EASTER PASKA (TRADITIONAL EGG BREAD)


Easter Paska (Traditional Egg Bread)

The midnight church service on the Saturday night before Easter Day was long ~ 4 hours long ~ but then we would return to grandma and grandpa's house, still in darkness, with our blessed basket and eat its contents for breakfast before the day's activities and feasting began. There was smoked side bacon crusted with sweet paprika and tender young scallions, their white tips mild and perfect for dipping into a small crystal bowl filled with salt. There were hard-boiled eggs, their shells dyed a deep blood-red, ready to be cracked end-to-end in friendly competition before being peeled and eaten. And then there was the centrepiece: great-grandma Eva's Paska. Rich, lightly sweet, its interior glowing golden thanks to the butter and eggs that went into its dough, our celebration bread had a glossy brown crust adorned with a braided cross and rosettes; at the table it was sliced and slathered with fresh butter. The recipe looks complicated but it's really not. The dough is extremely elastic and forgiving, and once you make the decorative top for the first time, you'll see that it's actually quite easy.

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