Seattle Center's CroatiaFest
Crackly, deep-fried hrustule cookies are a Croatian favorite, popular at Christmas and other happy occasions. The cookies are simple strips or twists of thin dough, which, depending on the family, may be flavored with combinations of vanilla, rum, whiskey, anise, orange, or lemon.
But although hrustule are simple to make, they are time-consuming and labor intensive. For Seattle Center's CroatiaFest, members of the Martinis family demonstrated skills honed over many years of working together to make huge batches of holiday hrustule.
First the cousins demonstrated blending the dough in a standing mixer, adding flour a little at a time until just the right texture is achieved, then rolling it so thin that the pattern of the tablecloth underneath shows through. They used a serrated pastry wheel to cut the dough into strips, and before dropping the strips in hot oil, gave each strip a gentle stretch to make a little thinner--and so a little crisper. Out of the fryer, the cookies are drained on paper tools, then sprinkled with powdered sugar once cool.
Other booths sold fresh palacinke (Croatian crepes), and slices of povitica, a sweet bread swirled with nuts, cinnamon, and chocolate.