by LjiljanaL
Last updated 4 years ago

Social Studies
European history

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Licitar is colorfully decorated cake made of honey dough. From the distant past the secrecy of licitar making has been preserved within the family of gingerbread crafts from the central and lowland of Croatia. Although entirely made of edible ingredients, at first it brings joy for eyes and soul. Traditionally it is of bright red color and produced in various shapes and sizes. Small size licitars (heart, cherry, doll, small bird, mushroom, horse-shoe, small wreath, horse) are favorite decoration of Christmas trees in Croatian homes, whereas the large size licitars are created for giving as a gift to the loved ones at special occasions. A young man giving a heart shaped licitars to his girlfriend to express this love and devotion to her is a custom deeply rooted in the Croatian traditional heritage. The St. Valentine’s Day, the largest holiday of those in love, is a special occasion for such sign of attention.

At first, with the addition of licitars yeast, knead dough of flour and water with melted sugar. Roll out dough flat and make licitars with moulds, i.e. form them with sheet metal licitar moulds for cutting. Place shaped dough into a baking sheet, and bake it in the oven until it gets light yellow color.Thus baked cakes shall be stick together with the mixture of flour and water, with the hanging string put in-between each two of them. Dunking, i.e. dipping licitars into the liquid preparation of regular gelatin colored with powdered food coloring (for example for coloring Eastern eggs) follows, accompanied by hanging licitars to dry. Finally, decoration of licitars follows, i.e. frills, for which edible mixture (ajs) is used, of relatively complex recipe.In any case, the paper tube or cake decoration syringe with the appropriate tip (‘tilna’) is filled with ready made mixture and the licitars decorated with white tendrils, colorful flowers, green grass or similar.

The tradition of licitar making dates back to the Middle Ages, especially to the 16th and 17th century when cakes in richly decorated wooden moulds were made in many European convents. In the Easter Alps region, such tradition of cake making soon grew into a craft, which was gradually spreading to the other Central European regions, when it also came to the Pannonian parts of Croatia. In the 18th and 19th Century, in the towns of Zagreb, Karlovac, Koprivnica, Samobor, Varaždin and elsewhere, licitar makers were reputable craftsmen, and their products favorite among members of all social classes. Here, craftsmen were making dough and wax products such as licitars, gingerbread cakes, candles, wax votive gifts and drinks such as “gvirc” and mead. Since their early days, these products have been sold at fairs and parish fairs related to church festivals. Thanks to licitars producers, the stalls with gingerbread and mead products provided picturesqueness and special atmosphere.

RECIPEFor the dough: For the glaze: For the decoration:• 1 kg sugar• 600 ml water• 30 g gingerbread yeast (ammonium bicarbonate)• 2 kg all-purpose flour• 1 kg gelatine• 3 l water• edible colouring• gelatine• sugar syrup• potato flour• edible colour1. Mix together dough ingredients, and let stand about eight hours. Knead the dough again and roll out on table with rolling pin. Cut the gingerbread with the gingerbread moulds and place on greased and floured baking pan. Preheat oven to 300ºC and bake gingerbread several minutes. After baking, remove excess flour from the gingerbread and leave to dry for several days.2. Soak gelatine in water, mix well and cook in double-boiler until thick. Add colour. Dip the smaller licitar shapes into the glaze, remove them and hang them to dry (at least one day). Add glaze to larger licitar shapes using a pastry brush.3. To decorate the licitar, combine the ingredients and fill a pastry bag and add the desired nozzle. When the decorations are dry, the licitar is finished.

THE 8TH UNESCO’s intengible CULTURAL HERITAGE IN CROATIA!• After seven other unmaterial cultural heritage events, licitar hearts have finally been rewarded!•



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