It is a Polish name for a basket of food prepared on Easter Saturday and taken to church to be sprinkled with holly water and blessed. Święconka is always eaten for Easter Sunday festive breakfast. Food composition changes from basket to basket but usually it includes: bread, butter in shape of Easter lamb, salt and pepper, sausage (selection of dry brown sausages and white Easter sausage), something sweet (usually Babka or Mazurek) and of course Easter eggs. The most interesting, original Polish items include: white sausage, easter eggs, babka and mazurek. White sausage in Polish cuisine is a raw or steamed sausage, unstable, medium ground, with a specific light color, made of pork, sometimes with beef, in a natural, thin pork gut. It is present during all Easter, in święconka, served warm during Easter breakfasts and suppers and also added to Żurek soup. It is always served with horseradish and Tatar sauce another typically Easter side dish. Eggs are symbols of reviving life known in many cultures. They are of course also attributes of Easter. In Poland they are lavishly decorated. Each region of Poland traditionally had different ways of decoration. Nowadays, the amazing collection of such Easter gems can be admired in Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw or in churches on Easter Saturday where they are being blessed. Eggs are also prepared in multitude of ways and served during festive Easter breakfast.
Easter is a holiday of ham in Poland. You can meet it with a few dozen of varieties on Easter tables and all Polish culinary books include at least a few recipes how to prepare such ham. We have described the usage of white sausage above. Pâtés are also typical for Easter and served cold for breakfasts and dinners. The dish is prepared from a homogeneous mass prepared from raw, boiled or roasted meat, giblets, poultry, game with vegetables or mushrooms. Eggs, breadcrumbs or flour are added to combine the shredded ingredients. The pate is seasoned with pepper, ginger, nutmeg, salt, sugar and aromatic alcohols. The mass is baked, also in a water bath, with or without dough. The pate is served hot or cold as an appetizer or a dinner dish, along with sauces and marinades.
It is a white soup often served in bread bowls (also edible), it is made of sour rye and cream with lots of marjoram. It also often includes pieces of traditional white sausage, bacon or egg. It is always served for dinner on Easter Sunday. Regional cuisines have their own various recipes. It is an Old Polish dish - hence it is sometimes called Old Polish sour rye soup.
Mazurek is very sweet, lavishly decorated thin cake. Usually, it is quite hard and has various layers. The most typical mazurkas are made of brittle, biscuit-fat and nut flaps. In the old Polish cuisine, they were also produced from macarons and marzipan dough. The edges of the upper surface of the cake are marked with a drawing made of dough or a nut or almond mass. Mazurek is often covered or stuffed with masses (e.g. nut, almond, butterscotch, orange-apple), marmalade or jam. The top is usually finished with glaze, icing or jelly and decorated with fruit (dried, candied or made from syrup), dried fruit and nuts. Easter Babka Cake making is a custom dating back to the 17th century. It is made of baker's or brewer's yeast diluted with warm milk and mixed with flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Such a solution is set aside to rise. When it rises, eggs, flour and various dried fruits are added. Sometimes the dough is brewed with boiling milk. The original babka was baked in corrugated truncated cone-shaped forms, and after baking it was covered with white or pink frosting. Sernik (English cheese cake) is typical Easter sweet. It has many variations but usually it has raisins or orange skin inside. Pascha is a traditional Easter dish of North-Russian origin, prepared with cottage cheese or milk, cream, butter, usually with yolks, sugar, vanilla and other ingredients, including dried fruit and nuts. Usually very sweet and served in the form of a truncated pyramid or upside down bowl decorated with raisins and orange peel. Keks is a sponge cake or sand cake with dried fruits and nuts baked in a rectangular form.
Polish Easter is very tasty, the same as Polish cuisine in general. If you want to taste some of the above mentioned delicacies contact ITS Poland group coordinators and let’s organize your trip to Poland together. Easter dishes are so tasty that you will definitely become a Polish cuisine gourmet! It is also good to combine Easter dishes tasting with a trip to one of many open air museums of countryside and take part in Easter eggs painting workshops. Start your Polish adventure today!
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska