Showing posts with label Easter soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter soup. Show all posts

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Easter 2016

Polish and Ukrainian Easter Eggs (Pysanki) on my Easter Table.
I enjoy displaying my pysanky (Easter Eggs), some Polish, most Ukrainian, a couple new this year. In my early 20's I bought the dyes, the beeswax, and the stylus, and created several eggs of my own. Some were in the traditional style, but I also branched out and did some modern designs as well. The process was very tedious, painstaking, and time-consuming. Sadly, I lost my entire collection in one of my moves overseas. I could never create them again today; my hands are not still enough to make the tiny straight lines and my eyes would never be strong enough to keep everything straight. Today, I simply enjoy collectingpysanky and add a few to my collection every year. Every area in the Slavic world has their own style of eggs, I wish I could find samples of all of them.

Home-made shrink-wrapped pysanky on my Easter table.

Preparing "pysanky" Easter eggs.
I've also discovered a neat trick for simulating pysanky on my Easter table. You can buy psyanky "sleeves" wrap them over hard-boiled eggs, dip in boiling water for about 5 seconds and you have instant pysanky! You can't save them, but they sure do look pretty on an Easter table.

I bought my package of sleeves online from the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck, Michigan. Here is the link:

When we visited my grandmother in Detroit for Easter in the 1950s and 60s, we would always have cake after our traditional Polish breakfast of Easter soup. There would always be Polish poppy seed coffee cake, sometimes a cake made by my Aunt Hattie in the shape of a lamb and covered in coconut, or, my favorite, a cake from Sander's Bakery in Detroit. It would be a yellow cake with "buttercream" icing garnished with finely crushed hazelnuts. The icing was very light and smooth. A "nest" of green-colored coconut with a couple of chocolate malted milk Easter eggs would complete the cake.

Sander's No Butter, No Cream "Buttercream" Easter Cake!
My mother saved a recipe for the icing she found on the "Bob Allison's Ask Your Neighbor" radio program which still, after 50 years, is on the air in the Detroit area. Click here to go to their website. What's interesting about the recipe for the buttercream icing is that it does not contain any butter or cream! I've tweaked the recipe for the cake by adding orange zest and flavoring, and sometimes I substitute toasted sliced almonds in place of the hazelnuts, but the icing itself is always the same recipe.

Sander’s Easter Cake with Buttercream Icing

1 package Duncan Hines butter yellow cake mix

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

1/2 teaspoon orange flavoring

2 cups hazelnuts

Toast hazelnuts and remove skins. Chop finely in a food processor.

Bake cake as directed on the package adding the grated orange peel and flavoring to the batter before beating.

When cool, frost with Sander’s Buttercream Icing.

Gently pat hazelnuts on the side of the cake.

If desired, decorate with a “nest” of coconut dyed green and candy Easter eggs or jelly beans.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Sander’s Buttercream Icing

1 stick margarine

1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup milk, lukewarm

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together the margarine and Crisco shortening. Add sugar, and then gradually add milk.

Beat on medium high speed for at least 15 minutes. For about the first 14 minutes the mixture will be very watery until suddenly the icing will congeal. Continue beating for a few minutes or until the icing is smooth.

Chill the icing for about an hour before icing the cake.

Note: If you can't find hazelnuts, sliced toasted almonds may be substituted instead.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Traditional Polish Easter Soup

People from Poland probably would not consider this as the basis of an Easter meal, but rather as a meal for Easter Monday--a time to use up the leftovers from Easter Sunday! It is, however, our family tradition because our Polish ancestors in Michigan had to go to work on Monday. It was not a holiday as it is in Poland.

This recipe comes from my sister, Barbara

Traditional Easter Soup - White Borscht (Monday Soup)

2 links smoked Polish sausage (Kielbasa)
1/2 smoked baked ham
1 quart water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 raw egg
2-3 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper
5-8 tablespoons white vinegar
10 hardboiled eggs, diced
1 loaf light rye bread, cubed
Farmer's white cheese, cubed
White or red horseradish

In large pot, cook kielbasa with enought water to cover. Cook about one hour piercing skin to release juices. Remove sausage. Reserve stock. This borscht is made from the water in which the smoked kielbasa was cooked. In a bowl, fork-blend 3/4 cup sour cream and raw egg with 2-3 tablespoons flour. Season to tast with salt and pepper. Blend 1 cup of warm broth and cream. Blend that into pot of stock. Cook until a gentle simmer. Do not boil (this will cause the cream to curdle). Add vinegar to taste. This soup should definitely be on the tart side so be sure to use enough vinegar. The white barszcz should be served over a bowl of diced ham, the kielbasa from which the stock was made, hard-boild egg slices, diced farmer's cheese, cubed stale rye bread, and a little freshly grated or prepared horseradish to taste.

A Polish Easter in Detroit, Michigan

Top row l. to r. - Vincent Wacht, Lillian (Wacht) Janowski, Edward Wacht.
Bottom row l. to r. - Adam Janowski, Jr., Marie Wacht.
Having been raised Catholic, the many traditions associated with Easter were almost more significant than Christmas.

On Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, palm leaves were distributed at Mass and afterwards were often woven into intricate braided shapes and hung inside homes, usually on a crucifix or religious picture. After Palm Sunday all of the statues in the church were covered in purple tunics indicating that the disciples of Christ had fled Jerusalem.

On Holy Thursday we went to church to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples and for the blessing of the feet ceremony where the priest washed the feet of the poor. On the following day, Good Friday, we spent the hours from 12 noon to 3 in church or in silence at home. It was a double torture as mom used that time to cook all of the meat for the Easter Sunday meal. No meat would be eaten Good Friday, so the smell of ham baking and keilbasa cooking was excruciating!

On Saturday we took an Easter basket lined in linen and lace to the church to be blessed. It contained pieces of all of the food--ham, sausage, salt pork, rye bread, farmer's cheese, dyed hard-boiled eggs, horseradish and salt and pepper, that would be served on Easter Sunday. It also often included a butter carving in the shape of a lamb. The basket would be blessed so that we would have food in abundance throughout the following year.

Easter Sunday service was a glorious celebration! Everyone was dressed in new clothes and the church smelled of Easter lilies and incense. As you can see from the picture above I (the little boy with the fedora) was always a snappy dresser!

The service was followed by a festive and filling breakfast. We ate a white, slightly sour, soup, with cubes of meat, bread, cheese and eggs in the soup. Horseradish was often added to spice it up. If red horseradish was used the soup would turn a pretty pink color.

We almost always went to my visit my grandmother on my mother's side in Detroit. The dinner meal was another serving of the same type of soup followed by cake. The cake was often made by my Aunt Hattie and would be in the shape of a lamb covered in white icing and coconut. If she wasn't bringing the cake someone would by a cake from Sanders Bakery in Detroit. It would be yellow cake with buttercream icing garnished with crushed hazelnuts. We'd often add an Easter "nest" of green colored coconut with a couple of chocolate malted milk "robin's eggs".

In my next post I will be providing you with a few recipes--my sister Barbara's recipe for a traditional Easter soup, my own interpretation of it, and a recipe for an as close as I can get version of Sander's buttercream icing which did not include butter or cream.