Idrijski žlikrofi (Idrija stuffed pasta)
ZTP Idrijski žlikrofi is a traditional Slovenian dish made from dough with a potato filling. It has the characteristic shape of a hat. The ingredients needed to make the dough are flour, eggs, oil, and water or milk as needed. The filling may be made only of potato with added onion, fat (minced lard or minced smoked bacon) and marjoram, chives, black pepper and salt. After cooking, the Idrijski žlikrofi must have the stipulated characteristic shape, aroma, texture and scent.
Typical shape of a žlikrof: dough pressed on both sides with a little hollow in the top, of uniform size and shape, with no irregularities, of suitably firm texture, with no obvious overcooking or softness of the dough, with a surface that is uniformly yellowish in colour, with no visible starch.
Scent: intense and typical scent. No excessively marked scent of herbs, additives or even of rancidity in the filling.
Texture: texture that gives a pleasant sensation in the mouth, characteristic of several rather firm starchy dishes. No signs of stickiness of the dough and filling, which are light and soft. The herbs are finely chopped and the crackling and fried lard must be in very small pieces.
Traditional ingredients for about 150 Idrijski žlikrofi:
Producers who sell frozen žlikrofi to their customers must use less seasoning and a heavier dough in order to preserve the organoleptic characteristics of the žlikrofi throughout their shelf life; so, for the same quantity of filling, they need to use the following ingredients for the dough: 400-500 g white flour, up to four eggs, oil and water or milk, as needed.
Method of Production
The flour, eggs and water or milk are mixed together to make the dough, which should be softer than for noodles. The dough is kneaded until it becomes flexible and elastic and no longer sticks to the hands and board. If it is cut, it should be dense and have no holes. Then it is shaped into a small loaf, which is coated with oil, covered so that it does not dry out and left to rest for at least half an hour.
The filling for žlikrofi is made out of boiled potatoes that are mashed while still warm. The onion fried in fat is added to the warm potato, and then the seasoning and herbs are mixed in. All the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly to make a smooth mixture. The filling must be neither crumbly nor too soft, so extra fat may be added if required. The filling is shaped by hand into evenly sized small balls roughly 1-1,5 cm in diameter.
The dough — prepared earlier and left to rest — is rolled out to a thickness of about 2 mm. The balls of filling are placed at a suitable distance from each other (one finger) on the rolled out dough. The dough is folded over and pressed between the balls of filling so that it sticks together and little ‘ears’ are formed. A little hollow is made in the top of each žlikrof, taking care not to tear the dough. That is how žlikrofi take on their characteristic hat shape. The maximum dimensions of a typical Idrijski žlikrof, when raw, are about 3 cm long and 2 cm high (the height is measured in the middle of the žlikrof, with the žlikrof being slightly higher at the sides).
The žlikrofi are tossed into boiling salted water, stirred and covered. When they rise and come back to the boil, they are cooked. They should be served immediately.
Idrijski žlikrofi are produced from traditional ingredients according to a long-established traditional procedure. The oldest written source (Božič Lado: Naš idrijski kot) dates from 1936. It tells how žlikrofi were served only on special days and that various types of žlikrofi exist: potato, meat, pickled turnip, žlikrofi with ‘bakalca’ (mutton) sauce or larded with cracklings or a special buttery dressing called masovnik.
The second source (Karl Bezek: Fond Doprinos k zgodovini Idrije) is from 1956. The author, Karl Bezek, described traditional dishes and drinks and quotes the following in the book: ‘... the most popular dish, which is known far and wide and which is not made in the same way anywhere else, is the famous žlikrof. Žlikrofi resemble Viennese “Schlickkrapferl”, which are small filled dough parcels, but with a different content’. Mrs Harmel, an innkeeper, told the author that žlikrofi were believed to have been brought to Idrija from Transylvania. An old inhabitant of Idrija claimed that the dish was brought to Idrija by the Wernberger family in about 1814, which is also confirmed by a descendant of this family. ‘Since family tradition and other accounts tally, there is no doubt that the first žlikrofi appeared in Idrija after the return of Ivan to Idrija and subsequently the return of his family. It probably took several years for this dish to become established in Idrija, since other recipes are said to have been tested, along the lines of the Czech and Viennese recipes for similar products.'