Zagorski Strukli, a traditional Croatian comfort food, pillowy cheese dumplings baked with cream.
(Adapted from The Best of Croatian Cooking by Liliana Pavicic and Gordana Pinker-Mosher.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ½ pounds farmer’s cheese, ricotta, or dry-curd cottage cheese (or mixture)
1 ½ cup butter, melted
4 cups heavy cream
In a large mixing bowl make a dough from the flour, 1 egg, oil, and salt. Add water a bit at a time, until dough comes together. Or use the well method by mounding flour onto a clean surface. Using your hands, make a well-like indentation in the center of the flour. Add egg, oil, salt and a small amount of water to the well. Starting in the center, draw some flour into the well and mix in. Keep drawing flour into the well a bit at a time, adding more water as needed, until dough forms a ball.
Knead the dough until bubbles start to form and the dough becomes smooth. Shape into a ball and coat the surface with cooking spray or a thin film of vegetable oil to prevent it from drying out. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand about 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make the filling. In a large bowl, mix the cheese with the remaining 4 eggs. Add ½ cup of the melted butter. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
Sprinkle a large work surface such as a kitchen table with flour. Roll out the dough to paper-thin thickness. Then spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough. Drizzle with ½ cup melted butter. Roll up jellyroll fashion. Cut the roll into 20 pieces (the cutting is traditionally done with the rim of a plate).
Boil the strukli in salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain and arrange in a greased ovenproof dish.
Preheat oven to 400°f. Pour the remaining ½ cup butter over the štrukli and top with cream. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden.
Serves 8 to 10