Pork Crackling Biscuits

Pogacice are small round yeast-raised biscuits with pork cracklings. This recipe is based on one by Inge Kramarz in The Balkan Cookbook. The technique of folding the dough and brushing with fat before three separate rollings has similarities with flaky pastry. Since the whole point is to have the crackling crisp and discernible both visually and texturally, you cannot use a food processor to make the dough because it would mulch the crackling, giving a greasy effect.

Ingredients

  • 175 g/ 6 oz pork skin with a layer of fat, cut into 1-cm / ½-inch dice
  • 150 ml/ ¼ pt milk
  • salt
  • 225 g/ 8 oz flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 g/ ¼ oz easy-blend yeast
  • about 125 ml/ 4 fl oz dry white wine
  • about 85 g/ 3 oz fresh lard

Method

Put the pork skin dice in a large frying pan with the milk. Bubble this down over a high heat, then turn the heat right down and allow the fat to render, stirring from time to time until you are left with crisp brown cracklings. Pass through a sieve, reserving the liquid fat. (This will set as lard and should be refrigerated for use in another dish, for example the Refried Beans. Do not, for the time being, put it in the fridge as you will need some of the fat later in the recipe.) Drain the cracklings on kitchen paper, seasoning with salt while still hot, and leave to cool.

In a bowl, mix the cracklings with the flour, egg yolks, yeast and just enough dry white wine for the mixture to cohere. Mix into a ball, transfer to a floured surface and knead to a stiff dough, shaking on more flour if too sticky. Put into a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to stand for 45 minutes.

Turn out on to a floured surface and roll into a rectangle 1 cm / ½ inch thick. Brush this with about half the fresh lard and fold the sides into the middle and then fold the bottom and top in over again. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes, then roll out and repeat the process, again brushing with lard. Return to the fridge for a further 30 minutes and repeat yet again, returning to the fridge for a final rest.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/ gas 7 and roll out the chilled dough to a thickness of about 2 cm / ¾ inch. Use a 5-cm / 2-inch cutter to cut out rounds and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes and serve while still hot.

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