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Strawberry Slatko with anise and cinnamon

Slatko (Serbian for “sweet”) is a preserve made of different types of fruit, mostly characteristic of Serbian, but also Bulgarian, Greek and Jewish cuisines. The fruits are kept whole in thick and sweet syrup. When I say sweet I mean reeeeally sweet….killer sweet. It was a tradition to welcome guests with a spoonful of slatko and a glass of water, though nowadays it is more commonly seen on muesli or ice-cream. Almost any kind of fruit can be used, for example strawberries, blueberries, plums and cherries, but also rose petals.

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 Strawberry and cherry season is almost out, so now is the time to seize the opportunity. My son counts the jars and says “Only this many?”… And I love Slatko, I love it when a fruit remains a fruit, when I can see it, grab it with a teaspoon and put the whole of it in my mouth… Mmmmm… Last year was the first time I made red currant and fig slatko (now that jar is more valuable than gold because MY fig tree doesn’t exist anymore), and now I decided to preserve some strawberries too…

How you use them later on is completely up to you, and the ideas are countless… I dripped my perfect Slatko onto pancakes here, but I plan for the syrup to end up in ice-cream and who knows what else…

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The basic rule is that you have to have an equal amount of strawberries and sugar… uh… I feel bad when I have to pour all that sugar into the saucepot 😉 but when I remember that not all of it will be eaten in a day, I feel better… I also added some cinnamon, vanilla, star anise… It doesn’t get better than this…

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To make your own you will need:

1 kg fresh strawberries

1 kg sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 bags of vanilla sugar or a little vanilla extract or one vanilla stick…

2 star anises

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Preparation:

In the evening I cleaned and rinsed the strawberries, drained them well and put them in a saucepan together with the sugar and the spices. I covered them and kept them over night in the fridge. The next day I boiled them on moderate heat for about 40 minutes to 1 hour without stirring, though I did remove the foam that was created in the process and I also occasionally shook the saucepan… When I thought it was done, I took a bit of syrup and put it on a saucer to see how dense it was and if it was done. If it is syrupy when it cools, it means it’s done.

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When it was done, I put a wet cloth over the saucepan and covered it, and when Slatko cooled completely, I poured it into sterile jars and placed them in a dry, cool and dark spot.

As I said, you can use Slatko on it’s own, or as addition to deserts you normally make and you want to add a twist to it, like Petra did in this No bake cheescake for example. Possibilities are countless and I am sure you will love every last one of them.

The recipe was originally published in Serbian on Ja u kuhinji.

 

 

 

About the author

Olivera Senić

Olivera Senić is a food blogger from Belgrade where she lives with her wonderful husband and their two children. She has been sharing her recipes on her blog Ja u kuhinji (Me in the kitchen) since 2008. She also publishes her recipes in the Serbian online food magazine Mezze.

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