Spring and Easter Recipes From Poland and Polish Americans

Babka
Babka

Ethnic Cuisine in the Spring

These are a collection of recipes given me by friends, teachers, and coworkers over the years since I was a child. Some of my favorite memories are of gathering recipes from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Romania while in middle school. I did not know what Chinese food or a delivery pizza was until I was away at college, but I knew about these.

I recall at age 13, jumping up from a foreign languages banquet table we students prepared at middle school one Spring day. This was after tasting an Eastern European cake, because it had burned my mouth even though it was cold -- It had been soaked in alcohol and I thought it was lighter fluid. Of course, the first words out of my mouth were the ones that emanated at age 5 after being given a pig's-brain sandwich: "What IS this?" I thought I was going to need hospitalization.

Nevertheless, food is not the enemy; it is our friend when we prepare the nutritionally best. 

Easter Babka

Polish friends have told me that Babka means grandmother and that the babka is usually made from a recipe handed down from grandmothers. I take them at their word, because this dessert is delicious and tastes like a grandmother made it. What does that mean? -- A specific type of melding of rich flavors.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 envelope of dry yeast
  • ½ Cup cream
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 Tblsp melted butter
  • ¼ - ½ cup raisins
  • FROSTING: ½ cup powdered sugar and 1 Tblsp lemon juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease your baking pan evenly or use cooking spray; then flour it lightly.
  • Carefully stir and dissolve the yeast in the cream.
  • Pour yeast mixture into half of the sugar in a large bowl; add the flour and mix.
  • Set the bowl in a warm place to rise to double-size.
  • Add remaining ingredients, but the raisins; knead dough on a dough bard or clean countertop until smooth.
  • Next, add raisins a little at a time and knead until all are added.
  • Place dough in pan, cover with a clean cloth, and leave in a very warm, draft-free place until doubled in size.
  • Bake the baba for 30 – 40 minutes until done (clean knife blade inserted into center will emerge clean.
  • Cool pan on a cooling rack and remove the babka from pan.
    In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the frosting until smooth and pour over the babka. If you want a thinner frosting, add some cream or milk. For thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar.

Source

Horseradish Beet Relish

I have bought this in jars at the grocery and deli for years, having once seen it at my Ukrainian uncle-in-laws house as a child. It is also traditionally Polish, according to friends. Now, I can make my own.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of boiled or baked beets (either one is good and produces a different flavor, although boild seems to be sturdier)
  • 2 Tblsp of your favorite horseradish
  • 1 tsp sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pour the three ingredients into a food processor or a blender and chop coarse. If you use a blender, please pulse a bit at a time in order not to make a liquid. If it processes too far into a liquid, use it for a soup or some other dish. An Iron Chef would make an ice cream or sherbet from it.
  • Pour the chopped beet mixture into a glass container with a lid. If you use plastic, the mixture will likely stain red.
  • Let the mixture age in the refrigerator for 2 days and serve as a relish or side accompaniment.

Source

Easter Cheese (Polish Cream Cheese)

This is very easy to make, though a bit time consuming. It takes a lot of eggs, so get them on sale around Easter.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 qt milk (4 Cups)
  • 12 eggs (one full carton of a dozen) – beaten in a large bowl.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tblsp sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat the milk until you see bubbles forming, then add the remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Stir until thick and a clump or ball forms completely separated from the water. This is the cheese.
  • Pour the pot into a cheesecloth over a large bowl; tie off the top of the cheesecloth and hang it over the sink or a bowl by a hook to drain in the refrigerator.
  • Allow the cheese to become cold and then slice it or use it with crackers.

Some Pysanky Designs

Ukrainian Museum,Cleveland. Such museums house hundreds of beautiful artistic eggs.
Ukrainian Museum,Cleveland. Such museums house hundreds of beautiful artistic eggs.

Pork and Easter Egg Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pound of your favorite bacon
  • 36 [3 dozen] extra large or large hardboiled eggs, sliced about ¼” thick
  • 1 Pound polish sausage, sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 Pound ham, cubed into 1” cubes (you can purchase it already cubed, if you like)
  • Hot Water, about a gallon or more (I like spring water)
  • Horseradish, fresh or jarred, or use the beet horseradish above.
  • Fry bacon and cut to about 1-inch strips.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place all ingredients in a large soup pot and cover with hot water.
  • Bring the pot to the boil, then reduce heat, and simmer until the egg yolks dissolve.
  • Serve the with horseradish and optional sour cream or yogurt.

Polish Easter Eggs

Polish Easter Basket Made of Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 envelopes of dry yeast
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 well-beaten egg yolks (use whites for another dish or meal)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix flour and yeast in a large bowl.
  • Heat milk until you see small bubbles and add the butter, stirring until melted.
  • Pour the milk, the salt, and the sugar carefully into the flour.
  • Mix with buttered fingers or a mixer and make a dough ball to sit and rise to double-size.
  • On a bread board or clean counter top, roll out about ¾ of the dough into a 10” square.
  • Cut this square into 24 strips, marking it first so you have the correct number.
  • Place 12 strips beside one other, and weave the rest between them like a cloth or a basket.
  • Wipe an ovenproof bowl with butter and put it upside down on a baking sheet.
  • Carefully lift and put the woven strips over the outside of the bowl and cut off the ends that are too long.
  • Brush strips with egg yolk.
  • Bake the basket 45 minutes total: after the first 20 minutes, cover the strips with aluminum foil to prevent burning (they should be lightly browned at this point.
  • After 45 minutes, remove basket from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
  • Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle for the rim of the basket and cut it into 3 strips for braiding. Braid, place on flat baking sheet, brush with egg yolk and bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove basket from a bowl carefully and anchor the rim on via toothpicks.

Note: If you want to make more dough, you can bake and attach a braided handle as well.

© 2009 Patty Inglish

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Comments 12 comments

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

This hub reminds me it's been too long since I've visited a Polish community about 100 miles away. The horseradish beet relish sounds yummy, but a real eye-waterer. I'll have to try making the Easter Cream Cheese. You don't say, but I'm assuming it's whole milk, right?


Maria 7 years ago

Great hub! I love to know traditional food from other countries!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

JamaGenee - That's right; I should have stated whole milk. I wonder what it would be like with 2% though. I may try and see and report back.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Woweee...I think I want to try to make the basket...I have a grandson-in-law from Poland maybe he would also like the Easter babka...I shall ask him Thanks this was fun ...G-Ma :O) Hugs & Peace


laringo profile image

laringo 7 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

I really like the Polish Easter basket and the Easter Babka. I'm going to be try these this year. I'm always looking for something different and you've brought it. Thanks


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

fantastic recipe list, thank you.

I've tried the horseradish / beetroot recipe in Poland, and it's wonderful stuff.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

These recipes really are pretty good and I was glad to receive them from friends. Success to you all that try them and LondonGirl - thanks for telling us how much you like the relish. I hope peole make it this year.


Correen 7 years ago

Love your special recipe share...especially the relish and cream cheese! Love it when I find something new to try.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Relishes and chesses are some of my favorite recipes to collect. Glad you liked them. :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 6 years ago from The English Midlands

Very useful!


Gloria 3 years ago

Thanks for these recipes! I saw them on Pinterest. I am part Polish. For your Polish Cream Cheese, I remember, when I was little, my mother always talking about "Pot Cheese..." I wonder if this is what she meant! I really do want to try your babka recipe though, thanks for sharing!

Best,

Gloria


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I hope you like these dishes, Gloria. A friend who is Polish taught me how to make them many years ago. Easter was bigger than Christmas for her family and a lot of fun.

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