Bučnica – thin dough strudel with squash and fresh cheese

Summer marks the beginning of the squash (pumpkin) hunting season, when delicious squashes are practically calling out for us to make bučnica, an old, classic dish from Zagreb and the broader Zagreb region at least once a year.

Home-made dough, fresh cheese and grated squash will bring many back to the days of their childhood and will elicit a satisfied sigh out of all those who are given the chance to try one of the most delicious dishes found in these parts. When you try this meal, you will start worrying whether there will be enough squashes to last until next year. Those who are smart will grate the squash and keep it in a secret place in a chest, and few will be willing to share it with others out of season. That's bučnica for you!

 

Ingredients for 6-8 people:

For the dough:

500 g white smooth flour

1 pinch of salt

30 g pure lard

1 egg

200 ml lukewarm water

 

For stuffing:

 1 kg summer squash (bigger ones)

400 g of fresh cheese

100 g sour cream

2 eggs

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

80 g butter

 

Also:

Vegetable oil

 

Preparation:

Cut off the ends of the squash, peel it, cut it width wise and hollow out the soft parts. Grate the cleaned squash into a suitable bowl, salt, stir and leave to rest. In a separate bowl, sift flour, add salt, an egg, pour in water, add fat and knead the ingredients well. Move the mixture to a worktop, mix the dough, shape in into a ball and coat with a little vegetable olive oil. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime, firmly drain the salted and grated squash with your hands. Move to a clean bowl. Then add fresh cheese, a pinch of salt and sugar, sour cream, and two eggs and mix everything together well. Move the rested dough to a floured tablecloth, flour it a little and roll thinly. Then, stretch it by hand until it is very thin. Cut off the uneven edges, coat the dough with vegetable oil and top the longer edges with the mixture of squash, cheese and cream. Roll the edges using the tablecloth towards the middle until they meet. Use a plate to cut the strudel to the desired length, move them to a buttered heat resistant dish, cover with pieces of soft butter and bake for about 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 195°C. Leave the baked bučnica for a while then cut into pieces, and serve hot or cold.

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