Dutch baby, German pancake, French clafoutis... yes, we have our own Croatian baked pancake.
It’s called Supita. And unlike its European relatives, our dessert is more a pie than a pancake. It’s still puffy and delicious.
So, here’s the recipe first. Let’s talk history later.
Croatian poured milk pie SUPITA is puffy, crunchy and super versatile!
For 9 pieces, dish size: 25 x 35 cm
350 ml (1 1/2 cup) milk
45 g (3 tbsp) sugar
150 g (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1.5 tbsp butter
- 1Heat the oven to 220 C (425 F). Put the cake pan inside too to get hot.
- 2Whisk eggs, sugar and salt. Add flour and milk interchangeably to break lumps. The batter needs to be smooth but not frothy.
- 3Put butter in the hot pan, pop it back into the oven and when it melts, pour the batter in. Bake for about 20 minutes, until supita puffs up and turns golden.
- 3Serve warm, cut into squares and sprinkled with powdered sugar and lemon juice.
- 4You can serve fresh fruit, jam, melted chocolate or cream on the side or on top of supita.
Croatian pancake pie
The world has been stuffing its mouth with the praised German pancake or Dutch baby. More so in the last decade, when this puffed popover became a huge hit in the United States.
Since Croatian desserts are so diverse and plentiful, I was convinced I’d find our own oven pancake.
And I was right.
Its name may trick you, it’s shape could misguide you... But I assure you, our supita is the Croatian pancake pie.
Supita is mostly eaten in Slavonija, Vojvodina and BiH. The name comes from the Turkish word Süt, which means milk. In essence, supita is a poured milk pie.
Today very few people still know and make supita. They might even know it as sutpita or sutlipita. Which suggests that our Croatian oven pancake has similarities with its Turkish relatives.
Still, living among many culinary traditions, supita exhibits some German traits too.
You’ll notice that supita batter has more milk relative to the amount of eggs. It IS a milk pie, right? But it is often served with fresh fruit or jams, a quintessential trait of the German pancake.
Supita is our grandma’s be-all and end-all sweet. It’s not a festive dessert and it rarely requires any special prep.
But this is exactly what makes supita so special. It’s the cake that you rustle up and pop in the oven. Then, when it comes to the table after the main course, it lights everyone up.
Supita is THE dessert when there is no other dessert. It’s the sweet that we’ll always remember. Because it gave us sweetness when there was hardly any around.
How to eat Croatian supita
Traditional supita is baked in a rectangualar cake pan. It’s not one giant oven pancake like a Dutch baby pancake in the USA. It is more a poured cake cut into squares and served with toppings or sides.
Supita is always a dessert. This is why I am reluctant to classify it as a baked pancake. Because, in Croatia, baked pancakes are often savory.
Even Dutch pancakes can be made as a savory dish. There was actually a huge row about whether Dutch baby and Yorkshire pudding were the same dish.
True, pancake batter can be made with no seasoning. Then, depending on what it’s served with, it is made into a sweet or savory dish.
We have a similar situation with Schmarrn in Croatia. For example, Kaiserschmarrn is a classic dessert we adopted from Austria. But Schmarrn is the same pancake batter. Only it’s seasoned with salt instead of sugar, and served with salad as a light lunch.
Supita, on the other hand, cannot be pushed around. Now it’s sweet, now it’s savory. Nope. Supita is a dessert and we eat it to indulge our sweet tooth.
You can eat supita with a sprinkle of lemon juice and a dusting of sugar.
Or you can go all-out and top your piece of supita with fresh fruit and cream. Add some jam on the side. Dust it with some cocoa, or drizzle it with dark chocolate ganache.
Make Croatian pancake pie a thing
You can bet that the German pancake has been around for many centuries. But it was Victor Manca’s restaurant in Seattle that introduced it to the Americans in early 1900s.
Allegedly, it was his daughter who invented the name Dutch baby because she couldn’t pronounced Deutsch. In 1942, Manca’s Cafe got the trademark for Dutch babies.
Supita is far from being that famous. Even so, this simple, ancient dish has been around for centuries. It speaks of our rich cooking traditions. And it conjures up the warmth and connectedness of our Croatian homes.
Maybe it’s the name itself. We can’t settle on a single one. There are variations in the spelling: supita, sutpita, sutlipita, suslipita. And completely different words: razljevak, razljevuša (both mean poured pie), mljekuša (milk pie), jajaruša (egg pie).
One thing is certain though, if you ask older generations, you’ll dig up some sweet memories.
Because, supita is our own pancake cake.
Our Croatian baby.
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