As a little girl, every Saturday before Easter, my mother, grandparents, aunties and uncles would pick up their Paska bread order from the baker at our local market. It was a tradition. This is a semi-sweet, light egg bread that's delicious. It smells so good just cutting into it! I can honestly say that it is the one sure sign that Spring is here: Paska is available to buy from your local Eastern European bakeries.
For years I've contemplated making my own but was incredibly intimidated by the thought. Something changed for me though and I took the plunge! I'm so glad I did!
Like most traditions, the lore of this bread was overtaken by Jewish and Christian ideologies to suit the times and the conversions. I absolutely understand how this was done but of course, as I live as I do, I gravitate more to our ancients ancestors and their connection to Nature and the Stars. The truth of the matter is that eggs and Paska bread were used to celebrate rebirth and new life during "spring time fertility" rituals. Place the Sun in the spot where they have fixed Jesus and you can relate to the Earth movements of this ritual bread making. The cross that is sometimes made on the loaves, represents the quarter celebrations (Equinoxes and Solstices) in the year. I've done mine with 8 sections for the entirety of the Year of the Wheel as well.
Whatever the deeper meaning for you, the fact remains that this bread is delicious!
I've successfully made three loaves this week and , oh how I wish my Baba and Gramma's were alive to taste it! I know they're smiling down on me though for not allowing old ways to be lost by yet another generation. What's old is new again.
Paska (Ukrainian, Russian Пáска "Easter", ultimately from Aramaic: פסחא "Passover") is an Easter bread eaten in the Assyrian–Chaldean–Syriac diaspora, Eastern European countries including Ukraine, south Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Georgia and parts of Bulgaria. It is also eaten in countries with immigrant populations from Eastern Europe such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
I can remember having the Romanian version of this bread once but I have no idea when or where. The description alone has my mouth watering and so I can only say that I'll be making this version in the next week without a doubt. It also reminded me of a crepe filling recipe my Dedko (grandfather in Slovak, the 'k' is silent) used to make that was absolutely divine.
What I really want to do is share the recipe that I found amongst all of my culinary treasures. Hand-written, in traditional European settler style which is much like reading a doctor's prescription scrawl, it's a bit hard to decipher but I managed.
Traditional European Spring Solstice or Passover Bread
Recipes are going to vary from meals to medicines. It's all about healing from the inside out because we truly are what we eat. What's the point? Well, gardening and foraging for your own foods, shopping local and no processed garbage or pharmaceuticals for what ails you? I think that's enough of point, don't you?
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