Sweet Snowflake | White Poppy Seed Bread

Snowflake Sweet Bread

With slight variations, this versatile dough recipe is used for many baked goods all over Ukraine. The same dough is made for savory garlicky pampushky served with borsch and for sweet, plain or filled with fresh berries, jam (povydlo), poppy seed filling, and dusted with sugar powder. Pies, braided and intricately decorated loaves of sweet bread, rolls — it is good for all of them. Try it this holiday season! This snowflake-shaped sweet bread makes a light, fluffy, nutty, and delicately sweet gift to remember.

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Сочени | Socheni — Pastries Stuffed with Fresh Cheese

Sochniki, Socheni, Farmer's Cheese Stuffed Pastries

It’s already scorching hot in Central Texas. But early in the morning, the light is golden and gentle, and the air is still fresh. Socheni and some tea in a shadow of live oaks filled my morning with dear flavors, nostalgic images from the past, and piece. And it was good.

If you recognize the pastry in the picture, you and I probably belong to the same culture and generation. Most likely you are smiling and wishing you could get one of those right now. I bet you are thinking about your school years and other favorite cookies and pastries from a long time ago, aren’t you? Socheni, aka Sochniki, don’t need any introduction to those who know what they are. The rest of people would probably pass them by as they look pretty rustic and not as attractive as modern pastries. This phenomenon is an illustration how much we treasure our childhood food memories. They stay with us forever.

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Ukrainian Khrustyky | Polish Faworki

Ukrainian Khrustyky | Polish Faworki

It was the first recipe I learned as a child, and it became my signature dish. I was extremely proud to be able to make these sweets for the whole family all by myself. They sort of disappeared from my adult menu. I don’t even remember when I made them for the last time. A request to make them for the coming Fat Thursday surprised me. I had no idea they are traditional carnival sweets! For me, making them was another chance to reminisce about my childhood, family, home… Thank you.

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Polish Doughnuts | Pączki

Polish doughnuts pączki

Until a few days ago, I was sure Polish Pączki have something to do with Easter bread Paska because for a Russian speaking person this word looks like it should sound the same. I was wrong, and I was wrong. Apparently, Pączki are pronounced POONCH-key [ˈpɔnt͡ʂkʲi] and are similar to what I know as Ponchiki from my childhood. Only now I discovered their name came to Russian from the Polish language!

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Rhubarb Cake with Hazelnut Meringue

Rhubarb and Hazelnut Meringue Cake

This is one of my old, before-culinary-school recipes. I was tweaking some rhubarb cake recipes six years ago, and this one was my final ever since. It came to my mind again a few days ago when I saw beautiful bright pink, glossy rhubarb stalks at Central Market. I tend to improve either proportions or techniques when revisiting recipes from the past. This cake escaped any changes at all. It doesn’t require any pro equipment or special skills, very easy to make, just follow the steps.

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Tequila Tasting Party Recipes: Tipsy Tres Leches

Tipsy Tres Leches

Long time ago, I was on a quest to try as many different versions of Tres Leches in Austin as I can. For almost a year, I’ve been ordering, buying, and making it for dessert. It was fun! As a result, I found my favorite to buy (Downtown WholeFoods’ Tres Leches Parfait) and developed a few my favorite recipes to make at home (with baked milk and with cajeta, caramelized goat’s milk). I prefer versions where milk is the main source of flavor — no other ingredients like fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc. are allowed to overpower milk’s delicate and dreamy nature. For me, Tres Leches it’s a study on milk flavor. The recipe below is part of my ¡Viva Tequila! tasting event, featuring extra anejo tequila as an ingredient for the sponge feeding.

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