Baking on the Edge: Kifle

ImageStudying culinary all I heard was baking is a science, it needs to be precise, and we weighed everything in Culinary Desserts I, the digital scale was our best friend. Then we went across the hall to Culinary Arts I, and the teacher came around and took our treasured digital scales and every measuring utensil we owned. “You won’t be needing these in here,” she told us, “cooking is not a science, you taste as you go along, and adjust whenever you think is right. Trust your instincts, build your pallet.”

While all this is very well in culinary school, in the real world it is not so.  There are many times when I receive recipes for baked goods from family members and low and behold I see: A dash of salt, a handful of flour, and a sprinkle of sugar.

These approximate measurements scare the crap out of me, and I usually avoid making any of these types of recipes… that is until recently.

One day my best friend, Zlatko, made these cute Croatian cookies named kifle. They looked amazing, so naturally I asked him for the recipe.  He emailed it along and I cringed at the approximate measurements. I let the recipe sit in my inbox for months, until I visited him in Japan. Once I got there, I thought, why can’t I follow my instincts about baking? Why can’t I adjust the batter as I go along? With the help of Zlatko we made the recipe sans measuring spoons, cups and scales.

Kifle

Ingredients:
Approximately 5 cups of flour
2 spoonfuls of brown or white sugar
4 spoonfuls of baking powder
Dash of salt
1 can of beer

2 spoonfuls of butter
4 spoonfuls of brown or white sugar
Dash of olive oil

Have extra flour on hand for kneading and rolling

Get creative with fillings, you can use jam, chocolate, peanut butter or whatever you like

Method:
1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, stir with a spoon
2. Add can of beer and mix until it’s fully incorporated
3. Melt butter, take off heat and mix in sugar until it is dissolved
4. Make well in flour mixture and add olive oil and butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
5. Knead the dough, adding flour until it is no longer sticky.
6. Take a piece of the dough and roll out. Cut into shape of triangle.
7. Brush a bit of water to the sides and place a dollop of jam (or any other filling) to the base of the triangle.
8. Roll towards the tip of the triangle, sealing the sides along the way
9. Repeat until there is no more dough and place the kifle on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven of 480 F for about 15-20 minutes.

Results:
It was very daunting for me, considering I’ve never in my life baked like this. I was thankful to have a friend with me so he could show me the ways of baking on the edge.  (I took a tonne of pictures so if you’re stuck, check out the FaceBook page). To my surprise the world didn’t end. We didn’t follow the exact measurements of the recipe, and everything turned out okay in the end. I highly recommend you give it a try, just remember to trust your instincts.

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