Ajvar is a Serbian roasted eggplant-capsicum mixture, sometimes referred to as vegetarian caviar. It can be mashed or left chunky, depending on personal taste, and served as a relish, vegetable or spread on country-style white bread like pogacha as an appetiser. Its smoky flavour is a great match for grilled or roasted meats, especially lamb.
Serbian food is characterised not only of elements from Serbia, but of elements from the former-Yugoslavia as a whole. Peasantry has greatly influenced the cooking process. During the centuries under Ottoman rule, the Balkans were influenced by the rich oriental cuisine and some of the most traditional Serbian dishes have common roots with those of Greece and Turkey. Centuries of Austrian and Austro-Hungarian rule richly influenced Serbian cuisine, especially Serbian desserts.
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Bundevara is a common Serbian sweet pie made with grated pumpkin and filo pastry. A number of Serbian pies are made with filo, called “kore” in Serbian language. A common Serbian pie not made with phyllo is called štrudla. To add to the confusion, it is not similar to strudel, but rather to the nut roll.
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Croatian krafne or pokladnice, Bosnian (krofne), Serbian (krofne) and Slovenian (krof) are filled doughnuts. They are round and usually filled with jelly, marmalade, jam or chocolate. They can also be filled with custard, or cream, but that is usually less common.
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A Serbian pie could, in general, be named in two ways: according to its mode of preparation, or according to its filling (although not every pie is prepared with every filling). For example, a Bundevara is a pie filled with pumpkin and could refer to either a savijača (made of rolled filo) or a štrudla (made of rolled dough). Both sweet and salty pies are made, and some pies could be prepared in the same way with either sweet or salty filling.
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Pljeskavica are Serbian hamburgers popular in one form or another throughout the Balkans. The name for these meat patties comes from pljesak, a word meaning “to clap the hands,” the motion used to form these thin, large burgers. They can be made with any combination of pork, lamb and beef and can be grilled, broiled, baked or pan fried, although grilling is traditional.
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A number of Serbian pies are made with phyllo, called “kore” in Serbian language. A common Serbian pie not made with phyllo is called “štrudla”. To add to the confusion, it is not similar to strudel, but rather to the nut roll. Most commonly you would see two dominant varieties, sometimes made in pairs: Makovnjača (with poppy seeds) and Štrudla s orasima (with walnuts).
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