Every Good Friday, my mum's (Croatian) side of the family get together for lunch. We always have bakalar (salted fish) dishes - a rice soup made with the fish stock, and then the main bakalar dish, which is made with potatoes and a *lot* of garlic. Like forty cloves of garlic - seriously!
I love this very traditional lunch, and this year I decided to find out if there was a traditional Croatian Easter dessert. And, it turns out, there is! So I made Croatian Easter cake, or Pinca - here's the recipe I used: Traditional Easter Cake.
I do enjoy baking, but this cake is more like a bread - it used yeast and needed a lot of rising time. So I was a bit worried about how it would turn out, and in fact I totally underestimated the rising time and ended up driving to my mum's place with the cake still raw and rising in the car :) But, thankfully, it turned out beautifully:
|My version of a traditional Croatian Easter Cake|
(If you read the recipe you'll see I gave up on the idea of plaiting the dough! And, it turns out, my boring loaf is more traditional, anyway :) ).
My grandmother is 89, and she immediately recognised the cake, but called it something different - Sirnica. I googled that, and it turns out, yes - that's the same style of cake! She also said there is another cake, called Lumblija, which is made for All Saints Day. I googled this, too - and it originates from Blato, a town only a few kilometres from where my family is from (Vela Luka) on the island of Korcula. I know exactly where that is, as I visited in 2010. So - now I have another cake to try in November :) Plus - my family all devoured the Sirnica, and it was agreed it would be a regular on our Croatian Easter menu.
Pinca/Sirnica isn't the only traditional Easter cake around - I found a few more:
- Simnel Cake - From the UK, this cake is decorated with 11 almond paste balls to represent the 11 true apostles.
- Easter Dove Cake - From Italy, I love the shape of this cake! I might try this one :)
- Kozinjak - From Macedonia - this looks amazing, and very similar to Sirnica.
|My Sirnica, and behind it are prsurate (the round balls)|
and hrstule (twisted pastries).
Plus the traditional (Australian!) hot cross buns :)
In my June US release, Secrets & Speed Dating, my hero's mum is Croatian, and I managed to squeeze in a few of my favourite Croatian meals into the story. But - none of the desserts! So, I guess I'll need to write another Croatian hero or heroine in the future, so I can spread the word - not only about Sirnica, but also hrstule and prsurate, my grandmother's staple traditional (amazing!) desserts for every occasion. Hmm, I may need to make those for a future LoveCats post :)
So, does your family have a traditional Easter meal? I'd love to hear about it!