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Paska


















There is no other recipe that has found me more friends than this one. Most of the girls who share this blog with me. ..found my personal blog by "googling Paska". The recipe originated with my husband's Grandmother .. .but I made it simpler by utilizing my blender and thin peeling my citrus.

The aroma just amazing .. from the time you blend the citrus until the last loaf has cooled.
You will need 4 or 5 loaf pans or you can free form little twists or use muffin tins just adjust your baking time, and watch the oven closely.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, put your yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit 10 minutes. 
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 medium orange
  1. Take your citrus and peel it very thin. I use a vegetable peeler. You don't want to use any of the white parts of the peel. Put the thinly sliced peel in the blender.
  2. Once you have removed and discarded the white pith of the citrus. Chop your lemon and orange, removing all the seeds. Add the chopped lemon and orange to the blender.
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of real butter
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts or do it in a saucepan on the stove.
  2. Once it is melted add it to the blender. Start the blender .. and begin to puree.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Start the blender on high and allow the citrus, peel and milk, butter mixture to run for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, sugar, and salt.
  3. Continue to run the blender for another minute or two until very smooth.
  4. Measure the milk/citrus and sugar mixture it should be about 4 1/2 cups. If you have a bit more or less that is fine. .you will just adjust the flour likewise.
  5. Pour the mixture, along with the yeast mixture into a large bowl .. or the bowl of your kitchen machine, which has a dough hook.
  6. Add flour one cup at a time until you have a smooth soft dough it will be sticky. I think about 7 cups of flour should be right. . but it will depend on the size of your eggs and the size of your lemon and orange. With a plastic bowl, it is easy to tell when the dough has enough flour because it will stop sticking to the side of the bowl but with a metal bowl you really do need to stop the mixer often and touch your dough before adding additional flour. It really is best to stop the machine once it is getting close. . and knead the last bit of flour by hand. . .a little at a time until it is smooth. Do not add more than 7 1/2 cups flour allow it to remain sticky. If you measured the milk mixture and had 4 1/2 cups 7 cups of flour will be enough sticky but enough.
  7. The amount of flour is a guide. .if your dough is still super sticky add a little more flour a dusting at a time. Look at the picture in the collage of my dough .. .that is how it should look. It should be able to hold its shape. There will be several factors in how your dough could be different than mine, the flour you purchase or how you fill your cup of flour.  (I scoop and shake to level). It could be that you have slightly more liquid. Don't despair if you think it is still too sticky, slowly add a dusting more, turn the dough on the counter and knead until you are out of flour again and then give it another dusting and continue this way until it looks silky and is elastic.  (like mine in the picture).
  8. After kneading it by hand or with the machine for about 8 - 10 minutes, transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled. This should take about an hour. .to an hour and a half.
  9. At this point, give it a bit of a punch down and let rest at least 10 minutes or up to another hour.
  10. During this time prepare your pans. I spray mine with Pam. Make loaves and let rise until doubled in bulk .. .or about an hour to an hour and a half.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 325 F. Bake the loaves approximately 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size of your pans.
  12. Gently remove from pans and place on cooling racks.  Once they are completely cool,  put them in the freezer unless you are eating them the same day. 
Paska Icing
  • 1 cup of soft real butter
  • 4 pasteurized egg whites (young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid raw egg whites)  I often use egg white powder and water.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • enough icing sugar to make a soft icing. It will harden again in the fridge.
  1. Beat all together until light and smooth....and spread on each slice .. .and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Hot Cross Buns


 I first shared this recipe for Easter 2012 and am reposting them for Flashback Friday since Easter is only a week away!  My Mom made them every Easter  and we ate them still warm from the oven on Thursday before Good Friday.  If there were any left...they would be our breakfast on Good Friday.

These lightly spiced buns are soft and moist and perfect with a hot cup of tea.
This is a smaller batch.  It would make 24 buns in 2 9X13 pans...or  you can make part of the dough into small loaves which you can slice up.  It toasts up wonderfully.
  • 5 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups candied diced fruit and citrus peel (sometimes called Glace Cake Mix) found in the baking aisle
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast has puffed up.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk and butter until the butter begins to melt. 
  3. Add the sugar and the eggs to the yeast mixture and the milk and butter after.  (Be sure not to add very hot milk to the yeast and egg mixture.  It should be warm but not hot to touch.
  4. Mix 1 cup of the flour with the candied fruit and stir well.
  5. Add several cups of flour and the nutmeg and vanilla to the liquid ingredients and then add the fruit. 
  6. Knead until it forms a ball.  Don't over knead.  It should come together but it will still be sticky because of the fruit.  Knead using a bit of additional flour for a few minutes.
  7. Put into a large bowl where it can double in size.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise.
  8. Once it has doubled, form into buns and place them in greased pans.  Take a very sharp knife and cut an X across each bun. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled and very light.
  9. Preheat oven to 325 Convection or 350 F regular bake and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Mix honey glaze in microwave safe bowl: 
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. water
  1. Microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Brush over buns.
  3. Pipe your favorite butter icing across each bun in the X's. 
    


Paska Buns

Paska (based on the Hebrew word for passover) is a rich, citrussy sweet bread...baked in loaves or rolls of all shapes and sizes and decorated with icing and sprinkles. It is a traditional Easter bread...baked by many generations before me. There are enough paska lovers in our family...that I think tradition that will carry on!

The Saturday before Easter was paska baking day in my childhood home.  It was mostly baked in loaf pans...and on Easter Sunday we enjoyed the nicely decorated fresh paska.  Though I still bake some in loaf form, we prefer paska buns over here.  They are easy to transport and share with friends and neighbours.  The following recipe uses instant yeast for simplicity.
 

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 small lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 small orange, zest and juice
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons instant yeast *
  • 7-7 1/2 cups flour , approximately
  1. Scald milk and butter in microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir to melt butter.
  2. Grate rind of lemon and orange. Then squeeze juice of each.
  3. Combine milk, butter, lemon and orange in a large bowl.  
  4. Add beaten eggs, sugar and salt.  Mix well. 
  5. Combine instant yeast with 4 cups flour and add to liquids.  Beat until smooth.
  6. Continue adding flour, one cup at a time until the dough no longer sticky, but still quite soft.
  7. Knead for several minutes.
  8. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.
  9. Form small balls (the size of dinner rolls) and place on well greased pans.
  10. Allow to rise once more until doubled in size about 1 1/2 hours. 
  11. Bake at 325°F for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
  12. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  13. Frost with the icing of your choice...and top with sprinkles. 
Yield: 3 dozen paska buns
 * If you have active dry yeast, you might want to use Lovella's recipe, which is very similar to this one.

Yeast doughs that are heavy on milk, butter and eggs tend to rise a little slower.  Have patience!

 

Beef Taco Bake


This family sized casserole is a perfect weeknight dinner and you will hope for leftovers for burritos or enchiladas another night.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup raw Spanish rice (I use Uncle Ben's)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons chopped canned jalapenos (according to personal preference)
  • 1 can tomato soup plus 2 cans water
  • 2 - 3 cups shredded marble or Mexican blend cheese
  • sliced avocado, salsa, sour cream and corn chips to serve alongside
Method:
  1. Pour rice, black beans (drained and rinsed)  and corn into into a 9x13 inch or similar type baking dish.
  2. In a skillet, brown meat. Add seasonings, jalapeno, soup and water.
  3. Pour meat mixture on top of rice, beans and corn.
  4. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350° F, then add cheese, cover and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. (first time making this, check to see if the rice is done after 30 minutes. If not, add a tad more liquid and continue cooking until done)
  5. Serve with choices of corn chips, salsa, sour cream and avocado 
Leftovers:
  • re-heat and fill large flour tortilla wraps, warmed, along with desired additions such as lettuce, cheese, salsa etc. OR
  • spoon into small flour tortillas, roll up and lay side by side in baking dish. Cover center of row with enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake 20 - 30  minutes at 350° F (covered)


Beef Stir Fry


Stir Fry is a good dish to make when you have things in your fridge like a half a pepper, a few mushrooms and the end of a zucchini .
When we buy a whole beef tenderloin to cut into steaks, I save the narrow ends for this stir fry.
This recipe can also be used for a pork stir fry.

For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Spice
Stir fry ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided 
  • sliced mushrooms
  • sliced onions
  • red or yellow pepper strips
  • zucchini, cut into strips (discard the soft centre)
Sauce ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • reserved marinade
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold orange juice
Method:
  1. Marinate meat for at least an hour - not more than 3 hours
  2. Drain meat, reserving the marinade, and saute' in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil just until meat is browned.
  3. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan.
  5. Add onions and mushrooms and peppers and stir fry until vegetables are almost tender.
  6. Add zucchini strips and meat.
  7. Add Hoisin sauce, balsamic vinegar and orange juice and as much of the marinade as needed to make the amount of sauce you prefer.
  8. Cover and let cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
  9. Mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch with a little more cold orange juice and stir into the sauce in the pan. Cook until sauce thickens. If needed, you can add more cornstarch and juice to thicken it to your liking.
  10. Serve immediately over rice or thin noodles.


Tapioca Dream Pudding


Tapioca pudding takes me back to eighth grade Home Ec, one of the first things we learned to cook. More recently, my sister mentioned making it for friends for whom it is a favorite dessert. I just had to go back to it. The lightness in this recipe comes from beating the egg white separately and adding it at the end.

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, separated
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons Minit Tapioca
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla 
Method:

  1. In a 4 cup glass bowl, beat egg white, adding in 1 tablespoon sugar as it gets foamy.
  2. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. In saucepan, whisk egg yolk and 3 tablespoon sugar. Add salt and gradually stir in milk and then tapioca. Let sit 5 minutes.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from heat.
  5. Immediately, with hand mixer on low speed, slowly add hot tapioca mixture into beaten egg white OR fold beaten egg whites into hot tapioca pudding with spatula. Add vanilla. 
  6. Stir after 20 minutes and scoop into dessert bowls. Serve warm or chilled, plain or with fruit. Yields 3 - 4 small servings
Note- naturally gluten free