Ballokume-Albanian traditional cookie

Ballokume-Albanian traditional cookie

When it comes to desserts, I think the best choice are the traditional ones and one of my favourites are undoubtedly Ballokume of Elbasan.

In this city there is a tradition, they celebrate “Summer day“ on March 14. After some years,  to preserve this tradition this date became a national holiday. I have tried ballokume these last years, when the “Summer Day” began to be celebrated in Tirana as well and it was love at the first taste undoubtedly.

Since they are a tradition of the Elbasan area, of course the recipe is taken from the source, by a friend of mine and on this occasion I want to thank her publicly (yes A … .., I’m talking to you)

The beauty of traditional cooking is that each recipe has a ritual to be followed. For example, if I had to write it down according to the tradition, as it had been done from our grandmothers, the butter and sugar should be mixed by hand with a wooden spoon, not in a mixer and foremost in copper containers.

Yes, made of copper, which being a perfect conductor of heat, during the mixing process helped melting the sugar . This method would not over rise ballokume during baking and the most important thing it would not require extra flour; therefore, ballokume would bake perfectly without the need for the first test bake.

Serves 15 ballokume

Cooking time: 1 hour and 40 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg caster sugar
  • ½ kg melted butter
  • 1 kg super fine yellow cornmeal + 200gr extra if needed
  • 7 eggs + 1 shell of water (we’ll be using to fill twice half egg shell as a measuring cup)
  1. Add butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and start mixing until the mixture becomes creamy, fluffy and the sugar is almost dissolved(as pictured)  Ballokume 1Ballokume 2
  2. Start adding the eggs one at a time making sure that the first is fully incorporated. After the forth egg make sure to add the water ( remember that the egg shell is the measuring cup here), mix well and continue with the remaining eggs.
  3. Add the cornmeal and mix until well blended. If you see that the mixer has started to overload, continue mixing with a wooden spoon by hand or a spatula ( I used the spatula). The dough should reach the consistency as shown in the picture. If it is still runny start adding the extra flour; the extra 200gr that I have listed above). In the mean time preheat the oven to 180 °CBallokume 3
  4. Now its time to bake the first ballokume. This is a test to see if the dough has reached the right consistency or the oven is hot at the desired temperature. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Take a tablespoon of the dough and drop  it over the tray (do not shape it). Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown to the sides, but not coloured on top. If you see that ballokume is rising while baking, that’s a good sign, otherwise add a tablespoon of cornmeal one at a time until reached the right consistency. Ballokume 5
  5. Depending on the flour type or brand you are using, you have to adjust the amounts, anyway I think that with the above ingredients there will be no need to add more flour than specified.
  6. Here is the final product. … well, mostly because I couldn’t resist it:  bakes ballokume

Ps: Be careful not to eat all of them at once ..


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