Claudia tells us about kletitie, a Moldavian recipe she learned from her mother-in-law’s carer some years ago.
A few days ago Valentina sent me this picture on Whatsapp:
and she said: “Making kletitie and thinking of you”.
Valentina has been my mother in law’s carer for years, until her death. She comes from Moldavia and like many women who migrated to Italy in search of a job, she has left her family behind. She is a great cook, and whenever we visited my mother-in-law, she would prepare something delicious, and we would chat around the stove.
The moment we cherished the most was when we reached them in the mountains for one week, and she could cook tons of kletitie for us. Kletitie are very popular in Moldovia. They are like crepes, with a little more laborious procedure, and you find them in all Moldovian families, both in their sweet and savoury version.
I personally prefer the savoury one. Valentina used fresh mountain cheese and I can still remember the deliciously salty taste of a hot kletitie with melted cheese. I remember the ritual very well. Valentina would gather all ingredients in the small kitchen and warm two different casseroles, to be able to prepare a big amount of kletitie. In the garden many children and adults were enjoying the afternoon, and were all hungry and ready to grab the delicious snack as soon as it appeared on the table.
Valentina would prepare kletitie with a mastery that can only come from practice. While frying and filling them, she would tell me stories of her childhood in Moldovia, and relate how kletitie have always been a part of them. At breakfast, in the afternoon, on Sundays, at family gathering, kletitie were always on the table.
She would put all of us at work. My sons still remember how they learned to fill the thin fried film and fold it following her instructions. Of course the best part of the process was when a dish full of hot kletitie appeared to stop the games and the chatting.
Kletitie will always remain a warm memory Valentina and I share in the brief moments we spent together. And for me, a way to get close to the story of a woman who, like so many others, cooks her home food in a foreign country to feel a bit more at home.
How to make kletitie
1/2 litre of milk
1 glass of flour
a pinch of salt
a small spoonful of oil
If the filling is sweet, add two spoons of sugar to the mixture
Beat the eggs with milk, salt and oil, and add the flour, stirring constantly to prevent lumps (picture 1).
Heat a non-stick pan and add some oil. When it is hot, pour a small ladle of batter (proceed as for the crepes). When the mixture is compact and golden, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool on a plate. Then cut the Kletitie as shown in the picture (picture 2), and fill it as you wish (it can be cheese, cheese and ham, chicken, grinded meat, vegetables…). Close it as shown in picture 3. Dip it into a beaten egg and put it back in the pan (picture 4) until it gets golden on both sides (picture 5).
Kletitie can also be served with a sweet filling. Valentina liked a filling with grated appels, sugar and cinnamon.