There were fewer desserts in traditional Slavic cuisine of common folks. Cakes, pastries, chocolate, confectionaries – all that without which we cannot imagine our tables nowadays were available to upper class families. However lower class families did have cakes but not in rare occasions as they were quite expensive to make in those times. In old days dishes made of berries, fruits and honey were used in place of desserts. We are going to put some of those dishes available to common folks in the 17-19th centuries, so what you will see now is what old Slavs used to make and enjoy. Most of these are traditional cakes that are still made today and can be found mostly in all Slavic countries.
1# – Tvarožnaja Pascha
Belarus, Russia and Ukraine have a traditional Easter cheese-cake that they love to make. It’s name is Pascha and it is a ritual food made from ‘tvaroh’ (the kind of cheese s) and other tasty ingredients such butter, honey, sugar, cream, sour-cream, vanilla, raisins, gem, liqueur, eggs and some other ingredients. In the East Slavic folklore there is an explanation about the origin of Easter Cheese-cake, and it’s connected to the Biblical story of prophet Moses.
2# – Kozunak
Kozunak is a tasty traditional Bulgarian sweet bread. It is usually prepared as a delicious cake in time of Easter in Bulgaria, and mostly for every other major holiday. The desert is a sweet, egg-enriched bread, it is rooted in the cuisines of Western and Central Asia. Such rich brioche-like breads are also traditional in many other countries, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic. Examples of similar breads from other cultures are “badnji kruh” in Croatian cuisine, “folar de páscoa” in Portuguese cuisine, Brioche in French, “kulich” in Russian cuisine, “panettone” in Italian cuisine and “challah” in Jewish cuisine.
3# – Toruń gingerbread
Toruń gingerbread pronounced in Polish: Pierniki toruńskie, is instantly recognizable as part of famous Toruń heritage and as such has almost an legendary city trademark and pride due to its tradition and legend. It is special and famous due to its unusual taste, amazing artistic form and outstanding quality. It was first started to be manufactured back in 1380 in Toruń with Niclos Czan, one of Toruń bakers of the period.
4# – Orehnjača / Orechovník
One of the most famous Balkan Slavic cakes, but also very common among other Slavic nations is a nut roll which is a pastry consisting of a sweet yeast dough that is rolled out very thin, spread with a nut paste made from ground nuts and a sweetener like honey, then rolled up into a log shape. This ‘log’ is either left long and straight or is often bent into a eye catching shapes as you can see on the picture. Nut rolls resemble a jelly roll (Swiss roll) but usually with more layers of dough and filling, and resemble strudels but with fewer and less delicate dough layers.
5# – Drożdżówka – Yeast cake
Drożdżówka Yeast cake is the product bakery in the form of a round sweet bread yeast with filling, usually lukrowanego. The tasty filling is used pudding, cottage cheese , poppy seeds , blueberriesand other fresh fruits. There are also buns with several different fillings, for example makowo-cheese.
6# – Makowiec / Mahovnjača – Poppy seed cake
This tastly cake is very famous in Balkan Slavic states, but also among Western Slavs also. The poppy seed roll is a pastry consisting of a roll of sweet yeast bread (a viennoiserie) with a dense, rich, bittersweet filling of poppy seed. An alternative filling is a paste of minced walnuts, making it a walnut roll. It is popular in parts of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Israel. It is commonly eaten at Christmas and Easter time. It is traditional in several cuisines, including Austrian (Mohnkuchen or Mohnstriezel), Bosnian cuisine (makovnjača), Croatian (makovnjača).
7# – Sernik – Polish Cheese Cake
Polish sernik (cheesecake), is one of the most popular desserts in Poland and where ever you come in Poland on some holidays you are bound to have your mouth stuffed with this tasty meal. Sernik is made primarily using twaróg, a type of fresh cheese. They are light and fluffy, tasty and aromatic. They can be with nuts and raisins or fruit and jelly. Such cheesecakes are great not only for Christmas, but for any occasion. So what are you waiting for!
8# – Moravian sugar cake
For generations, Moravian Sugar Cake has been the most popular fresh baked product. Made from yeast-raised dough, this traditional Moravian treat is topped with a combination of cinnamon, pure butter and brown sugar and after all that is made it is then baked until golden brown. Sugar Cake freezes well so you can store them for longer period of time.
9# – Aladki with honey
Belarusian pancakes are usually served with traditional sauces (machanka,vereshchaka), fried bacon and sausages, mushroom stew, sour cream and cottage cheese, liquefied honey, grated berries, ground poppy seeds mixed with sugar. All in all they can be served either in sweet-fruit version as a cake or salty-meat version as a meal.
10# – Honey Cake
Honey cakes are popular in several Slavic countries: Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic and probably in Slovakia and Poland. The pictures and the recipe of the cake is from a blog maintained by a Czech woman!
What do you think?