Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

Recipe Search

Rhubarb Meringue Torte



Here is a springtime favorite...with a press-in-the-pan shortbread crust that makes this dessert 'easier than pie'! 

Crust:
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  1. Combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.
  2. Pat into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan, and bake in 350 F oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Cool slightly.
Custard:
  • 6 egg yolk
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into small pieces
  1. Beat egg yolks, cream, sugar, flour and salt together.
  2. Fold in rhubarb and pour over baked crust.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes (until custard is set).
Meringue:
  • 6 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Beat egg whites with salt and vanilla until foamy.
  2. Add sugar gradually, and beat until stiff.
  3. Spread over custard and bake at 350° F until golden (about 10 minutes).

Serves 12-15

*This is a large recipe...can be halved and made in an 8 inch square pan.

Easter Preparations


Tomorrow is Easter and by now you have likely colored your eggs, set your menu, have your groceries purchased,  made your Paska and have also thought about how you will set your table.  

We had a sibling dinner on Thursday so I am able to show you what our Easter table will look like again tomorrow.  The difference on Sunday will be two leaves added to accommodate the whole family.  



If you want to know how to fold bunny ear napkins... Martha Stewart will show you how!



My favourite flower in spring is Grape Hyacinth that can be found in garden stores in our area this time of year.  In the photo above you can see that I popped a plant into an egg cup and added a label to create a place card. 



These wooden boxes keep changing with the seasons. 
I've lined the wooden boxes with plastic and filled them with dirt.  
It will be an easy cleanup when I want to transplant the English Daisies and Grape Hyacinth outside after Easter. 


I've enjoyed playing around with natural ways to color eggs. 
There is no lack of ideas on Pinterest if you want to know which vegetables are best to use for natural coloring!  


  If you want to avoid food colorings all together, this is an easy idea.  I used a white pen to draw designs on our brown eggs. 



If you are running short on time and can't make it to the garden store, try to use whatever is growing in your yard. One year,  I picked some moss and some weeds with tiny flowers and popped them into these eggs cups to hold the place cards.


If you haven't started baking Paska yet,  I'm happy to tell you it doesn't take as long as you think it might.   Here is the recipe.   

 All you need is
  • an orange
  • a lemon 
  • milk
  • butter
  • yeast
  • flour 
  • salt  
  • sugar. 
It will take about 1/2 - 3/4 hour to mix up the dough, then it will need to rise for an hour.  After it has risen, shape into buns or loaves and then let rise about one more hour.  Bake loaves for about 25 minutes or buns about 15 minutes.  From start to finish you can have Paska in under four hours.  While the Paska is rising, set your table, color some eggs, make the icing and put together your Easter baskets!  





Whatever you do to prepare for Easter, we wish you a most wonderful day celebrating what matters most, the risen Christ!  

Happy Easter!

Easter in Ellen's Kitchen


Today in my kitchen we are preparing our Easter Bread. What many of you call Paska we call Kulich. This is my mom’s Russian Easter Bread Recipe that I quartered because the amount she would make is quite daunting for me. We have cut it in half in years past. Now what you need to know about my mom and recipes is that she ends up tweaking them from year to year so this recipe is for her Kulich from 2001. I have a 2009 and 2012 recipe, too. This one was easier to quarter. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes. This always seems to be an all day process in my kitchen and while the dough is rising have some lunch or tea with your baking crew and when the bread is safely cooling go out to dinner and celebrate another year of your success in making Paska/Kulich. My baking crew this year will be my sister and adult kids. Here's some of last year's crew.


Ingredients:

2 pkgs rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
4 egg yolks
1 egg
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1-1/2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half a lemon
About 2-1/2 lbs of flour, sifted (about 7 cups)
Vegetable oil to coat the rising dough
6 to 7 one pound or two pound cans for baking. You can use loaf pans or large muffin tins if you don’t have the cans to bake them in.

Add yeast to the lukewarm water and milk and sugar in a stainless steel bowl.
Make sure the liquids are lukewarm.
Let this mixture dissolve and sit.
Beat the egg yolks and egg together.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture slowly mixing to combine and then beat to incorporate well.
Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm, not hot, and slowly incorporate into the creamed mixture.
Mix in the vanilla and brandy.
Add the yeast mixture and the salt and beat with a mixer.
Continue beating and add the lemon zest.
Continue beating and add the sifted flour about a cup at a time.
Once you cannot beat the dough any longer using the mixer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the remaining flour by kneading the dough.
The dough should be kneaded very well, approximately 10 minutes.
You should knead the dough until you can cut it with a knife and it is smooth without any holes.
Place the dough in a stainless steel bowl.
Take some oil and pour a little on the dough and spread it all over the dough.
Make sure to turn the dough so it is coated evenly.
Cover with plastic wrap right on the dough and a dish towel on top of that.
Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise, (My sister usually puts it into the oven that has been warmed slightly).

While the dough is rising (this can take an hour or longer) prepare the coffee cans (1 lb. and 2 lb. cans are the best) Cut circles the size of the bottom of the cans out of wax paper. You will need four circles per can. Make sure the cans are well greased. Put the 4 circles in the bottom of the cans.



Use a empty and clean coffee can like the ones above. If there is a label make sure to take it off. If the can has a lip at the top you’ll need to use a can opener to cut the lip off the can. I hope these pictures will make the process easier to understand.
Cut sheets of wax paper long enough to line the sides of the can and tall enough to be 2″ above the rim of the can. Use shortening to seal the ends of the paper.
You will take a portion of dough about 1/3 the size of the can. Knead it and form it into a smooth ball that you can easily drop into the can.
Let the dough rise again inside the can until it is at least double in size.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top.(approximately 30 minutes or more depending on your oven.)
Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely standing up. Some people cool them on their sides turning them often to keep their shape. We found this time that they cool just fine and keep their shape standing up so we didn’t bother with that step!

P1010130



We got seven loaves from this recipe, some taller and some shorter.

We like to document the better results we get and hope always to improve our techniques from year to year.

To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes, Seernaya paska. Our first cookbook has the recipe in it.

2014-03-027

When the bread is ready to serve you can make a simple powdered sugar thin frosting to top the bread with and then add sprinkles!



Are you preparing for Easter?

To see Lovella's famous Paska recipe that brought us together and inspired the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog click here.

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 for 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 this tradition will carry on.

Paska was baked the Saturday before Easter in my childhood home, and on Easter Sunday we enjoyed the nicely decorated fresh paska. Though it is often baked 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!

 

Macarons with Rhubarb Strawberry Filling



First of all, I would not attempt to make macarons without a kitchen scale. A kitchen scale is not expensive and I also use it weighing Paska loaves to French Bread loaves for even baking.
You will just need to zero out your scale after you put a small bowl on it and then you can pour in your almond flour until you have 100 grams and then use another small bowl, zero out the weight and weigh out your powdered/icing sugar.  

I do not weigh my eggs.  I use eggs fresh from our farm and haven't found that I need to age them ahead of time.

You can use any filling you prefer, I love using heavy cream that has been whipped and very slightly sweetened. I use a whipping cream stabilizer so that the cream stays firm.  You can use a bit of instant pudding to have the same result.  

I make my recipe small so that I am only baking one pan.  That way, if I want to make different colours, I am not trying to divide the batch up to add food colouring.  

You can use a macaron pan but I use a heavy cookie sheet with no sides.  I used a sharpie pen to draw 42 little circles onto the pan. I put a sheet of parchment paper over top and then pipe my macaron batter evenly using the template I can see through the parchment.  After you have made macarons for a while, the size will become second nature but at first, it is helpful to follow a shape to make them even in size.

The last piece of advice I have is that if at first, you don't succeed, try it again.  Mine didn't turn out the first time and I've had some less than photo-worthy macarons through the years but I enjoyed the challenge of making macarons that are as beautiful as they are delicious. 

  • 100 grams almond flour (ground almonds)  about 1 cup
  • 100 grams icing/powdered sugar
  • 2 medium egg whites
  • 2 grinds sea salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a drop or two of liquid food colouring of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to 3oo F (not convection)
  2. Run the almond flour and icing sugar through a sieve into a large bowl. Stir it together to make sure it is well blended.  Discard any bits of almond that didn't fall through the sieve.  Estimate the amount you have discarded and add that amount of ground almonds into the sieve to make up for the amount you are discarding. 
  3. In another very clean glass bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the two egg whites until foamy.  Add the food colouring. Slowly begin to add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are thick and glossy.  Whipped egg whites should not move when the bowl is tipped. 
  4. Transfer the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the whites into the almond mixture.  Fold the two together just until the batter falls from the spatula in a wide ribbon.  
  5. Spoon the batter into a piping bag that has a 1/4 inch circle opening. 
  6. After you have piped out all your macarons (this recipe will make 42 circles) give the pan a few good taps on the counter to help settle the batter and to release any air bubbles under the surface.
  7. Let the macarons sit until they are no longer tacky and feel dry to the touch. This could take about 30 minutes.  If the macarons have a little tip on them, gently press it down.  
  8. Bake the macarons 8 minutes, open the oven to release the steam, shut the oven again and bake another 8 minutes or until the macarons feel firm.  
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before trying to move them or trying to fill them. 
  10. Fill with your favourite buttercream or the filling below
Rhubarb Compote with Strawberry Cream  Filling
  • 2 cups  chopped red rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minute tapioca
  1. Combine rhubarb, sugar and tapioca and allow to sit 15 minutes.
  2. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until the rhubarb has become tender and the tapioca has thickened the sauce. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Strawberry Cream
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry gelatin/jello
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package Dr Oetkers Whip Cream stabilizer or 1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding
  1. Dissolve gelatin and boiling water in a custard cup (or similar sized bowl). Stir until all the gelatin has dissolved.  Allow gelatin to cool to room temperature before adding to the whipping cream.
  2. Beat heavy cream and sugar and stabilizer/instant pudding in a medium bowl.  As the cream starts to thicken, add the room temperature gelatin and beat until the cream has thickened.
  3. Put the Strawberry Cream into a piping bag with a star tip.
To Assemble
  1. Match the macarons into teams of two. Keep the best macarons for the top)
  2. Put a dab of Rhubarb Compote in the middle of half of the macarons and pipe the strawberry cream over top.
  3. Put the matching macaron top over the filling and gently press together.  Refrigerate up to 24 hours or freeze.  They freeze beautifully.  
Macarons filled with buttercream (icing sugar and butter) will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.  





Skillet Spanish Rice


My Mom used to make this for Saturday lunch. 
 She didn't really have a recipe so I've had to try each time to recreate it.
 Recently I made it again and this time I wrote down the ingredients so I could share it on the blog. As with many casserole or skillet meals, 
you can adjust the ingredients according to what you have in the fridge.
 The main thing to remember is that the rice gets its flavour by cooking in the tomato sauce.
  • 1 pound. hamburger
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2  green pepper chopped
  • 1/2  red pepper chopped
  • 1 stalk  celery chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 28 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 4-5 mushrooms, chopped (opt.)
Garnish
  • 1/2 cup each cheddar and mozzerella cheese, grated
  • corn chips
  1. Break up hamburger in an electric frying pan or a deep skillet over medium heat, stirring until hamburger is browned.
  2. Drain fat and return hamburger to pan.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except zucchini.
  4. Cover skillet tightly and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in zucchini, replace cover and cook until liquid is completely absorbed into the rice.
  6. Sprinkle cheddar and mozzerella cheeses over the top and cover until the cheese has melted.
  7. Garnish with corn chips around the edge and serve right from the skillet.