beaten
- caraway or sesame seeds to sprinkle
- Take the butter out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to dough making and let it soften.
- In a heatproof mug, warm the cooking cream or milk over a low heat until lukewarm. Break the yeast into it, add the sugar, a pinch of flour and stir well. Cover and let stand in a warm place. Depending on the room temperature, the yeast will take 2 – 7 minutes to rise.
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the soft butter, egg, vinegar and salt, but be careful to spread it well into the flour, as the salt would kill the yeast if in direct contact.
- Transfer the fermented yeast onto the flour and knead by hand to combine all the ingredients well. You may need to add some milk to achieve a smooth, medium-thick consistency. Cover with a dish-towel and let stand in a cool place for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grind the shkvarki in a food processor and add the pork lard. Mix well and season to taste with salt.
- When the dough has risen, transfer it to a floured rolling board and roll out into a square about ½ cm thick. Spread one third of the shkvarki mixture on the dough. Fold the upper third of the dough in and cover with the lower third. Then fold in the dough sideways. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, roll it into a square again and spread the second third of the shkvarki on top. Fold in thirds lengthways and then sideways again, as in step 6. Cover and let stand for another 15 minutes.
- After the second resting, roll out the dough into square again and spread the remaining third of the shkvarki mixture on it. Repeat the folding lengthways and then sideways to get flavoursome, shkvarki enriched slab of dough. Roll it out one last time until it is 1½ cm thick. Cut out round cakes and arrange in rows on a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking parchment.
- Glaze the cakes with the beaten egg and sprinkle with caraway or sesame seeds. Put in the oven and bake at 180°C for 15 minutes, or until the cakes turn golden brown. Take out of the oven and let cool for a while.
The recipe yielded two baking trays of scrumptuous Pagatche cakes. They are best served warm, but we also like to pair them with chilled wine.