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.
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…
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…
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
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.
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.