Easter is one of few holidays which defended its tradition and has not been significantly modernized. The custom of painting Easter eggs, decorating cupcakes and cakes have survived … Polish Easter is still colorful, kitschy, but extremely familiar.
Hams, cheesecakes and pound cakes
Preparations begin already in the Holy Week. First of all shopping, then, baking blessed food, that is cakes and meat. In the past, spring hunting used to be organized and thanks to it, tables abounded in blackcocks and capercaillies; moreover, pig-slaughtering was arranged – hams were marinaded and then smoked, while sausages were cooked in large boilers. Up to this day, the traditional Polish dish is ham, often baked in the crust of wholemeal rye flour. In addition, due to the fact that baking bread has become trendy, real bread stoves are very often used for this purpose again. Today, we also bake cheesecakes, pound cakes and mazurkas. Maybe not in such variety as our mothers and grandmothers used to do it, but still. It is important for pound cakes to be raised, light and fluffy, as settled and toasted are culinary embarrassment. As every year, I pick up a one-sided battle with myself because Easter pastries are, by an ironic twist of fate, the most difficult for me. There is a stereotype that Easter cakes are harmed by noise and the presence of men.
I have to check it this year.
The Easter table
How can you survive Good Friday?- a day of fasting, or even complete abstinence from food and favorite pleasures. Preparing meals for the Easter table is rather not helpful. On Holy Saturday the time for the Easter basket comes. In the past, a long table used to be set in villages. It was covered with a white tablecloth and decorated with the sprouts of clubmoss, the garlands of boxwood, and when the spring had already come, even with the bunches of violets. Colourful hyacinths, narcissi, periwinkle and willow twigs with silver catkins were put into vases. In the central part, cress in the shape of a cross and a pedestal for a lamb were laid. A lamb was actually a whole roasted lamb, but today, we restrict ourselves to a lamb made of butter, cake or sugar. Nowadays, the blessing of food takes place in churches or near the figures of saints and crosses in villages.
Easter in the light version
In the places where slow grandma’s cooking has become out of date, catering offers have been very successful. Moreover, attention to a healthy diet makes the Easter table a bit different too. Of course, we still prepare meat – turkey, veal, we serve boiled white sausage with onion, cook eggs and serve them in different versions, but we try to prepare the dishes in the light version. Therefore, I bake vegetable pâtés, and in the version containing meat, I add whole grains of pickled green pepper that support digestion. I prepare vegetable terrines of peas, corn, broad beans and tomatoes, which are tasty, colorful and very healthy. Red onion jam or stewed sour apples with rosemary and cranberry are a perfect addition to meat. Salads, for example with radish or lemon vinaigrette, constitute another light and fresh accent. Sour soup with sausage and bacon continues to reign. It is cooked with a real rye sourdough that I prepare at least a week before Easter. Horseradish is an Easter addition to holiday dishes. We usually prepare spicy types of sauce with it. But maybe it is worth making it the king of the table? This year I suggest replacing sour soup with a lighter cream made of horseradish and apples.
Cream of horseradish and apples with lemon croutons and tarragon
2 white onions
1.5 l vegetable bouillon
1l sour cream 18%
8 tablespoons of freshly grated horseradish
4 medium sweet apples
salt and freshly grounded pepper
2 wheat rolls
2 tablespoons of butter
juice from half a lemon
finely chopped tarragon leaves
We peel the vegetables. Warm up the oil in a saucepan and fry the chopped onions and the leek. Add the diced potatoes, fry for a moment. Pour the bouillon, boil, add the cream. Boil for 25 minutes, and then add the horseradish and the grated apples. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes. Take off the heat and mix the soup until it becomes cream. Cut the roll into cubes. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Put there the bread and fry it until it is browned. Sprinkle it with the lemon juice and tarragon, heat it up for a little longer. Sprinkle the soup with the croutons.
Katarzyna Bartoń, a fan of cooking, a culinary blogger