A European Easter

Cora Olpe 19 April 2014

As I am half Polish and half Swiss, I get to pick the best traditions out of two cultures whilst omitting the boring stuff. The only downside is that people don’t understand eachother at our Easter dinner table: only my brother and I speak all three languages we use (German, Swiss German and Polish)!

Swiss and Polish Easter traditions are very different. Most people in Switzerland care about roughly four things: chocolate, cheese, money, and keeping strangers out. The most important part of a Swiss Easter is the Sunday lunch. We take great pride in carefully decorating hard-boiled eggs for a game called "Eiertätsch": two eggs are hit against each other and the intact egg wins! Another popular game is "Eierlaufe", an egg-and-spoon relay. There’s also an egg hunt where the eggs are made of the finest and most delicious Swiss chocolate. Nothing beats Swiss chocolate! So, Swiss Easter is basically eating, running around with, and hitting eggs.

Next: Poland. One thing you need to know is that Poles like Catholicism very much. Therefore Easter is über-important and very religious. There are so many days where you do so many different things: take a palm tree to church, eat fish (Good Friday), go to church again, eat more fish, go to church some more, have a massive meal on Sunday and splash people with water on Monday. On Holy Saturday, we take a huge basket full of salt, ham, bread, horseradish, water, eggs and a little figure of a lamb to church to get it blessed by the priest before eating it ALL on Sunday. Okay, I lied, we don’t eat the plastic lamb. 

That is basically it! If you may excuse me now, I'm off to paint some more hard-boiled eggs while listening to Chopin. I'll leave you with this traditional Swiss Easter cake recipe to make at home.

SWISS EASTER CAKE RECIPE

For the dough:

  • 200g flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter
  • 40g sugar
  • ½ lemon: grated skin
  • 1 egg: beaten, not stirred

For the filling:

  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 400 ml milk
  • pinch of salt (preferrably blessed by the priest)
  • 55g semolina
  • 50g butter
  • 45g sugar
  • ½ lemon: zest and grated skin
  • 40g sultanas
  • 20g almonds, ground
  • 3 eggs, yolk and white separated

To make the cake:

For the dough just mix all the ingredients and cover the bottom and sides of a 24cm diameter baking pan with the dough

To make the filling

Bring milk to the boil.

Add semolina and simmer at low heat for 15-20min

Add lemon, butter, sugar, sultanas and almonds to the semolina mix, and let it cool down

Add the egg yolks

Beat the egg whites until stiff then add to the mix, and the filling is done!

To bake:

Pre-heat oven to 220°C

Spread the apricot jam on the bottom of the cake, pour the filling into the baking pan, and bake for roughly 30min.

Let it cool and then use icing sugar and all your amazing imagination to decorate this delicious treat!

EN GUETE!