Do you have Easter traditions you love to keep every year?
Traditions you have inherited from your parents or grandparents or new traditions you have created and love?
When I was growing up, our family travelled a lot. I loved breathing in all the new places, new smells, colours, foods and meeting new people.
As much as I loved to travel, we always made sure we were home for Easter. It was one of the highlights of our year.
Easter! The rush was always to get it all done in time.
We coloured and decorated red eggs... doing our best not to crack any. We would do up to 12 dozen eggs.. you'll see why in a few minutes.
We baked special Easter biscuits, foods and sweets. All of it made more difficult because we couldn't eat any of them until Easter Sunday!
Here's the recipe for the Easter Koulouria biscuits above -
Greek Butter Cookies Recipe Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 large 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
This recipe makes about 40 biscuits. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on a medium setting. Slowly add 1 egg plus the egg yolks. Beat until the mixture is fluffy and light.
Using a larger bowl, sift flour and baking powder together. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and baking powder. Its time to knead the mixture for 20 seconds. Place the mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Taking your mixture from the refrigerator, pinch off 1 inch pieces, rolling each in a rope then forming them into rings, or other twisted shapes.
Place the biscuits onto greased baking sheets. Brush each one with the beaten egg. Sprinkle some sesame seeds, then bake until golden brown for 10-12 minutes.
And we always bought new outfits to wear. Cute little dresses, new shoes and bags.
It was all a symbol of a new year ahead, a time to shed the old and begin again. So what if last year wasn't great, it was time to stand up and put your best foot forward. The game of life was ready for us.. if we were willing to play.
After the Saturday midnight Church service, we raced to my Grandmother's for a feast, eating all the things we had prepared. Finally, eating all the goodies we had been denied for 40 days.
Of course, as little girls we were tired. It was well past midnight. But seeing our cousins, Grandmother, Godmother and Godfather was enough to keep us going until the early hours.
The following day, the traditions continued. All the women of our family would stay at home, and greet all the male cousins, uncles and extended family, as they came to wish us a Happy Easter.
It took all day for my father to visit 40 plus houses and for us to see and serve over 100 relatives... but it was fun! Now you know why we needed so many eggs!
Here's the Kulich recipe for the Easter bread above -
Ingredients for the Kulich/Paska:
2 cups + 2 Tbsp warm milk (I used whole milk)
6 eggs, room temp
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, (1/2 lb or 226 grams), melted (if using salted butter, omit the salt)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
9 cups all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups raisins (white or brown)
For the Topping:
2 cups powdered Sugar
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Whisk 2 cups + 2 teaspoons of milk in a large mixing bowl witht the eggs, sugar, yeast, melted butter, sour cream, salt and vanilla. Whisk in 4 cups flour. Your batter will be thick like sour cream.
Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Leave for 2 hours in a warm place but not a hot oven. This will deactivate the yeast and it won't rise.
Add the remaining flour a cup at a time with a stiff silicone spatula. Your dough should be soft and not stick to your hands. Addthe raisins. Stir and cover again for another 2 hours.
Take the dough and divide into thirds. Place in greased tins. Cans work the best, or paper panattone molds. Place dough uncovered in 100˚F oven for 2 hours or until the molds are almost full. Remove.
Heat your oven to 350˚F and cook for 30-35 minutes until your kulich is golden. Allow to cool before removing them from the tins or wrappers. Its now time to cover with your topping.
Whisk powdered sugar with lemon juice, adding water if too thick. Pour it over each cooled Kulich.==========================================================
Cracking eggs, seeing familiar faces and catching up on life. Every year was a time capsule of memories. In between visits we prepared dinner for 28 sometimes more.
We do all these traditions to this day. This year is no different.
Which traditions are you keeping this year? Let me know... we will feature some of them in the next blog post.