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Traditional Rusyn recipes

| Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2005

John Reghetti, general chairman for the 12th Rusyn Food Festival at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Ambridge shared these traditional recipes, to be served at the event on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Pagach (Rusyn Pizza)

  • Butter, for greasing pans and spreading on dough
  • 2 small cakes compressed yeast or 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • About 6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Sauerkraut Filling (recipe follows)
  • Potato Filling (recipe follows)

Grease 4 half-sheet rectangular baking pans (18 by 13 inches).

To make the dough: Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water.

In a bowl, mix the salt, vegetable shortening, 1 1/2 cups water, 6 1/2 cups flour and the sugar. Add the yeast mixture. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding more flour to keep a kneading consistency. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled.

After the dough rises, punch down and divide into 8 parts. Let rise again, covered by a dry cloth.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll one portion of dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Place it onto one of the prepared pans. Place the desired filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin from the edges. Roll out another sheet of dough the same size, but thinner. Place on top of the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal the filling inside.

Using a rolling pin, roll across the top layer of dough to compress the filling. Prick the top in several places. Brush with melted butter.

Bake for 25 minutes or until done. Cut into squares. Can be served hot or cold. If serving hot, brush the top once more with melted butter.

Makes 4 -inch pizzas.

Sauerkraut Filling

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) sauerkraut
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter
  • Water

Drain the sauerkraut. Chop the onion and fry it in the butter until translucent. Add the sauerkraut and saute. Add water to cover, turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the water is evaporated, adding more water to cook longer if the sauerkraut is not as tender as desired.

Potato Filling

  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 pound longhorn cheese, shredded

Peel and cube the potatoes. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash. While the potatoes still are hot, add the cheese, mixing thoroughly.

Palachinke (Rusyn pancakes)

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Butter or vegetable oil
  • Apricot or prune paste or desired fruit preserves, for filling (optional)
  • Cheese Filling (optional, recipe follows)
  • Warm honey (optional)

In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until frothy. Add the salt and 1{ 1/2} cups milk. Beat in the flour until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the vanilla; mix. The batter should be very thin.

Place a very small amount of butter or oil in a 9- or 10-inch nonstick skillet and heat. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom and swirl to make the pancake thin and cover the surface. Cook until the edges turn brown, for about 30 seconds.

Flip the pancake over and cook for only 5 to 10 seconds. Remove from heat and stack on a plate for filling; or stack between layers of wax paper to freeze. Regrease the skillet for each pancake.

Spread with your choice of filling and roll up like a crepe; or serve warm with warm honey.

Cheese Filling

  • 1 (16 ounces) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients.

Cheregi (Ruysn Doughnuts)

  • 1 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 of a large cake compressed yeast or 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Confectioners' sugar

Heat 1 cup milk until scalding hot; do not boil. Add the butter, granulated sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup cream to cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast. Stir in the eggs. Gradually add the flour and mix well. Refrigerate overnight.

Knead the dough. Roll it out and cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips, using a pastry wheel. Each should be about 3 inches long. Cut a slit in the middle of each one. Take one end of the dough and pull it through the slit to make a "bowtie."

Heat about 1 inch of shortening or oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the cheregi one by one -- do not crowd -- frying one side until golden brown, then flip and fry the second side.

Serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

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