Nadia’s Kulich and Seernaya Paska

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. Here’s the link to the original. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes.

Ingredients:

2 packets 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 pounds 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.

It is now time to 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 Crisco to seal the ends of the paper.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over.
Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. Punch it down again.
Now the dough is ready to put into the prepared cans.
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!

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To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes. For my mom’s Sernaya Paska (cheese spread) recipe click here.

We like to serve the kulich with the spread and strawberries.

This blast from the past was probably our first Easter in Washington State, 1989.

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I’m not sure if I’ll be trying this Kulich/Paska recipe quartered at the end of this week. I’ll let you know if I do and how many coffee can shaped loaves it makes. We got seven loaves out of this recipe although we shorted some of the cans.

Are you preparing for Easter?

Sweet and Salty Snack

This sweet and salty snack is hard to resist. The ingredients are few and the method is simple. This is also a Gluten Free recipe depending on the corn chips you purchase.

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 package of corn chips (10-1/2 oz.)

Prepare a 15 x 10 sheet pan lightly greasing it. Distribute the corn chips evenly in the pan.
In a medium sized pot cook the sugar and corn syrup until it bubbles and the sugar is completely dissolved. Take pot off stove top and blend in the peanut butter. Pour the blended sugar, corn syrup, peanut butter mixture over the corn chips evenly. Let it cool and enjoy!

Best enjoyed soon after making it.

Creamy Pear Bake

Our internet is acting weird right now so I’ll have to postpone posting some great photos from our family weekend. We are having a wonderful time and enjoying so many great photos from Auntie Lolo. In the meantime here’s a recipe to enjoy. Happy President’s Day Weekend here in the USA and Happy Family Day in Canada!

This is a simple recipe with a nice creamy result. If you really enjoy creamy, you can serve it with ice cream or whip cream, too.

Creamy Pear Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups cored and sliced fresh pears ( I did not peel mine but you could if you prefer)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare a medium sized baking dish.
  3. Mix sugar, flour and salt.
  4. Gently toss and incorporate this mixture with the pears.
  5. Mix the sour cream and extracts together.
  6. Add this mixture to the pears and gently toss till incorporated.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  8. Mix the topping ingredients till crumbly.
  9. Dot the top of the pear mixture with the topping.
  10. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the topping is browned and mixture is bubbling.

Stepping Back 100 Years!

We have some very talented people at our church who can transform a gym into a great themed venue. Others come up with a menu and cook and serve a nice dinner with dessert to 90 of us. The cast of the murder mystery did a great job, too. We had to find out who killed Chuckles and how they did it. There were several puzzles to solve to get more clues. One table of 8 got all the answers correct and won gift cards to small businesses in our town.

At ‘Carossino’s’ in ‘Chicago’ we enjoyed Cherry Spritzers, a plated salad, cheesy bread, stuffed shells, meatballs with sauce and a lovely triple dessert.

To get into Carossino’s for the evening we walked through a back alley (a transformed hallway in our church) through a phone booth with a false door. We knocked on the false door and were ready with our password to gain entrance.

Photo fail…I forgot to get a photo of the back alley and phone booth!! If photos from our church get posted I’ll ‘borrow’ some to add to this post. Many of the 90 of us were dressed for the 1920’s era.

By the way, it was Blondie who killed Chuckles.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Butter Pecan Ice Cream Pie

This is a make ahead dessert that will finish off any meal well. It’s rich and creamy with a nice crunch. Quick and easy to prepare but it needs a good three hours to set well before serving.
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Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 lightly baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 cup Butter Pecan Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 package (6-serving) instant pudding-vanilla flavor
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine brown sugar, butter and nuts in saucepan and heat until the butter is melted.
  3. Pour this mixture into the lightly baked pie shell and bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, cool.
  4. Blend milk and ice cream in a medium sized bowl thoroughly.
  5. Add the pudding mix to the blended ice cream and milk.
  6. Beat slowly at lowest speed of electric mixer until blended for one minute.
  7. Pour immediately into prepared and cooled pie shell.
  8. Chill in refrigerator until set, approx. 3 hours.
  9. Garnish with whipped cream and additional nuts, if desired.
  10. Serves 4-8 depending on appetite or sweet tooth.

I posted this back in 2016 on the MGCC Blog and wanted to include it on my own.

You can choose a different flavor of ice cream for this recipe.

Baking and Snowmageddon!

For Katie’s birthday Addy and JJ helped me mix up the cake.

Thank you to Laura for capturing the moments.

Macarons ~ a small round cake with a meringue-like consistency, made with egg whites, sugar, and powdered almonds and consisting of two halves sandwiching a creamy filling.

Our son Dan surprised us all with his perfected Macarons for us to try. They were amazing!

We had our first snowstorm of 2022 starting late Sunday night into Monday the 3rd of January. It snowed all day on Monday. We shoveled off the deck but kept a section to measure our snow falls. Our neighbor plowed our front drive up to our garage on Monday and for that we are grateful. Here are photos of our snow piles!

The photo above is just for perspective. It was taken on Christmas. Notice how far up off the snow laden deck Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus are.

Here was the snowfall from early Monday morning with Mary just barely visible.

After we shoveled off the deck.

We have an accumulation of about 20 inches out in our yard right now. This is the most snow we’ve had accumulate since we moved here in 2018. Other years the snow melted off in between storms. This year is different with temps low enough that the snow has not melted off. We have more snow coming.

Snow hats all around!

Hope 2022 is starting off well for you!

 

Apple Pirog

In the Russian community I grew up in we called our sweet and savory sheets of yeast dough baked and filled with fruit or cabbage or meat, Pirog пиро́г (make sure to roll the r when you pronounce it).

This recipe will make enough dough for 2 small cookie sheet sized pastries. You can cut the recipe in half if you aren’t feeding a crowd or giving some away.

Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages yeast (each packet is approx. 2-1/4 teaspoons yeast)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
about 6 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dissolve yeast in warm water with the 1 tablespoon sugar.
Warm the sour cream carefully to lukewarm.
Mix the sour cream, butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and yeast mixture.
Start adding the flour 1 cup at a time till all mixed in and your dough comes away from the bowl and starts to form a ball. You might need a little more than 6 cups of flour.
Knead the dough on a floured surface.
Place the dough in a bowl in a warm place away from draft and let it rise twice punching in between rises. This could take up to 2 hours.
Divide the dough in half. Work with one half at a time if you are filling 2 small cookie sheets.
On a floured board or surface roll the dough out to the size of your small cookie sheet (approx. 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1) The dough should be 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.
Carefully transfer the dough to the prepared cookie sheet (greased) and pat the dough down to fit to the edges and up the edges.
Fill the prepared dough with your choice of filling.
Bake in 350 degree oven for approx 40 minutes or until dough is a golden brown.
Cool before cutting in small portions and serving.

Filling:
4 cups fruit – fresh, previously frozen, or canned
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons corn starch

Bring all the ingredients to a boil and then let cool before spreading evenly over the dough.
I added nuts on top of the filling but that is optional.
I used apple slices that I chopped into bite sized pieces.
*This filling recipe was enough for one cookie sheet of the dough. Double it if making 2 cookie sheets.

 

I had some roasted pecans and decided to sprinkle them on top before baking the Pirog пиро́г.

 The finished product. I’m a novice at baking with yeast doughs and kneading dough but slowly but surely I’m practicing my way into a comfort zone to try these recipes my mom made for larger gatherings. I’ll share some of her savory Pirog recipes in the future using a slightly different dough recipe. My mom’s Pirog usually had another layer of dough on top of the filling that was pinched to the bottom layer of dough. Then you would cut decorative slits on the upper dough before baking. She also made more decorative tops like you would on a pie with zig zag designs. 

I’m sorry that I never took photos of our mom’s creations.

My sister Vera sent me this photo of her pirog that she added the top to. Thank you Vera! This sheet pie/pirog was made with Apricot filling. Vera also made the apricot filling.

Sweet Hodgepodge

Sweet Southern livin Jo has come up with questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge.
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1. Let’s start things off right…Wednesday is National Dessert Day. What are we having? How often do you  make/serve dessert? Store bought or from scratch?
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We can have my signature Creamy Cheesecake, pictured above…
or a family favorite; Peanut Butter/Butterscotch Rice Krispy bars
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or in the cake realm; Another family favorite, Applesauce Spice Cake.
We added a new favorite in 2020, Strawberry Ice Cream Cake.
Lately I only make a dessert when we are having company. I made this Ice Cream Cake yesterday for dessert after our Raclette meal that we introduced to my brother’s family.
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I like scratch desserts but am not opposed to store bought. In fact see question #3 for something I always buy instead of bake.
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2. Slow as molasses, icing on the cake, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, have your cake and eat it too, half-baked idea, that takes the cake…which phrase might be applied to something in your life in recent days? Explain.
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I’m going with icing on the cake. Since my brother’s family (originally from Texas) landed in the Pacific Northwest on their RV journeys around the USA some other members of our family gathered here, too, and we were able to have a mini family reunion of sorts.

My sister Kathy sitting to my left is now our matriarch. Four out of 8 siblings plus two spouses and eleven cousins rounded out the group for a few days of food and fun.

3. Something that’s ‘easy as pie’ for you to do?

Sticking with the pie theme here I’m confessing that making pie is not in my wheelhouse. It is not something easy for me and I choose to avoid it by buying good quality pies in the frozen section of the grocery store and popping them in my oven! So ‘easy as pie’ is not a phrase that pertains to me.

4. Are you someone who likes to ‘sugarcoat’ news you think might not be well received, or are you more of a tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may? Do you like to receive your news the same way you give it?

Please don’t sugar coat it. Get it out now and let me know what’s up! I’m a tell it like it is person. Don’t beat around the bush, either.

5. Something you did recently that made you feel like a ‘smart cookie’?

Driving for over 6 hours by myself from Bothell to Colville with stops at the Home Depot and Costco in Spokane. I was smart to bring a book on CD to listen to. That makes the hours go by quicker for me and keeps me awake. For this trip I listened to “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe read by Michael York, delightful.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

 

Looking forward to our Western Larches (Tamarack) to turn golden.

October is a busy busy month here at Our Country Bungalow. Still ahead is our annual family hunting weekend and this year we are throwing in our first professional family photo shoot. It’s been fun coming up with a clothing theme so we look a bit coordinated. For the majority of the days in October all of our guestrooms are full to the brim.

Pear Custard Pie

I found the recipe for this Pear Custard Pie at https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/pear-custard/

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 firm pears of any variety cored, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
  • Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 inch round pan with cooking spray.
  • Arrange the pear slices in the pan.
  • Put the butter, eggs, milk, salt, granulated sugar, flour and vanilla into a blender; process until smooth.
  • Pour the batter over the pears. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the custard is golden and firm to the touch. Dust the top with powdered sugar before serving.

It is a recipe that was very successful and I’ll make it again. Enjoy. Bon Appetit!

Dwell

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

From Paul in Ephesians to Spurgeon good prayers to pray and to dwell on and in.

We have been enjoying our niece, nephew and grand nephew and grand niece here and are busy from morning until night. No time for the computer. I will catch up hopefully on Saturday.

This dessert keeps making the rounds.