The oldest memory of the famous cake from Stari Grad, Starogrojski paprenjok
, was left by Petar Hektorović. This note is located in his famous poem Ribanje i ribarsko prigovaranje, from 1556. The work is a description of a three-day fishing trip from Stari Grad to the Island of Šolta and back. The poet, Petar Hektorović, sailed in the company of two fishermen, Paskoje and Nikola. They brought with them: good wine muškatil, sweet wine (prošek), turta (cake), honeycomb, kaškaval cheese, fruit and paprenakov. The main ingredient for paprenjok is honey. In the castle, that is, in the flaunting park, the Hektorović family cultivated poultry, silkworms and bees. Hektorović’s farmers cultivated wheat in the fertile Stari Grad Plain; they milled it in the mill located in Tvrdalj. Another important ingredient was also olive oil. The Hektorović family olive groves were located on the southern part of the town. To prepare a paprenjok they still needed prošek (prosecco). Prošek was made from good quality grapes in the tavern in Tvrdalj. The only thing which could not be cultivated in Tvrdalj were the aromatic herbs – cinnamon, cloves and nutmegs. But in that period they were easily supplied as the port of Stari Grad was located on the way between Venice, Dubrovnik and numerous Mediterranean ports with which trade took place. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmegs were in Stari Grad, until the first half of the 20th century, known by the unique name – papor. And this is where the name for these pastries came from – paprenjoki.
How are paprenjoki made?
The night before, boil a kilogram of honey. When the honey boils and forms froth, remove it with a spoon. Grind the cloves on a board with a wooden hammer and put them into the heated prošek. Fry the saffron, crumble it and put this into the heated prošek as well.
Add a quarter of a litre of olive oil into the honey. Filter the prošek with saffron together with the prošek with cloves. The total amount of prošek added should be a quarter of a litre.
Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and at the end flour with a bit of baking soda to this paste. The quantity of flour is determined by the softness of the paste. Leave to stand for half an hour. Place part of the paste onto a board and add more flour. Cut it into equal pieces. Knead each piece by hand and form small balls.
Place the paste into a greased baking tray and form the paprenjok by hand. Bake at 200 ̊C until it darkens.
It can be decorated as soon as it is cool. Add 150 g of icing sugar to one egg yolk to create icing and then decorate the paprenjoki.