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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Maslenitsa | Crepe Week, Day 7 | Boûkète, Limburg Crepes with Speck and Sirop de Liege

Limburg Crepes with Speck and Sirop de Liege

The longer I lived in the States, the more I realized it’s possible to find almost anything in specialty food stores and online. And later, traveling places and getting edible gifts from around the world proved that unfathomable are the ways of experiencing delicious food. A few years ago, this crepes recipe sounded exotic to me because of its unusual ingredients. Later, it became an illustration for the provocative statement above. Being curious is fun!

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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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Ramen: Eggs for Ramen | Ajitsuke Tamago | 味付け玉子

Ajitsuke Tamago

Every time I invite people to experience ramen for the first time and they pick the toppings, I suggest to include eggs. In the menu, they read “pickled” or “marinated” next to the eggs and say “No.” I smile and order extra eggs for my bowl of ramen, because I know what’s going to happen next — they will see them, ask for a bite, and I’ll have to share. Why didn’t you order them? — I ask. They are simply expected to be similar to American vinegary pickled eggs, which do not have a lot of fans these days. Ajitsuke tamago are completely different. They are soft with runny yolk and seasoned in a savory broth based on soy sauce. They are delicious!

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Shangri-La Scones

Ramps and Cheddar Scones

Chef Patterson’s recipe has three unusual features. First, he uses high-gluten bread flour instead of all-purpose one. Second, the amount of baking powder is three times more than average. Why? Bread flour is capable holding more moister. It is strong enough to let scones rise and not to explode because of the amount of baking powder. It results in a fantastic, unforgettable texture of the scones.

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Red and Black Currants Tart

Red and Black Currants Tart

I suppose, there are not so many people in ATX who know what black, red, or white currants are. I am sure there are even less people who crave for these berries so much they are ready to pay $5-6 for 6oz (170g). That’s why, I guess, Central Market gets just enough fresh currants to satisfy crazies like me during the season. Currants appear for a few days. And gone. Obviously, I can’t just eat them. I have to make something special with them. Last year, it was Air Chrysalis: Bubbles Bubbles. This year I made “Red and Black Passion” tart with the same idea for textures — creamy and silky background for popping with bright flavor red and black bubbles. No tricks! All effects are purely natural.

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