Easter is one of the main Christian feasts. In Hungary, we have some customs and typical Easter food like braided Challah of course.
The main custom on Easter Monday is called 'Locsolkodás'. Men reciting a poem to women and then “sprinkling” them. Originally they poured a bucket of cold water over women's bodies but nowadays a friendlier version is using really cheap cologne. It has links to earlier pagan fertility rituals, and a few decades ago this custom was more popular to between young, unmarried women more likely to get “sprinkled", but it has expanded to women of all ages.
Men received a hand-painted and dyed egg in exchange. Traditionally the eggs were red (to symbolize Jesus' blood) and the egg itself was the symbol of eternal life. If you would like to prepare these naturally decorated and dyed eggs, I share the method below.
- 6 eggs
- Leaves, flowers
- Peel of 4-5 onions (natural dye)
- Old tights
- Lard, fat bacon (optional, traditional ingredients)
- Place the leaves and flowers on the eggs, you can stick them on with a few drops of water if it helps.
- Place the eggs in the thighs to secure the leaves and flowers tight and tie the end by the string.
- Place the eggs in the pot, add the onion peel and water till it completely covers the eggs.
- Bring it to boil and boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and let it chill down for a minimum of 2 hours or longer for an even more deep colour.
- Remove the tights, leaves and flowers and use a paper towel to wipe the eggs.
- Traditionally we rub it with lard or fat bacon to achieve this beautiful greasy shine.
By the way, I've grown most of these plants during the #tscsowproject of House of Coce supper club.
Nowadays we bake some cakes too, serve our famous strong spirit called pálinka or great Hungarian wines and some families give some money for little boys -especially if they're relatives.
When the 40 days Lent ends on Easter Sunday, meat dishes appear on the table again. At Easter, we eat smoked and cooked ham served with shredded horseradish and boiled eggs with 'kalács'(challah). Lamb is not served on our typical Easter table. Another important custom is the 'food blessing' when families packed a little basket of non-Lent food and bring it to the church at Easter service to get blessed by the priest.
- 500 g flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 large pinch of salt
- 50 g butter - melted
- 25 g fresh yeast
- 250 ml milk
- 1 egg - beaten, for egg wash
- Sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other sprinkles - optional
- Heat up half of the milk till it's hand warm, add the yeast and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add the sugar, salt, egg yolks, melted butter, the leftover milk and finally the milk-yeast mixture.
- Knead it by hand or a hand mixer with dough hooks.
- Let it to proof for an hour in a warm place. During winter just put it a bit closer to your heater.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal segments, and prepare the braid. You can do a 3 start braid too, or anything you prefer.
- Give the braided dough an egg wash.
- Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180 °C for about 30 minutes.
- Let it cool down before you slice.
You can prepare Challach Burger Buns from the same dough: just divide the dough into smaller pieces, form buns, give an egg wash and sprinkle them if you fancy before baking them for about 20 minutes. You will definitely enjoy your burger in these beauts!