Apr 23, 2011
Paska was introduced to us by our Mother who immigrated from Russia in 1926 with my Grandmother and 2 Aunts.
Mom remembered the Easter bread she had learned to love while living in Russia and introduced this tradition to our family. My Father did not know of paska, as his Mother baked “kringle”, an 8-figured iced roll.
Paska was usually baked in large tins from juice or other things, resulting in the shape of large mushrooms. Often we looked for tins of different sizes so we could make more unique shapes. Some paska were also made into loaves.
The paska were covered with a soft white icing, usually almond flavoured, and then sprinkled with small candy of all colours, called sprinkles. Because the icing was so “yummy”, we tried to cover the entire paska with it, which made it rather difficult to handle and slice. Eventually, Mother decided to shape the paska into buns, therefore covering them entirely with this icing. This was definitely easier.
We remember the smell of paska baking, the lemon and almond aromas very well. Several years ago when we moved to a different home, we did not have an oven for awhile and it was close to Easter. Our son-in-law invited me to their home to bake the paska. He had not grown up knowing about paska, but had become very fond of it.
All eyes of our 7 grandchildren shine when they see the decorated buns at Easter time. Yes, it is “yummy” paska, and the following recipe is the one my Mother used. Most paska are shaped as buns at our home; however I use some tins and line them with parchment paper. This way the paska come out of the tins very well.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cream, heated
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt 2 rounded tbsp fast-rising yeast
1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp lemon extract grated rind of 1 lemon
10 - 11 cups flour
Beat eggs and add sugar. Heat milk and the cream, add butter. Add all 3 items to egg mixture.
Add warm water, salt, vanilla, almond and lemon flavourings, lemon rind and mix well. Mix yeast with a cup of flour and gradually add enough flour to knead into a soft dough. Let dough rise until about double in size (it rises well in a slightly warm oven). Knead down and let rise again. Make into buns or put into well-greased, or lined tins. Bake at 325, until the buns are brown, about 20 minutes -- tins will need about 45 minutes. Ice with a regular icing with added almond flavouring and decorate with sprinkles. Enjoy!