It is said that there are as many variations on making pedaheh dough as there are Ukrainian cooks. Some say use warm water; others say use cold water, or, instead of water use milk or buttermilk. Regarding eggs, some say no eggs; others say use whole eggs; others, yolks only. Whatever recipe you choose, the challenge is to make the pedaheh dough soft and, when cooked, it should be tender to eat. For filling, everyone has their favourite.
After fasting all day, and after the first star was sighted, the Ukrainian Christmas Eve (“Sviata Vechera”) meal could begin. Kutia was the ritual first dish of the twelve-course meal. It was a time to reflect on those members of the family that had departed. Its origin predates Christianity.
Pampushky are round doughnuts with a filling; usually prune or plum. They have been a part of Ukrainian celebrations for centuries, most notably Ukrainian Christmas.
For our family, these were cut into regular doughnuts with the hole in the center. They were known affectionately as Baba’s doughnuts. They were and are a real treat. The best way to eat these is when they are still warm, sprinkled with sugar. One granddaughter confessed that she had eaten 12 of Baba’s doughnuts in one day. They don’t stay fresh long, but that isn’t much of a problem as they are usually gone by the next day.
Baba would make holopchi for special occasions; be it Ukrainian Christmas, a wedding or a family get-together. The filling was composed mainly of rice, but in the Ukraine, buckwheat was commonly used in place of rice.
Making holopchi is a time-consuming process; often taking a whole day to complete from start to finish. Today, you can buy them already made, but the challenge and satisfaction are in making them yourself and keeping the tradition alive.
Baba's Ukrainian Borscht
In Nana's view Baba made the best borscht. This recipe captures the taste she remembers — served hot, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of warm kulesha (like cornbread) on the side. Conjures up a lot of memories.
Ukrainian Dried Fruit Compote
This is a traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dessert made from dried fruit. With an abundance of orchards in the Ukraine and lack of refrigeration, fruit was dried and used all year.
Well worth the effort to make from scratch! Add a large candle to the centre and some greenery and you have a lovely and tasty centre piece for your table. Check out the recipe we added today to our recipe section. Bread maker version is coming soon.
December 03rd, 2017
It's been a while since we did anything here. We are about to have a flurry of activity. Nana has been working very hard to preserve the recipes she has learned from her mother also known as "Baba". We start it off with Baba's Waffles (Ukrainian Rosettes). Check under the recipe heading for full recipe and images to help guide you through making this crispy and delicate treats.
Patricia Caine (nee Rusnak) is originally from Thunder Bay, ON. Both her parents came to Canada from the Ukraine. She has put these recipes together as a tribute to her parents, for her family and Canada's 150th.