Madarice are funny little things. The name (pronounced mah-j-ah-ri-tze) literally means “Hungarians”. I’m not really sure of the significance of the name, but what I do know is that these little babies are prized on a dessert table.
At every Croatian celebration, dessert is a big deal. From Weddings to Christenings to birthdays, the meal is always finished with an assortment of little cakes, usually made by old Croatian women using traditional recipes.
As with a lot of things in life, there are many choices available to you when it comes to which little treat you are going to spend your calories on and I reckon if I’m going to pick just one to eat, this would be it.
You’ll need to set aside a bit of time to make these as you’ll need to bake 6 thin layers of pastry. Luckily each layer only takes about 5 minutes to cook. Whilst it’s a bit fiddly, it’s not difficult and pretty forgiving. A few of my layers cracked when I picked them up but it was not discernible in the finished product at all.
The filling is what it’s all about. Rich, nutty, chocolatey and buttery – what could be bad about that?
The madarice are best if made in advance and allowed to rest for a day or so. The layers become more moist, soft and unctuous.
500g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g icing sugar
150g butter, softened
150g sour cream
2 tablespoons rum (or whichever alcohol you desire)
600ml thickened cream
150ml baileys or kaluah
150g caster sugar
150g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate
250g dark chocolate
2 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the butter and icing sugar together on high speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined, then add the flour, baking powder, sour cream and alcohol, lower the speed to the lowest setting and mix until you have a sticky dough.
Divide the dough into six equal portions. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Take out a large baking sheet and have it ready.
Take two pieces of baking paper the size of the baking sheet. On top of one place 1/6th of the dough mixture. Shape it into a rough rectangle.
Put the other piece of baking paper on top and using a rolling pin, roll it into a thin rectangle (approx 3-4mm thick). Peel the top layer of baking paper off and place the bottom paper with the pastry on the baking sheet.
Pop into the oven to bake for 4 -5 minutes. It will be just slightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on a flat surface. Repeat this process until you have made 6 layers. Be careful when handling the layers, especially when cooled as they are quite brittle.
To make the filling, start by grinding your walnuts into a fine powder in the food processor. Add the caster sugar to your nuts and pulse again until combined and very fine. Then add the chocolate and flour and pulse once more until combined.
Place a small pot on the stove and bring the cream and butter to just before boiling point. Switch it off. Add the chocolate/nut mixture to the pot along with the baileys/kaluah. Switch the heat back on low and stir with a rubber spatula for 5 minutes until thick and creamy and the flour has thickened and cooked out of the sauce. Leave to cool for several hours in the fridge.
When the filling is cold you can assemble everything. Start with a layer of baking paper on the bottom. Place the first layer of pastry crust on the baking paper then top with 1/5th of the chocolate filling. Repeat until you finish with the final layer of pastry on the top.
Make a chocolate glaze by warming the chocolate and oil on a low heat until melted and shiny. Pour over the layers. Pop the lot in the fridge to firm up for about 1 hour.
You can now trim the rough edges off. Slice into finger sized slices and serve.