LITHUANIAN TRADITIONAL FOODS
Kepiniai ir saldumynai
Lithuanian people do not have a sweet tooth. Baked goods and sweets are not a part of daily eating. However each homemaker does her very best to be creative and to pamper the family especially during holidays and special occasions. Formerly, for holidays and weddings a variety of cakes, cookies and sweet rolls was baked. Tables were laden with beautifully decorated, delicious masterpieces. At wedding receptions, all eyes would be on the ''karvojus'', a large wedding tart which was decorated with a variety of dough birds and animals. Earlier all cakes and dainties were baked by the homemaker herself or a person, famous for her culinary prowess would be hired.
At the beginning of this century, many new foods came to Lithuania, among them tortes and the famous baumkuchen from Germany, which now is a must for every special occasion.
Today Lithuanian homemakers have many recipes for all occasions. Most popular baked goods are made commercially from recipes based on traditional and newly arrived sweets.
However, the most appreciated baked goods are homemade and for this reason each homemaker is intent on creating recipes which will awe everyone and will please her family.
HOLIDAY YEAST CAKE
1 k (2 lbs) flour
1/2 cup milk
4 teaspoons fresh yeast
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dissolve yeast in sweetened, warm milk, sift in half of the flour, mix well. Sprinkle top of batter with flour and let rest in warm spot for 2-3 hours, until batter has doubled. Add remaining flour, salt and egg yolks beaten with sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Beat egg whites and fold into dough. Add melted butter and knead dough until it is no longer sticky. Cover and set in warm spot for another rising. Place dough into a round, greased baking pan, let rise one more time. Brush top with egg wash and bake in preheated oven at 375F/190C, for about 1 hour.
POPPY SEED CAKE
Pyragas su aguonomis
1 k (2 lbs) flour; 1 1/2 cup milk
4 egg yolks; 1 whole egg
50 g (2 oz) fresh yeast; 6 tablespoons sugar
300 g (10 oz) poppy seed; 150 g (5 oz) sugar
1 egg; 4 tablespoons finely chopped nuts,
filberts or walnuts; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 g (4 tablespoons) candied orange peel,
Make dough with 1/3 flour, warm milk and yeast dissolved in sweetened warm milk. Blend all ingredients well, sprinkle top of dough with flour and let rest in a warm spot. 2 hours later, add remaining flour, salt and egg yolks beaten with sugar. Mix well, and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Let rest for a second rising.
Blend poppy seeds to a paste in food processor or blender. Mix poppy seed with nuts, orange peel, egg beaten with sugar and vanilla. Mix all ingredients.
Divide dough into two pieces. Roll out each piece on floured surface, spread filling evenly over each piece and roll up as for a jellyroll. Place each on a lightly greased baking sheet, let rest for another rising. Paint with egg wash and bake in preheated oven at 375F/190C, for about 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool covered with linen cloth, so that the cake does not dry out.
BUCKWHEAT YEAST CAKE
1 k (2 lbs) buckwheat flour
1 l (4 cups) milk; 50 g (2 oz) fresh yeast
2 eggs; 100 g (3 oz; 6 t) butter
Cream butter and sugar until light, add eggs beaten with milk and a pinch salt, add flour and yeast mixed with sugar. Blend all ingredients and beat dough until spongy. Place dough into a greased, round baking pan, let rest in a warm spot until dough has risen, about 1 hour. Bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 1 hour.
This is a holiday bread, best when fresh.
15 egg yolks; 1 cup sugar; 2 cups milk
100 g (6 tablespoons) fresh yeast
1 cup butter; 1 cup sour cream
1 cup raisins; 5 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract; salt
3 egg whites; 3 cups powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon; 1 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate; 1 cup ground filberts
Blend yeast with 1/4 cup sugar and dissolve in warm milk. Add 1 cup flour, beat well and let rest in warm spot for about 30-45 minutes. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar until yolks are pale yellow. Add remaining flour to eggs and yeast mixture, mix well. Add melted, chilled butter, raisins, sour cream and pinch of salt, blend all until a soft dough is formed. Cover dough and let rise for 1-2 hours. Beat dough again and set in warm spot for another rising. Grease a high sided cake pan, sprinkle with bread crumbs, place dough into baking pan, not more than 1/3 full. Let rise and when doubled bake in preheated oven at 375F/190C, about 1 hour.
To make white icing cream egg whites with powdered sugar and lemon juice. For chocolate icing melt butter, add chocolate and heat on low heat until chocolate melts.
When baba is done, let cool in baking pan. Remove from pan and decorate with white icing, then dribble slightly cooled chocolate on top of white icing, allow chocolate to run down sides. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top.
Baba is a must for Easter, weddings and other special occasions.
1 1/2 k (3 lbs) flour; 1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons fresh yeast; 10 egg yolks
2 cups butter; 2 cups sugar
3 cups raisins; 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg whites; 3 cups powdered sugar
Warm milk and add yeast blended with 1 cup sugar and a third of flour. Blend well and let rise in warm spot. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar and vanilla until pale yellow and add to risen yeast dough, blend well. Add melted, cooled butter and remaining flour and pinch of salt. Knead dough until small blisters form. Add raisins, incorporate well into dough. Cover dough, set in warm spot and let rise for 1-2 hours. Take 3/4 dough, form a round shape, place on greased baking sheet. Let rise. With remaining dough make a braid and place it around the round dough shape. On top, in the center, make circles by pressing a glass into dough and stick many wooden sticks into the top. Bake in preheated oven at 400F/200C, about 1 1/2 hours. When the tart is done, decorate with icing, remove sticks and in their place insert dough birds, stars dusted with powdered sugar or covered with icing. Just before leaving for the wedding feast, fill remaining holes with branches of rue and other flowers.
This tart is an important part of the marriage ritual.
1 k (2 lbs) flour; 100 g (3 oz) fresh yeast
1 cup milk; 5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar; 1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups raisins; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg whites; 3 cups powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon
Warm milk, add yeast blended with 1/2 cup sugar. Mix well. Add one third of flour to yeast and blend well and let rise in a warm spot. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar, vanilla until pale yellow, add to yeast mixture, mix well. Chill melted butter and incorporate into yeast mixture, mix well, add remaining flour and salt and knead until small blisters form. Add raisins and incorporate into dough. Cover dough, let rise in warm spot for 2 hours. Form a figure 8 with dough, place on greased baking sheet. To keep figure 8 during next rising, insert heat resistant, round forms. Let rise for 1/2 hour, then bake in preheated oven at 350F/160C, for about 1 hour. Cool on baking sheet, then cover thickly with icing.
This is another traditional wedding cake, also known as the cake of the matron of honor, which she decorates with live flowers, rue and viburnum berries. The matron will sometimes place bottles of sweet wine, inside the figure 8, bedecked with ribbons and flowers.
Honey cakes are made with honey. They must be of a dark color, which is obtained when honey is boiled or by adding burnt sugar to the batter. Sour cream or sour milk are used to give sponginess to honey cakes and baking soda is used as a leavening agent. The taste of honey cakes depends on quantity and assortment of flavorings used. The seasonings used most often and quantities are: 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground allspice, 4 teaspoons ground cloves, 1 tablespoon powdered orange peel and 4 teaspoons ground ginger.
The special quality of honey cakes is that they taste better when aged.
SOFT HONEY CAKE
1/2 k (1 lb) honey; 1/2 k (1 lb) flour
3 eggs; 1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons seasoning
Boil honey on low heat, about 10 minutes, cool. Cream egg yolks with sugar and add to honey, add seasonings and mix well. Add melted butter, sour cream beaten with soda and flour. Blend all ingredients and fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter into baking pan lined with greased paper. Bake in preheated oven at 325F/160C, for about 30-45 minutes. Cool cake in baking pan.
1/2 k (1 lb) flour; 2 egg yolks
1 whole egg; 3 tablespoons butter
1 cup honey; 1 cup sugar; 1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sour cream; 2 teaspoons seasonings
1 cup powdered sugar; 1 egg white
juice of 1/2 lemon; 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Heat sugar in skillet until dark brown. Make dough using all ingredients. Dough should be quite hard. Let dough rest in cool spot. Divide dough in half. From one half make mushroom caps, walnut size rounds with an indentation on one side, place hole down on baking sheet. Make stems from other half of dough. Roll finger thick pieces, about 4 cm/2 inches long. Place next to caps and bake in preheated oven at 325F/160C, for about 25-30 minutes. To make icing beat egg white with powdered sugar and lemon juice. When caps and stems are done, glue stems into caps with white icing, and ice stems with white icing. Add cocoa powder to remaining icing, mix well and ice mushroom caps. Place iced mushrooms in warm oven to dry icing.
Pyragėliai su lašiniais
1/2 k (1 lb) flour; 1 cup milk
4 teaspoons fresh yeast; 4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons sugar; salt; 1 egg for egg wash
250 g (1/2 lb) bacon, finely cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
Blend yeast with sugar, dissolve in warm milk, add half flour, mix well and let rise for 1 hour. Then add remaining flour, melted butter, salt and knead well. Set in warm spot to rise for another hour.
To make filling fry onion in bu tter, add bacon cubes and spices. Mix all and heat only, do not fry.
Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness, cut out 2 1/2 inch rounds, place 1 teaspoon filling, fold over and seal edges, place on baking sheet, let rise for 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake in preheated oven at 350F/160C, until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Bacon buns are eaten hot or cold.
Pyragėliai su grybais
1 k (lbs) flour
2 cups milk
30 g (1 oz) fresh yeast
4 tablespoons sugar
100 g (4 oz) butter
1 egg; salt
1/2 l (4 cups) cooked mushrooms
50 g (2 oz) oil or butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
Blend yeast with sugar and dissolve in warm milk. Add half flour, mix well. Sprinkle dough with flour, cover and let rise for 2 hours in a warm spot. Beat dough and add remaining flour, melted butter. Knead dough about 30 minutes, until dough does not stick to hands. Let rise for another hour.
To make filling fry onions, add finely chopped mushrooms, continue frying for 5 more minutes, add bread crumbs and heat for 3 more minutes.
Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness, cut dough rounds, place 1 teaspoon mushroom filling, fold round in half, press edges together, place on baking sheet. Let rise for about 1/2 hour, then brush with egg wash and bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, until browned, about 25 minutes.
These buns are eaten hot or cold.
CHRISTMAS EVE BISCUITS
1/2 k (1 lb) flour; 1 cup milk
50 g (4 tablespoons) vegetable oil
20 g (4 teaspoons) fresh yeast
2 tablespoons poppy seed; 1/4 cup sugar
Blend yeast with sugar and dissolve in warm milk. Add half of the flour to yeast and
mix well. Dust top of batter with flour, let rise in warm spot for 1 hour. Beat dough, add
remaining flour, oil and scalded poppy seed. Mix well and knead until dough is not sticky,
about 30 minutes. Let rise in warm spot for 1 hour. Roll dough into 1cm/
These biscuits are baked for Christmas Eve supper, when they are served with poppy seed milk.
1/2 k (1 lb) flour with a pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter; 6 egg yolks
2 whole eggs; 30 g (2 tablespoons) sugar
1 cup sour cream; 30 g (1 oz) rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar; oil for deep frying
Blend yolks and 2 whole eggs with sugar until thick and lemon colored. Sift flour into eggs, add sour cream, vanilla and rum. Mix well. Beat dough with rolling pin, folding dough inward, until dough shows blisters. The more air is incorporated into dough, the lighter the twigs. Let dough rest in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Roll out dough very thin, cut into strips, 10 cm/3 inches long and 2 cm/1 1/2 inches wide, cut a slit in center, pull one end through slit. Heat oil in deep pot or deep fryer, to keep oil from foaming add 2 pieces raw potato. When the twig is placed into hot oil and rises to surface fast, this means that oil is at right temperature. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain twigs on paper towels or brown paper and dust with powdered sugar while still hot.
1 k (2 lbs) flour; 2 cups milk
100 g (3 oz) fresh yeast; 8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar; 30 g (1 oz) rum; 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 2 tablespoons sugar
powdered sugar; oil for deep frying
Make dough with warm milk and one third of flour, add blended yeast with sugar, mix well. Cover and let rise for 1/2 hour. Beat egg yolks with salt, add to risen dough, mix well. Add melted butter, rum, vanilla and remaining flour. Mix well. Knead dough until it looses shine. Cover dough and let rise for 1 hour. Take walnut size pieces of dough and form round donuts, let rise. Heat oil, drop donuts and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 8 minutes for each side. Drain donuts on paper towels or brown paper, dust with powdered sugar while still warm.
POPPY SEED COOKIES
1/2 l (2 cups) poppy seed; 3 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup flour; 2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons butter; 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract; pinch of salt
sugar powder for dusting cookies
Process poppy seeds to a paste in food processor or blender. Add beaten eggs to poppy seed paste, sour cream beaten with baking soda, cooled melted butter, vanilla and flour. Blend all ingredients thoroughly. Drop dough by teaspoonful on paper lined cookie sheet. Bake cookies in preheated oven at 350F/180C, until cookies are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Dust cookies with powdered sugar.
1/2 k (1 lb) coarsely ground oat flour or oat meal
3 black rye bread crusts; 3 charcoal tablets
1 1/2 l (6 cups) water; pinch of salt
Stir flour in 4 cups of warm water, add bread crusts (for better fermentation), add charcoal to remove oat rancidity. Place in warm spot, let ferment for 12 hours. Pour off supernatant liquid, pour 2 cups of water over remaining solids and strain. Combine both liquids, add pinch of salt and stirring constantly cook until liquid thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Pour thickened liquid into a bowl and place in refrigerator until it gels.
This pudding is eaten with potatoes, fried bacon or with sweet water.
2 cups cranberries; 1 cup sugar
1 cup potato starch
2 pieces of cinnamon
4 whole cloves
Place cranberries into a pot, pour enough water to cover, add cinnamon and cloves, heat until cranberries begin to break up. Remove from heat, put everything through food mill. There should be about 4 cups of juice and pulp. Return juice and pulp to pot, add sugar. Dissolve starch in chilled cranberry juice and add to pulp and juice. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, heat until the mixture becomes clear. Pour hot pudding into individual glass bowls, cool until it gels.
This is a favorite dessert.