Babka or Paska for Easter

This loaf was purchased at Weiland's Market in Clintonville Ohio
Babka or Paksa.  That's what's on the Reinecker's Bakery label.

Babka 

“the Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian,Ukrainian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Russian baba means “grandmother” or “old woman”, and as applied to the pastry probably refer to its shape, a tall cylinder, sometimes with corrugations resembling a skirt’s pleats.[1]

or Paska.

“Paska breads are a traditional element in the easter holidays of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Romania, Moldova, Georgia and parts of Bulgaria” 

“Paska is made with milk, butter, eggs, sugar, except in Romania, where the recipe most commonly includes sweet cream, cottage cheese and/or sour cream with eggs, sugar, raisins and rum.  An egg and water mixture is used as a glaze.”

 

I can tell you that it tasted delicious.  It is said to have a Brioche-like quality and there is a richness due to those moist golden raisins and the bread has just a hit of sweetness.  Add a little butter.  Mmmmm.

Here is a recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker for Paska Easter Bread and it has FIVE egg yolks.

Here is a recipe for Polish Babka Easter Bread from King Arthur’s Flour with three whole eggs.

 

Traditional King Cake for Mardi Gras

The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870.” Wikipedia   

 

This King Cake created at the Party Cake Shop in Brookline on the Boulevard where I got the Paczki last Thursday.

Here is a Traditional New Orleans King Cake Recipe made with yeast .- a brioche like dough https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/traditional-new-orleans-king-cake/

Apples to Apples on the Blog over the Years

A few days ago I posted Erika and two of the grandkids walking in the apple orchard.

Then Steve’s art on the mantel with the Granny Smith apple. 

Just for fun I did a google search – Apple and rutheh. Quite a few photos of apples or some form of apples appeared in the results.  Many apple photos  over the years of blogging. Some other fruit appeared and even some tomatoes as I scrolled down.  Here are a few examples of apple photos from previous posts.

There is the Before they Get to the Store post showing how Honey Crisps are grown in Washington.

 

An early blog post from August 2009   Anna is 15 now

Like a science experiment.  Drastic temperature change.       Anna (5) said “Get your camera and take a picture. You could win a prize!”

So this is what it looks like when “the bottom falls out”!

Cider making in North Carolina in the first photo and a Cider Press in Pennsylvania in second.  

Apple Butter Annie Oakley’s Kitchen Southside Farmer’s Market

 

https://rutheh.com/2013/11/08/half-apples-baked-in-balsamic-with-a-dot-of-butter/

Olive Oil Apple Juice and Tiki Torch Fuel


There is a guest blog from Wildflour Bakery in Alaska 

My sister in law’s Apple Pie in Washington

Real fruit and Fake fruit in Hardy Virginia.  https://rutheh.com/2017/09/09/apple-picking-and-farm-market-checkout-line/

Baking Sweet Potatoes in Cast Iron Skillet

Baking sweet potatoes in a cast iron skillet makes them extra delicious. These I cut in half as they were so big. A 400 degree oven. An hour or ’til fork inserted tells you otherwise.

The apples were added later. They were on my Wordless Wednesday this week and yes, that’s Irish butter in the center of each Granny Smith Half. No other seasoning.

Hungarian Nut Roll

Hungarian Nut Roll. A Pittsburgh Christmas tradition.

Hungarian Nut Roll video -Pittsburgh

https://youtu.be/mMQsI98tmEY

Post from five years ago 2013

Today Jaclyn and her sister Shannon baked nut rolls together, carrying on family tradition.

Their mother, Theresa, passed last February. (2013) This post is to remember Theresa, those who knew and loved her and to send hugs to Jaclyn and Shannon as they are missing their mom, especially at Christmas time.

Theresa was one of the four sisters in this slideshow (baking the pizelles)  showing the three sisters making nutroll in Pittsburgh- Linda, Georgeann and Theresa,  while the fourth sister Marlene communicated via SKYPE in Virginia.

You might remember the previous post of the 15 greased nut roll pans  where the retro recipe card is photographed in case you want to make them.

Marlene and I share grandchildren and her daughter Erika is married to my son Mark.

 

One of my favorite photos from long ago, taken by unknown photographer. Theresa, their mother Marion, Bride Linda, Marlene and Georgeann

https://rutheh.com/2013/03/01/a-mother-grandmother-sister-aunt-and-friend-remembering-theresa/

Patience is Required with Chocolate AND Cake from the Oven

Important to be patient. I’m not.

Melt chocolate slowly on the lowest heat, don’t scorch or burn. Ruin a lovely rich bar. Managed that step but………Oh no.

The cake stuck! Not sufficiently cooled when tried to extricate the cake from the pan. Even with buttered parchment paper. Cake tester broom below.

Glued together. Frosting saves the day. Butter and chocolate. No one even knows repairs were necessary.

Delicious.

Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table Benefit

Western Pennsylvania is noted for the wonderful wedding cookie tables.  Some regions of the country have never heard of a wedding cookie table let alone experience and devour the cookies.  Today my good friends and I drove in the teeming rain, alongside swollen and rising creeks, over hill and dale on winding roads, to get to this lovely event. We are so happy we did!

THE PITTSBURGH WEDDING COOKIE TABLE BOOK BENEFIT
Sunday, September 9
1—3 PM Connoquenessing Country Club

We went to taste the varieties of dozens of cookies to help in the “creation of a cookie table book in this benefit for VOICE (Butler’s Victim Outreach Intervention Center), Young Writers of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and Animal Friends.”
The three hosts were  “cookbook author Suzanne Martinson, of “The Fallingwater Cookbook” and retired food editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette”( who graciously answered many questions and who has initiated many cookie tables in other states) “portrait photographer Linda Mitzel of Linda Mitzel Photography and journalist/WPWP teacher consultant Jane Miller of The RUFF Writers of New Sun Rising, a new family/school/ neighborhood writing project.”

We had a wonderful afternoon sampling cookies and sipping tea and coffee or lemonade.  Someone baked adorable doggy cookies in the shapes of bones and doghouses, using pumpkin and peanut butter. Now dog cookies aren’t the usual offering at a wedding but appreciated as a welcome home treat for Fido. There were white bakery boxes to fill with cookies to take home. (Thanks Deb)

Thanks to Suzanne, Linda and Jane, for hosting a wedding cookie table afternoon.

I baked Esther Maiolo’s Pignoli Cookies and Mrs. Scarano’s Italian Strip Cookies

Pita Breadmaking at Pitaland Guest Blog

A couple of dear friends flew from Florida to Pittsburgh to see my art show and attend the closing reception. They’d gone online at home and arranged to go on a walking food tour of the Pittsburgh neighborhood, Brookline.

Yesterday, Shuey sent me the photos and captions. They really enjoyed the ‘Burgh Bits and Bites tour. There are tours in other neighborhoods,the Strip District, Bloomfield and Shadyside. In fact, two were already booked up and so they chose Brookline.

Shuey made it easy for me by numbering the photos and text.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #1

I’m sending individual pics to tell the story of how pita bread is made.  First the secret recipe dough is made fresh, formed into a biscuit of dough and comes out here where it makes a left turn and heads into a machine that flattens it out.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #2

After it’s flattened into a super thin pancake it makes a few turns and heads into the oven.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #3

In the oven for 22 seconds at 1200 degrees.  They are so thin entering the oven that I couldn’t even see them until about half way through they just materialize out of thin air in a second . . . like magic!  Out of the oven they continue their journey cooling off.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #4

The cooled pita breads drop off the conveyer onto a table where they are manually deflated and stacked then handed off to another worker who bags them up for shipment to stores in 14 states.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #5

This is Joe Cuchines, owner of Pitaland and two of his employees.  He came to America with 1 dollar in his pocket and . . . he’ll tell his story best.  

Pitaland History

Thank you Shuey for such a great guest blog. I’m going to have to take the tour.

Shuey was a guest blogger with his fabulous Barred Owl Photo in 2012 https://rutheh.com/2012/03/12/barred-owl-niceville-florida-guest-post/

Good Butter is Key

Using good butter to make rolled sugar cookies is the key to successful taste and texture.

Since today was the official birthday, Charlie took rocket and star shaped sugar cookies to the playground for his playgroup friends. Laura sliced up a baby watermelon, too. The hardest part is rolling out the chilled dough to an even thickness.

Here’s the recipe we used

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/10402/the-best-rolled-sugar-cookies/