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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Eastern European Cooking / Sharing Easter
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    Sharing Easter

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    Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:12 pm
    Forum Host

    Many of us have past or current memories of Easters shared with families. Some of our Easters are rich in Eastern Europe heritage. Please take a moment to share with us the traditions of your holiday. Tell us your memories, what was for dinner and include recipes if possible.

    I will start with a Polish Easter.
    Easter dinner, like all meals, was served at the big table in my Grandmother's kitchen. I could tell it was Easter by the glasses of port wine set on the table. My serving was in a jelly glass mixed half and half with water.
    The first course was Easter Soup a white thin broth made by cooking the kielbasa in water. We were each served a bowl of broth. We then took an Easter egg, peeled it and cut it up into our bowls. Then we cut up kielbasa and added that. Some people added horsradish and my Grandfather added rye bread.
    The main course was imported Polish ham that my Grandmother ordered from her Polish butcher. the meal was rounded out with mashed potatoes and vegetables my Grandmother had canned - beets, carrots, green or Nana's Yellow (Wax) String Beans . -And there was always Polish Dill Pickles, no meal was compleat without them. Next to Easter soup the next most memorable part of the meal was Easter Babka a dense fruit and nut bread. It was a big round loaf that my Grandmother cut by holding it against her chest with the crook of her arm and slicing towards her with never a nick.
    Desserts were cheesecake or pies, especially blueberry using berries my Grandmother had canned. For us kids, we prefered the Chrusciki, bownot shaped fried dough covered in powdered sugar.
    Dinner was a leisurely meal filled with laughter and story telling. My grandmother who refused to sit and eat with us despite our pleas, sat in a chair across the kitchen ready to grab anything anyone needed. Not until desert was eaten and the table cleared would she eat her dinner.
    Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:28 am
    Forum Host
    Our family lived far away from any other family members, so that it was really just us for Easter. For me as a child, the most exciting part was on Holy Saturday, when we would make the Easter eggs, "marguciai". There are two ways of making them. One is with wax, where the you take a large-headed pin, dip it in melted wax, and then make a stroke on the egg. By repeating the strokes, you make a design. You can put the egg into a light colored dye, let it dry and make more designs, so that the egg is multicolored, or just dye it once.

    The other method is the scratch method. For this the eggs were dyed with onion skins, turning a rich russet brown color. My father was best at taking the egg and his pocket knife, and carefully scratching a design all around the egg. This took some time, and you had to be very careful not to press too firmly, as you would otherwise crack through the shell.

    If you had a particularly beautiful egg, you would keep it from year to year. The egg dries up inside -it rattles like a bean.

    On Easter morning, we would play an egg game where you would tap another person's egg to see which egg was strongest. A few times the pastor of our church held a contest, where all the kids would bring their eggs and do various games with them, to see which ones were strongest. The one I remember best was rolling your egg down a plank and hitting eggs rolled down earlier, to see which one survived!

    I don't know how much of our Easter dinner was traditional specially for Easter, but it did include a lot of traditional dishes, such as Lithuanian sausages that mother would have made a couple of weeks earlier, and a ham. We'd have Lithuanian Mixed Vegetable Salad (Darzoviu Misraine) , such a good side dish with ham, and of course boiled potatoes, and peas. Mother also sometimes made Lithuanian Herring Salad With Onion and Tomato (Silke Su Pomidor, which really is more of a winter dish, but we really loved it at any occasion. And, of course, good rye bread.

    For dessert, mother usually made one of her nut tortes and also something very similar to this bread, Vaisiu Pyragas -- Fruit Bread (Lithuania), and later when I started baking, I would make poppy seed roll.

    After Easter, leftover ham and eggs were made into fried stuffed eggs, something I've not seen elsewhere, but which mother also made for appetizer trays at other times of the year. I really have to sit down and replicate that recipe, as it was quite delicious.
    Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:24 pm Groupie
    I was just posting my longest ever message when my computer froze and I lost everything! icon_evil.gif The zaar asked me to sign back in and it took a really long time. I'll have to redo that long long message. I realised,though,there are no Romanian Easter recipes ,so I'll have to post some of those too.I'll be back.
    Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:03 pm
    Forum Host
    Wonderful, I am looking forward to seeing this.
    Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:04 am Groupie
    duonyte,thanks for the tips on how to paint the eggs. I'll try the wax one this year.
    I'm able to give an insight on Transylvanian Easter rather than Romanian. My family is Catholic,while the majority in Romania is Orthodox. We paint the eggs together and every year we try to come up with something different. One year I wrote Japanese characthers with nail polish and they were very popular. We tap the eggs too and get to take one egg home from the house we're visiting. This holiday is about visiting relatives.
    On Easter Sunday,in the morning people go to the church with basket of food so the priest would sprinkle over them water from the church.
    Lamb is what we are eating and I'll have to post some Romanian Easter Recipes. My favorite is the Pasca,something very similar to a cheese cake.
    Most unusual tradition we have on Monday,when young boys come to girls' houses and sprinkle them with parfume. Initially it was water.
    But remember,this traditions are more Hungarians than Romanians,85% of the population where I live is Hungarian.
    I'll be back with other things,I want to post this before something happens again.
    Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:15 am Groupie
    This is pasca:

    Haggis - my mom makes it every year

    Sweet bread(cozonac)

    Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:32 am
    Forum Host
    My mother made something that looked similar to your haggis, not always with an egg, but we called it "pastetas" - I don't remember it specifically for Easter, but I remember seeing it.
    Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:29 pm
    Forum Host
    I remember my Gtandmother taking a food basket to church to have it blessed.The food represented all the rood for the coming year
    I also remember when the priest would come to the house and bless the food laid out on a big table.
    Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:31 pm Groupie
    duonyte wrote:
    My mother made something that looked similar to your haggis, not always with an egg, but we called it "pastetas" - I don't remember it specifically for Easter, but I remember seeing it.

    My mom doesn't put an egg in it either but the other photos were not as pretty! icon_lol.gif
    Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:41 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    Easter tradition in Croatia,

    I will describe just small part of Easter tradition in Croatia because Croatia has so many different areas both geographical and cultural. For example, tradition in northern parts of Croatia has similarities with Austrian and Hungarian habits, and coastal areas (includes separate Istria, Primorje and Dalmatia – north, middle and south) are different in food, activity during Holy week…etc.
    I come from urban part of Croatia, Zagreb, where we celebrate more tradition than religious aspect of Easter. I will describe some traditions in Zagreb area, and than traditional Easter celebration on island Hvar in middle Damlatia.
    Holy Friday is the first day of celebration in Zagreb. It is still working day so most of the people just work. The exception is that it is mandatory fast, so you eat fish or non-meat meals. In includes pasta (like “salsa and spaghetti”, “Cheese noodles” – although there is bacon in it; “Mushrooms and pasta casserole”, “cabbage and pasta”, pasta with “mushroom sauce”, “Black risotto” in Dalmatia, “lentil stew” with fried eggs, “Eggs and mushrooms”, “mushroom pancakes – crepes”, “spinach stew” – with fried eggs, “blitva”, “Beans and noodles” (pasta fazol),”Boiled fish”, “Brodet”, “Gregada”, “Buzara”, “Cooked stockfish” and all other fish recipes which are among others above mentioned submitted on Zaar. People who are more religiously oriented eat nothing before dark, or eat only once a day.
    Saturday is a day of moaning – church bells does not ring and lights in churches are switched off. Now, the difference in Zagreb comes: usually you wait until midnight mass to bless food and than lights are on again, bells ring – in Zagreb it happens around 1800 hours so that you can come to your family and friends in proper time to enjoy supper. Usual food on Saturday is eggs (colored), cooked ham, spring onion, horseradish (fresh, grated) and red radish. There are some special cakes and one really special is “Pinca” (sweet dough with eggs baked as bread) which you eat in the morning on Sunday. Traditional Sunday lunch is very rich: first lamb or mutton chowder (“ajngemahtes”) – rich soup with lamb meat, vegetables on “ajnbren” (sauce velute) with noodles and fresh dill. The main course is lamb “pod peku” or whole lamb roasted on open fire spinning on the stick (we call that “happy machine” because everyone is happy to see this). With lamb we eat this year first baby potato, spring onions and red radish. And a lot of wine, of course. On Easter Monday, we usually eat leftovers, one on Zaar is “Tingul”, and it is a stew made of lamb leftovers. Traditional cakes are “orehnjaca” and “makovnjaca”: it is a cake made of sweet dough with yeast with walnut or poppy seed filling.

    Let me tell you some experience from celebrating Easter in Dalmatia. I was twice there as a member of “brotherhood” from village Vrboska on island Hvar. The tradition of celebrating Easter comes from 14th century and it is still going on. Everything starts on Thursday evening. In celebration participate 6 villages in central part of the island: Vrboska, Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj. The tradition is that every year someone is carrying a cross around all mentioned villages. The list for carrying cross is booked until 2024. The carrier takes a cross which is 30kg heavy and carries 27 kilometers around the villages. During the march the singers sing old traditional songs about Jesus’s torture. All 6 carriers starts at 2200 and they must not meet during the march (I remember once we were waiting almost 40 minutes to Jelsa carriers to leave Vrbanj). Around the carrier there is a bunch of “brothers” from brotherhood who carries lights and candles and after goes the crowd. People who vowed themselves sometimes walk bare foot (mind you it is Dalmatia, very rough terrain). The procession ends at 0500 next day by blessing the vineyards and graveyards. On Saturday nothing happens until 2000 hour when there is a supper for carrier. You eat “prsut” (which is meat), cheese, spring onion but not horseradish (it doesn’t grow in Dalmatia), colored eggs.
    Sunday morning starts with “pinca” and leftovers from yesterday’s supper. Lunch is for every man in village in priest’s hall (paid by carrier). Traditionally it starts with “prsut”, cheese, eggs; continues with lamb soup (but not like in Northern parts – it is clean soup) and finally young goats (I think the English word is “kid”) roasted on stick on “happy machine”. Of course, it is served with baby potatoes, spring onions and red radish. Women are not allowed to participate at the tables, but they are the one who cut the meat, so they get the best pieces. Monday is also leftover day.
    I told only my experience from small parts of Croatia, and I am sure there are lots of variations of this celebration.
    Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:39 pm
    Forum Host
    Lamb always makes me happy, too, and here is the recipe you mentioned for the leftover lamb, Croatian Lamb “tingul"

    What a lot of variety in customs in a relatively small country! Thank you so much for sharing, nitko.
    Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:55 am Groupie
    Finally got this posted:Romanian Lamb Haggis. My mom said she'll try it with chicken rather than lamb this year.See how it goes.
    The sweet bread recipe is so long,even too long to copy/ paste.
    Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:45 am
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    I am giving you some links if you are interested in processions on island Hvar:
    Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:47 pm
    Forum Host
    Nitko- thank you for sharing Easter in Croatia.
    Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:00 pm Groupie
    The Lamb Haggis (Drob de Miel or the colloquial Gusita) was always a part of our Easter day made from heart, liver, lungs and tongue. When cooking these, one had to keep poking the lungs back down into the pot, as they filled with air! It was served cold or at room temp. along with wine, Easter eggs and cozonac. Some years later, Pasca was included. Was part of first food eaten after coming from church after Resurrection service. Our Easter dinner always started with Ciorba de Miel, lamb soup with sour cream and egg and made a little sour with tarragon preserved in salt and vinegar followed by wonderful lamb roast with oven browned potatoes, a green salad and pastries and cozonac.
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