Today I am making a no-bake cake: bajadera, one of the most popular sweets of Croatia. An institution!
I will never pretend to say that my bajadera are the same as the original but just a pretty good substitute that you will surely love too!
Indeed, bajadera is the Croatian product most associated with the Kraš confectionery, located in Zagreb.
In Croatia, when you say bajadera, you are usually talking about the commercial bajadera made by Kraš.
Originally produced by Kraš, bajadera has been approved to carry the label “original Croatian” (Izvorno hrvatsko in Croatian), issued by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Economy.
Bajadera is the supreme confectionery of Kraš, with a unique composition made of high quality ingredients whose origin is strictly controlled and protected.
It is praline nougat, enriched with almonds, hazelnuts, and/or walnuts. And if you really want to be as good as Kraš, you should select hazelnuts of variety corylus avellana and juglans walnuts that give bajadera a specific and recognizable taste.
On its website, Kraš describes them as follows:
“THE MAGIC OF A SUPREME PLEASURE.
Bajadera is one of Kraš’s best known brands on the Croatian market. This exquisite chocolate combines a Central European confectioner’s art with the oriental extravagance of flavours. Bajadera is the queen of chocolates, fine nougat blended with almonds which gives a unique, recognizable flavour. Bajadera is the first Croatian confectionery product to be granted the ‘Croatian Creation’ label.”
And for those who speak Croatian:
ČAROLIJA VRHUNSKOG UŽITKA
Bajadera je jedan od najpoznatijih Kraševih brandova na hrvatskom tržištu. Ovaj vrhunski desert u sebi sjedinjuje srednjoeuropsko umijeće u pripravi slastica i orijentalnu raskoš okusa. Bajadera je kraljica među desertima, fini nugat obogaćen je bademom što joj daje jedinstven, prepoznatljiv okus. Bajadera je prvi hrvatski konditorski proizvod kojem je dodijeljena oznaka ‘Izvorno hrvatsko’.
What I find very surprising is that there is absolutely no mention of one of the main ingredients of this recipe, the food of the Gods: chocolate! Ok, there is no need to sell it, as everyone loves chocolate but still.
Chocolate is good for your health, and everyone knows it’s good for the heart, the mind and above all for the mood. But it is also true that chocolate creates a kind of dependence. In short, it ends up becoming a drug, without exaggerating of course!
Chocolate contains not only stimulants, but also and especially tryptophan and melatonin which are precursors of serotonin, the mood hormone. It is therefore precisely this effect on the mood that creates an addiction, not to mention its taste.
It seems that when we eat chocolate, our body produces anandamide, which is define as “the molecule of ecstasy”, a cannabinoid substance that is similar to the active ingredient of marijuana!
But then must we resist temptation?
If you’d like to resist, you should first closed your nose as we also eat chocolate with the smell, and the aroma of cocoa is composed of 600 volatile substances.
As its taste also encourages good mood, no wonder that today many beauty salons use chocolate for massages and anti-aging treatments.
But no, chocolate does not make you fat! Studies have even shown that it can help lose weight! Indeed, it would seem that adding daily 1-½ oz of 81% cocoa dark chocolate to a classic diet would help increase the weight loss by 10%!
And for those who still doubt it, eat it anyway! As all good things must have an end, I would say: est modus in rebus!
The answer is NO! Never try to resist the temptation of this drug and even less to that of bajadera whose combination of chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts is just … orgasmic!
“Orgasmic” is the term used by my friend Muriel who served my bajadera for dessert at a party dinner with friends.
- ½ lb plain tea biscuits , crushed
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1½ cup ground almond
- 1½ cup ground hazelnut
- 1 cup unsalted butter , diced
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
In the meantime, bring water and milk to a boil in a separate large saucepan, then pour in the sugar and mix. Wait until the sugar is completely dissolved and add the crushed tea biscuits, ground almond, ground hazelnut, and butter. Mix well to obtain a homogeneous dough.
Remove from heat, add the rum to the dough and mix.
Separate the dough into 2 equal parts. In one of them, add the melted chocolate, and mix well.
Place a square baking frame (about 7 x 7 in) on a plate or use a square baking pan.
When the dough is lukewarm, place half of the chocolate mixture at the bottom of the frame. Pack well to remove any air bubbles and to get a dense and even layer.
Repeat the process with the plain dough, then the remaining half of chocolate mixture, making sure to smooth the surface between each step and at the end.
Prepare the frosting by heating the milk, sugar and butter over low heat. When everything is melted, add the chocolate and mix until you get an even glaze.
Pour icing and spread evenly. Gently tap the plate several times on the work surface to even out the surface and chase any air bubbles.
Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
Using a large knife with a sharp blade, cut 1 x 3 inch servings.