Earlier this week you were asked about what you do for Easter. I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I am also mostly Eastern European. Wrap these two together and you get into some seriously old school stuff. But how does being Eastern Orthodox make celebrating Easter? First, we don’t refer to Easter as Easter. We refer to it as Pascha. Or Passover. Or “The passing over”. Easter is the day that Christ rose from the dead. Pascha is the day that Christ rose from the dead. (Where is that eye rolling emoji when you need it?) Same thing. Is there a bunch of history behind this name difference? Yup. Do I know the history behind it all? Yup. Am I going to tell you the history of it right now? No. That’s another story for another time. You came for food.
Hrudka pronounced (hur-UT-ka) is one of the many foods that I eat every year. What is it? It’s a ball of egg referred to as Easter cheese. I kid you not. How did this come about? Great question. One answer could be that after giving up eggs, meat, and dairy for all of Great and Holy Lent people were craving some serious egg. Truthfully, if you think about it, the chickens didn’t stop laying eggs during Great and Holy Lent and needed to be used.
For Pascha, my family and I have always put a basket of food together to be blessed. That’s one tradition that’s a bit different from regular Easter norms. Why the basket? Because that’s what they had back then. They had baskets. So what kinds of foods are in this basket? Remember it’s a celebration. We’ve all been fasting and Christ is risen from the dead! Some of the foods that are in the basket are rich breads that are like cake, smoked sausages, cheeses, sweet farmer cheeses, Hrudka (eggball), hams, dyed eggs, chocolates, fresh fruit, and…..jellybeans (we added this). You gotta have jellybeans. Lol
Building this basket has been done in my family long before I was here on this earth and God willing it’ll be going on long after I’m gone. I hope you all get a chance to make this at least once. Its really good on a piece of homemade bread with a slice of cheese and sausage.
Hrudka (Easter cheese)
- 12 eggs
- 1qt whole milk
- ½ c of sugar plus 1tb of sugar
- 1tsp of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
- Sprinkle of salt
- Crack eggs into a boil and beat with a whisk. Whisk in milk, sugar, and salt.
- Cook over a double boiler on medium to low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture fully forms curds and the whey separates. This will take around 10-15 minutes to cook.
- Drain the mixture into a colander lined with several layers of cheese cloth. Use the cloth to shape into a ball and twist the top to remove the whey (the way is really good in homemade breads).
- Tie with twine and hang for several hours.
Here is a slideshow of the process:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!