Showing posts with label Polish Easter breakfast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Polish Easter breakfast. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter 2011 -- WesoĊ‚ego Alleluja!

Some pysanki from my collection. I try to add a couple if new ones every year.
It’s hard to believe that I started this blog just over a year ago. Thinking about Easters past was the incentive to put pencil to paper, spoon to bowl, and eye to camera. I spent many an Easter overseas and it never bothered me that I wouldn’t be experiencing the traditions of my younger years, but now that I am older it does bother me.
My Easter centerpiece--Lilies, roses and pussywillow.
I get pleasure out of recreating the recipes of my childhood and I have a need to write down my memories before they are forgotten. Someone described memories as “personal mythology”. I like that term, because my memory is imperfect. I remember my Aunt Sophie having a hat shop on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. My uncle says no, it wasn’t on Michigan, maybe on Warren. I remember my grandmother riding with me on the bus to the market in Detroit where she selected a chicken and we watched as they butchered it so she didn’t get a different scrawny bird. My uncle says, no, not true, my grandmother never ever rode the bus. She hated them. It must have been Aunt Sophie who went to the market. And so goes my mind. Playing tricks every now and then. We remember what we want to remember. Or we remember how we want our memories to be remembered.

Easter is very late this year and here in Florida the temperature is already almost 90 degrees. It’s very difficult to imagine spring, but just above my computer monitor I have a beautiful framed photograph of daffodils, tulips, and flowering trees from the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland to remind me what it looks like. For years, I carried around a heavy and expensive 35mm Nikon camera. I never took a good picture with it. I finally gave the camera to my brother, retrieving the roll of film left in it. That last roll of film contained the one and only beautiful picture I ever created—of daffodils, tulips, and flowering trees and a beautiful reminder of Earth’s renewal, the glory of spring, and the Christian concept of rebirth.

From the Keukenhof Gardens circa 1985.
This is a photo of the last photo taken with my 35 mm camera.
This Easter I will still dye the eggs, get the basket ready, take it to the local Catholic Church to have it blessed on Holy Saturday afternoon, attend Easter Sunday service (“with incense” as they describe it in their Easter Events schedule) at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and have our family’s traditional Easter breakfast soup with white sausage broth and chopped smoked meats, eggs, white cheese and rye bread. A recipe for the soup can be found in the April, 2010 section of this blog.

A Polish Easter basket ready to be blessed on Easter Saturday.
I ended up making the version with nut filling because when I got started
I realized I didn't have enough eggs, of all things, to do both versions!
I’ll finish breakfast with Poppy Seed Coffee Cake, a treat I enjoyed at many a Christmas and Easter.

Poppy Seed Coffee Cake (Strucla z Makiem)

1 package yeast
1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons chopped candied orange peel (optional)
1 teaspoon flour

Poppy Seed Filling:
1 cup ground poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar or 1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring milk to boiling point and add poppy seed. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring carefully, until milk is absorbed. Add sugar or honey. Beat egg thoroughly. Mix 1 tablespoon of hot poppy seed with egg and pour into cooked poppy seed. Stir until thick. Add vanilla. Must be thoroughly cooled before using.

Walnut Raisin Filling:
1 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup white raisins

Substitute walnuts for poppy seeds and proceed as in poppy seed filling recipe above. When cool add 1/2 cup white raisins.

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon hot milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dissolve yeast in 1 tablespoon warm water.

Cream butter with sugar.

Add salt to egg yolks and beat until thick.

Scald milk and cool to lukewarm.

Add beaten yolks to butter and sugar mixture.

Add yeast. Add flavoring and mix thoroughly. Add flour alternately with the milk and knead with hand until fingers are free of dough.

Let rise for about 2 hours or until double in bulk. Punch down and let rise again for one hour. Place dough on floured board and roll to one-half inch thickness into rectangular shape.

Optional: Dredge candied orange peel in flour, shaking off excess flour. Sprinkle orange peel over dough and lightly press into dough using rolling pin.

Spread with poppy seed (or nut raisin filling and roll like jelly roll, sealing all edges. Place on cookie sheet and let rise until double in bulk. Note: 1 can of Solo Brand Poppy Seed Filling can be used if you don’t want to make your own.

Bake for 45 minutes.

When completely cool spread with confectioners’ sugar glaze.

This is the finished Nut Roll--so beautiful I can almost taste it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

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.