So we have the Holy week. It is important time for all. We wait on Spring, sun, Easter feast and meeting with family.
In Poland Easter have two aspects – religious and folks. The second aspect has many traditional plays, ceremony, songs and food. Food is very important in Easter celebrations. People think and speak about Easter food sometimes since Ash Wednesday. But Polish people start cooking since Palm Sunday, this is last time to begin thinking about food on Easter table.
Polish feast start on Easter Sunday breakfast and finish next day. There are many kinds of meals but in every home you find eggs, smoked , cook and baked meats, sausages, salads and pastries. The traditional polish Easter cakes are mazurki and baby wielkanocne (wielkanocne means Easter)
In Poland we have wide selection of “Baba wielkanocna”. Every region has its own recipe on “Baba wielkanocna” but old books and tradition says about yeast and saffron kind of this cake.
One of these books included description about baking “Baba”.
“Women were locking kitchen doors so men were not allowed to enter. Women prepared ingredients very carefully and made dough. Windows, doors were tightly closed when “baba” grew. Once “baba” were baked they were taken out carefully and when the cake cold down everybody whispered, and went carefully in the kitchen because the cakes were fluffy, dainty and so soft. The slightest shake could destroy soft structure of cakes. “
The origin of the word “baba” is diffcullt to explain, probably it means woman because baba is augmentative form for woman.
A few generations of polish women made a good recipes which are not so difficult to prepare.
Below is my recipe on baba.
150 g flour (must be very good quality)
100 g sugar
30 g yeast
150 ml milk
100 g malted butter
1 vanilla or 1 tsp vanila flavor
½ tsp saffron
20 ml spirit or vodka
2 tsp grated skin of lemon
The day before soak saffron in spirit. Dissolve yeast in warm milk and add a little sugar and flour and mix gently. Leave this mixture in warm place. Beat yolks, sugar and vanilla on white fluffy mixture over steam. When yeast grew add to beat yolks, add rest flour and spirit with saffron and skin of lemon and mix gently about 15 minutes. Leave dough in warm place, cover napkins. When the dough grows twice as much in the beginning add butter and mix as long as the dough absorbs all butter. Spread butter and sprinkle baking pan with flour and put there the dough (fill a baking pan only to ½ height of the baking pan). Leave dough to grow. When it grows put it into the oven at 180 Celsius degrees for around 60 minutes.
It is saffron kind of cake but when you can exchange saffron on other additive.
Enjoy and HAPPY EASTER!!!