Baka Agata's Paprenjak - Peppery Biscuit

Nana Agata`s Paprenjak

Tasting Delicious for Over 150 Years

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About Baka Agata

A little story about my Baka Agata from whom I inherited a love of cooking and her mother's name.

 

Baka Agata was born on Suselj Breg near Krapina in 1914. She spent much of her childhood playing the the church yard of Trski Vrh, a few kilometres away from Suselj Breg. Her father was parish secretary and caretaker for Trski Vrh, and Baka remembered enjoyed the days when he would ring the church bells as she played. Her mother, Juliana was an excellent cook, and Baka learnt everything she knew from her.

 

Baka Agata married in 1934 her kind hearted husband Pavao (Paul). They were blessed with three beautiful children at their small farm atop the hill in Suselj Breg - Andrija, Victorija and Bozidar.

 

Baka Agata used to carry water on her head from a well in Trski Vrh to her house atop the hill where their home was built. Working the land wasn't an easy life, especially having had three children and they wanted to afford them more.So they bought land in the flatter area of Croatia - Moslavina - in Mostari near Dubrava Vrbovecka, county Zagreb, taking granddad's parents with them. Granddad was called to arms during the Second World War from which he thankfully returned with only an injured leg.

 

In Mostari Baka Agata and granddad built up their farm, buying surrounding lands, and raising and teaching their children.They had four more children - Mirko, Djuro, Marijan, and Katarina (my mother) - before granddad died in the 1960s.  Baka never remarried and devoted herself to her children and their farm. Without her husband to help her, Baka never sought help for money, nor support from anyone but succeed in giving all of her children a school education and filling bellies every night. Her children were a great helped on the farm. They would learn and teach each other school work whilst doing farm duties. It was a kind of life a lot of us wished we could go back to today.

 

During the 1980 Nana's grandchild count swelled to seventeen and by this time Nana's children were living all over Croatia and visited for holidays - Christmas, Svi Sveti (All Saints Day) when whole family of 60+  would visit to pay respects to the family grave. Harvest was another big family occasion in which everybody in the family helped out. We'd cut the grass in the fields, collect the corn and pick the grapes from the vineyards for wine. In the evening everyone would sit around in a circle singing songs whilst cleaning and hanging the corn or making wine.

 

Its on these family days the inviting smell of cooking would waft throughout the village and enticing neighbours and children the to come for food. Very often I'd stay with Baka whilst she baked and cooked all manor of delicious foods including Paprenjak and kramp pogacice, and listen to family stories, memories of our grandfather and she shared her knowledge and experiences with us. Having taught all seven of her children herself Baka Agata had committed to memory most of the Croatian literary curriculum and on this point some of her grandchildren were very eager to hear Baka Agata tell stories.

It was during these summer and autumn days with Baka that we inherited her skills for cooking and learned to make Paprenjak and Kramp Pogacice ourselves. It was, and still is, a special biscuit. Made with a secret blend of lots of spices and black pepper Paprenjak were hmmmm yummy! And we couldn't stop eating Kramp Pogacice either. Not to mention her struklji or ricet and the list could go on and on!

 

Baka Agata was the archetypal grandmother we all want and need. She would tell stories, play games, cook great food and always have a smile for you. She never complaining about anything in her life, except that she was here for three wars, and said that only the last one - the Croatia-Serbia War - often brought tears to her eyes.

 

The memory of Baka Agata is being kept alive today by her children and grandchildren, and is celebrated here by sharing Baka Agata's Paprenjak and Kramp Pogacice. The recipes used were handed down directly from Baka and have been brought back and can now be enjoyed by everyone today.

 

Baka Agata died in 1992. And on the last count her great grandchildren numbered twenty two and growing.

 

The memory of Baka Agata is being kept alive today by her children and grandchildren, and comes to Britain by way of my love for a fellow Englishman. Come and share with us Baka Agata's Paprenjak and Kramp Pogacice and enjoy the taste and smell of bountiful country life in deep Croatian countryside of Hrvatsko Zagorje

 Julia  
  

 

 
Baka Agata
(1957)