Serbian doughnuts, also known as krofne, are eaten year-round but especially before the Great Lent begins.
For Orthodox Serbians, Shrove Tuesday doesn't exist. Meatfare Sunday begins one week before Ash Wednesday and is the last day meat and meat byproducts can be consumed.
If there is such a thing as a swansong to rich foods, it would be Cheesefare Sunday (the last day dairy products can be eaten), which takes place three days before Ash Wednesday, when palacinke, krofne and other fried and rich foods are eaten.
So Lent begins on Clean Monday, two days before Roman Catholics and other Christians begin Lent. After this Cheesefare swansong, most Orthodox Christians eat no meat, meat byproducts, poultry, dairy or eggs for the entire Lenten period. Here is a list of foods OK to eat for Serbian Lent and a list of Serbian Lenten recipes.
- 1 cup scalded milk
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup 110-degree water
- 3 large slightly beaten room-temperature eggs
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- Oil for frying
- Granulated or confectioners' sugar
- Scald 1 cup milk and add 4 ounces butter, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons salt, stirring to dissolve the butter. Cool to 110 degrees. Meanwhile, dissolve 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast in 1 cup 110-degree water.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, place milk mixture, yeast mixture and 3 large slightly beaten room-temperature eggs, mixing until smooth. Add 6 cups all-purpose flour gradually, mixing until smooth. The dough might be sticky. If so, use slightly dampened hands to transfer it to a greased bowl (don't add more flour). Cover and let rise until doubled. For extra-light krofne, some cooks punch down the dough and let it rise a second time until doubled.
- Punch down dough and roll 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut with a 3-inch round cutter or glass and let rise, covered, about 1/2 hour.
- Heat oil to 375 degrees in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Use a deep-frying thermometer to make sure the temperature is accurate.
- Fry krofne in hot oil until lightly brown on both sides, turning only once. Drain on absorbent paper. While still hot roll in granulated sugar or dust with confectioners' sugar.
NOTE: Always use caution when working with hot oil, especially around children. Have a fire extinguisher designed for grease fires at the ready.