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Sea Urchins, Vodka and Croatian Kifle

The sun was nearly set by the time we crossed the border from Bosnia into Croatia. The drive was gorgeous, wending high above the glistening sea, hazy islands in the distance.

We were delighted to see the Villa Doris tucked into a peaceful little cove, waves lapping quietly on the rocky shore as the last rosy rays of the sun lingered on the whitewashed walls.

Our hostess was an amiable, trim little woman who welcomed us in, leading us through her terraced garden to our rooms overlooking vines, vegetables and fruit trees.

The balmy evening and cool sea were too great a temptation for the guys, and off they went for a late night swim in the bay of Stikovica.

They hadn’t been gone long when there was a ruckus next door and I was called over to see my brother Ryan who had, and I quote, “gotten into battle with a sea urchin and lost.”

Poor guy stepped on one of those spiny critters with his bare foot then pulled it off with his bare hand ending up with palm and sole full of painful stingers that grew purple and angry looking. With very limited English our hostess explained there was nothing to be done except apply vodka and olive oil and wait for the spines to come out.

Ryan suggested that vodka taken internally might be even more effective.

The next few days we pampered the poor chap, applying oils and spirits, and I must say he was a trooper, soldiering on through treks and hikes though he must’ve been dyin.

The surest way to cheer my brother up is to lead him to a bakery first thing in the morning. So we did just that. Glossy cases held tender croissants, hearty loaves of bread, and traditional desserts like Sour Cream Kifle – a tender crescent roll filled with sugared walnuts.

Before long Ry was back to his jolly self, exploring the sites and cursing all sea urchins. I love my brother!

This is my contribution to Wanderfood Wednesday, hosted by Beth at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Croatian Kifle


1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups flour
2 egg yolks
Melted butter or margarine
Powdered sugar

Nut Filling:

2 cups ground walnuts (I used pecans)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla


  1. Heat sour cream and water until warm then add yeast and stir until dissolved.
  2. In mixing bowl blend butter and half cup flour, beat in sour cream until smooth. Add egg yolks and a quarter cup flour and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Knead dough on lightly floured surface about ten minutes.
  4. Divide dough in thirds, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 24 hours.
  5. Mix ground walnuts, brown sugar and vanilla until well incorporated. Set aside.
  6. Dust counter with powdered sugar and roll each piece of dough to a 10-inch circle.
  7. Spread one-third of nut mixture in center of circle to about 1 inch of the edge.
  8. Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges and roll each wedge from wide end to point, curving into a crescent shape.
  9. Place point-down on greased baking sheets. Brush with melted butter and bake at 375ยฐF for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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Gourmantic - Ouch. Vodka and olive oil?! I hope one was for drinking and the other for rubbing on injured feet! ๐Ÿ™‚

Heather on her travels - I remember thos sea urchins from snorkling from the shores just off the old towns in Croatia, but made sure not to tread on any

RamblingTart - I’m so glad you didn’t step on any, Nicole! Those spiny bits were agonizing for my brother. The kifle is so yummy – not too sweet, just right with coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nicole - We used to live at a beach dotted with sea urchins. Thankfully we never stepped on one. Ouch! I’ve got to try that kifle. Yum!

RamblingTart - You said it, Beth!! There’s no keeping that guy down. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - Oh, that’s great, Angela!!! I just loved the Croatian people I met. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - Thank you, Zoe!! Yes, it was so much fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your Mom is the best – I know she’d make an amazing kifle. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - Thank you so much, Lazaro. ๐Ÿ™‚ You know how to cheer a girl up!! The kifle is great – just perfect with afternoon coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - Thank you, El! Yep – he’s fit as a fiddle now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wanderluster - Sea urchins beware — Ryan is on the move again! And the Croatian Kifle looks fantastic.

Angela (Travel with a Purpose) - Ooh, I want to try the kifle. I’ll pass this on to my Mom as well, as her mother was from Croatia. Hopefully I’ve got some of the baking genetics.

Zoรซ Kate - Gorgeous! Looks like an amazing adventure! And that recipe looks delish, I’ll have to pass it on to my mum, as I’m not much of a baker myself, but I’d love to try it! Yum!

Lazaro - Breathtaking photography, but one has come to expect that from you. You truly have gift.

Love the Kifle recipe. I have to give it a go.

Keep flashing that megawatt smile.

El - The dessert looks delicious. Hope your brother is feeling better now!

RamblingTart - Oh thank you, Lorraine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that dress – my very favoritest sundress. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - Thank you, Breanne. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad you like them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, that ocean was astonishingly beautiful! So blue and sunshiny with gorgeously cool breezes. Loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - I want to go too, Kris! ๐Ÿ™‚ HOORAY! A giveaway! I’m on my way! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - Aww so gorgeous and I was excited to see a picture of you Krista-lovely dress! ๐Ÿ˜€

Breanne - I love it when you post about your travels. Makes me eager to see and go where I haven’t been before. That blue ocean looks very nice right now! =)

Kris - amazing. I wanna go I wanna go!!!

ps I have a giveaway happening. Stop by!


RamblingTart - Isn’t that a fabulous cure, Duchess? Cracked me up. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think those two ingredients may cure a lot of things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

RamblingTart - It was SO fun, Margo! ๐Ÿ™‚ Even the sea urchin made for a great story afterwards. ๐Ÿ™‚

Duchess - What a cure! If only everything were fixed with olive oil and vodka…

Tweets that mention Sea Urchins, Vodka and Croatian Kifle ยป Rambling Tart -- Topsy.com - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Margo Millure, Krista Bjorn. Krista Bjorn said: {new blog post} Sea Urchins, Vodka and Croatian Kifle https://www.ramblingtart.com/2010/07/27/sea-urchins-vodka-and-croatian-kifle/ […]

Margo - what a great place for you and your brother to get to go together! Sea urchin = ouchie!But you’re right – nothing a glossy bakery case and its contents can’t fix!

RamblingTart - Yes, I think you’re right, Elra.

I’m not from Croatia, but I really love the Balkans and had an amazing road trip through there. Since then I’ve studied more about their history and culture and food and love it even more. ๐Ÿ™‚

RamblingTart - Thanks so much, Darci! ๐Ÿ™‚ Ohhh, we have a great time traveling together. That guy cracks me up!!

elra - Krista, I am sure alcohol helps to prevent it from getting worst.

You post a lot about Croatia, is this the place where you are originally from? it’s such a beautiful country, I’d like to explore one day.

RamblingTart - That is me, doggybloggy – but that’s my brother, not my beau. ๐Ÿ™‚ He is a handsome feller though, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

doggybloggy - is that you and your beau? OMG I had a whole other Rambling Tart in my mind – this really clears things up a bit – LOL

darci - what a great post with great pix! the one of you putting oil on ryan’s feet cracks me up-how fun to travel with your bro. ๐Ÿ™‚ you look gorgeous, as always. darc

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