Paska with almonds.

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Laura Tisoncik has caught on that I can bake now, so she gave me this recipe for paska with almonds. Paska is apparently a Slovak Easter food. I am not sure if I got the shape right, because all the combination of the recipe and her told me was to braid the bread and make it into a ring, but a ring that was so close together that it might grow together as it baked. And I’ve never seen paska before.

Here’s how it turned out:

a squarish-round bread with nuts on top

(Edit) Here’s how the second one turned out:

a round bread with nuts on top

Here’s the recipe from the book she lent me:

PASKA (With Almonds)
(Another Specialty for the Easter basket in Eastern Slovakia)

1 cake yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs well beaten
3 cups sifted flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon blanched almonds

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add to lukewarm milk. Add butter, lemon rind, sugar, and almond extract and mix well. Add flour and eggs. Knead until smooth and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Then knead again. Divide dough into three parts. Roll each portion into a long strip. Braid three strips into roll. Place on buttered pan, cover with towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk again. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle top with thin slivers of almonds and bake in moderate oven for about 30 minutes.

She informed me that “moderate oven” meant 350, so I went 340 since my oven is too hot. And we used crushed almonds instead of sliced almonds, because that’s what we had.

This is from the Slovak Catholic Sokol Cook Book, Third Edition from 1976.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

12 responses »

  1. It looks great. Did it taste good? Bread is a hard thing to cook, what with all the chemical interactions with the yeast and having to have it just at the right temperature to rise. Congratulations on a successful loaf. I will have to try it. I love making bread. I have a bread machine, but find that hand made bread always comes out better than those loaves cooked in the machine.

  2. I’m currently in the process of making another one, this time I’m going to try to bake it on a flat pan instead of one with sides and see how that changes it. (I’m on the second rise right now.) The tiny bit I’ve tried of the first one (from a part that broke off on the pan :-/ ) tasted good.

    Oddly, bread does not confuse me at all. I don’t find it too complicated or difficult. I don’t understand why I don’t, because I suck at chemistry and I suck at regular cooking.

    I really like this particular dough because it’s not as thick as a lot of the dough I’ve been making before, and it’s interesting this way, still thinner and stickier but easier to deal with in some ways too.

  3. I think what I like about bread, by the way, is how patient yeast is as opposed to a lot of other foods. It doesn’t demand that you do something right this instant generally, and doesn’t make you sit there and monitor it every second to make sure that it stays within some kind of vague parameters that don’t even make sense in the first place. It gives you a lot of leeway, and a lot of time, that most cooking doesn’t.

    (This is probably also why I can usually make blender-made preparations. I’m told I might be able to use a crock pot too but I haven’t tried yet.)

    I am now, however, impatient, because Laura did not get enough sleep last night, and is napping, and I can’t bring the paska over until she wakes up, and I don’t know when that will be. So I can’t eat it yet, but have to sit with it sitting around in the oven smelling good. And I have no more butter so I can’t make more bread today unless I find a butterless recipe in any of these books.

  4. I love Easter breads. I made an Italian braided bread for today..you put five dyed eggs on the top and it is braided , too. The whole house smells so good from the bread. We are a big family, so it one bread does not last very long.

  5. Was Laura happy with the result? I want some!! I have to go make a sweet egg bread now… I cheat, I use a bread maker, but I don’t buy a mix.

  6. Your paska looks pretty accurate (and delicious, I might add). Most of the ones I’ve seen have some sort of cross shape on top. They are supposed to be kind of irregular around the edges.

  7. The name of it is interesting. In Finland (Carelia and Eastern Finland originally, has spread to become a mainstream national thing starting about 60 years ago or so) there’s an Easter dish called “pasha”, which is a kind of very rich, sweet curd.

    Any linguists out there that can confirm my suspicion that both names ultimately have to do with Hebrew (or Jiddish?), as in “Pesach”?

  8. I’m not a linguist. Will a qualified guess do? The Finns got the name from the Russians, who got it from the Greeks. (Paska is the Greek word for Easter.)

  9. More properly, the Greek word pascha translates to Passover and is inherited from the Hebrew “pesach”.

    Also as a note of interest: there appears to be a dialect crossover of terms for this type of bread. For my mother’s church and family (OCA), paska refers to the cheese curd dish, and kulich is the term for this bread.

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