The big day that comes once a year
The headline describes the most important day for all the citizens of Dubrovnik, dedicated to its patron, Saint Blaise which takes place on Feb 3rd. The festival includes a series of church and secular happenings, concerts, book presentations, exhibitions and theatre performances but the central event of the festival is the procession through the streets of the Old City. On that day the holy relics of the Saint Blaise are carried in the presence of clergy, pilgrims, citizens and guests of the city.
People from the countryside start with preparation many days in advance to be able to join in procession dressed in their national costumes. Connection between people and their loved St. Blaise has lasted for centuries and this year it will be 1049th time.
Every city has its patron but St.Blaise has its City. As many other things it will be different in a new normal mode. Not so many people on the streets, no
greetings, no kisses and hugs but at least we will try to be with the family around the table as it is the tradition for this special day. Like on many other festive days even the menu that is served for lunch or dinner is special.
In the past times in rich houses it was usual to prepare young pork on a spit drizzled with bitter oranges. They also served marzipan or „padišpanj“ (pan di spagna, sponge cake) and little corn buns stuffed with raisins. Ancient cookbooks mention „Pastić s makarulima“ (pastry with macaroni pasta and meat sauce), beef soup with „zanzarele“ (homemade thin batter with eggs). Welcome drinkbefore the meal was rozolin (rose liqueur) with dried figs. During the time customs in the cuisine had changed but some dishes are still cooked in our homes. Our mother still makes traditionally „šporki makaruli„ (dirty macaroni pasta). Some other families cook „zelena menestra“ (green cabbage stew with smoked dried meat). At the end of dinner we enjoy black turkish coffee with cakes as almond and orange cake, date cake or clotted cheese cake.
„Pastić „( Pastry with macaroni)
Make a meat sauce with beef, chicken, veal, little liver and pancetta. Cut the meat and pour a splash of white wine in the sauce. In the meantime cook 0,5 kilo macaroni pasta in salted water to be al dente. Drain it and pour it with 2 cups of milk, let them sit for half an hour.
1 whole egg, 3 egg yolks, 350g flour, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, 150g butter or lard
Knead all ingredients into dough. With half of it cover the bottom and sides of the greased pan. Add drained macaroni, layer of meat and dried salted cheese ( parmigiano). Lay the rest of the dough on top and fold it from the sides to close it well. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for half an hour until it turns to golden color. Turn it upside down on a plate and serve it warm.
Dubrovnik almond and orange cake
Needed: 9 eggs (separate yolks from the whites), 200g of sugar, 350g of almonds, 80g of breadcrumbs, 1dl (about half of cup) of orange juice, 30g of orange zests, a tablespoon of rum (or
orange or other liquor)
For the cream: 4 eggs, 100g of sugar, 2,5dl ( about 1 cup) of orange juice, 2dl ( about 1 cup) of cream
Whisk egg yolks with 150g of sugar until foamy. Whisk egg whites with remaining sugar until the snow forms. Then gradually mix egg yolks and egg whites. Mix and add ground almonds, orange zest,liquor, and breadcrumbs previously soaked in orange juice. Grease the mold and dust with breadcrumbs. Pour the mixture in it, and bake at 160 Celsius (310 F) for 35 minutes.
To make cream, add sugar to the juice of one orange, orange zest and eggs. Mix everything over steam until it gets thick. When the mixture is done and completely cooled, add whipped cream. Cut the baked layer in half, spread half of the orange cream, and top with another layer. Spread the rest of the cream or orange icing around the whole cake.
All recipes for the St. Blaise Day can be found in the cookbook Dubrovački komini by Jadranka Ničetić.