Easter treats with a pinch of German and a splash of Bulgarian

I celebrated Easter twice this year – once last Sunday in Germany and once today, here in The Hague, with the Orthodox crowd. The Easter treats in this post are from a splendid morning in the outskirts of Cologne 7 days ago, with two cheery ladies keeping busy in the kitchen, and me, once again, being in the way.

Ina is one of my oldest friends from Bulgaria. We have been friends for 16 years and now live only 3,5 hours away from each other. She’s on the other side of the border, in Cologne, Germany.

On that Easter Sunday, Ina’s “sister-in-law”, Janina, was the master baker. Ina was sort-of the sous chef. These two have an Easter tradition – painting eggs and baking bunnies (not actual meat, as I was to find out later).

When we arrived at the beautiful home of Janina, she had already been busy for some hours. Two cakes already done, the dough just waiting in the corner, inviting to be dealt with. Cake number one – a typical apple pie with “streusel” (some apparently very traditional pie topping).

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Cake number two – a chocolate cherry cake. The ritual of removing the movable side of the baking dish and letting the cake shine in its full glory was a beautiful scene. At the end of it… this!

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Janina melted white and brown chocolate straight into the saucepan. Because it wouldn’t be a chocolate cake without it. It seems. πŸ™‚

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The second part of the ritual – bathing the cake in melted chocolate was as mesmerising. When do we eat???

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And then it was time for the Bulgarian part of the Easter tradition – painting the eggs! In Germany there is some ultra-modern method of boiling the eggs already with the paint – each colour is in a separate plastic bag, a few eggs in it, and boiling for 8-10min.

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It looked simple and straightforward enough. And quite pretty.

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Unfortunately, the result was not 100% successful. Some of the colours worked but the red was rather a disappointment. “We” resorted to old-style paint – the colour in water, plus vinegar. The batch was saved, the colours – beautiful!

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And then pastry time! So these bunnies are basically pastries that the ladies make in the shape of bunnies.

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It was quite an artistic process so what exactly could qualify as a bunny was pretty flexible. My kind of art!

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Time for the oven, and the scents start to mix – sweet, intense, and very promising. Baking on both racks – oh how I miss a regular-size oven!

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So where did we end up with all of this? We had a nice sweet-tooth brunch. A piece of cake…

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And another…

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And then some bunnies.

… If one is lucky enough to get invited to the house of a total baking pro, he or she must always take advantage. She did!

Let me also say, Ina was pretty creative in combining the traditions. This was the result.

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That’s a big bunny! And some pretty intense colours.

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We had a great girls time! Once again, I was welcomed as a stranger to someone’s home and we understood each other not so much with broken German and an English translation here and there, but with our love for food and creativity in the kitchen.

And then we went for lunch! πŸ™‚


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