Every family who celebrates Easter have very specific recipes that they pull out ever year, just like for Christmas, and that they hope to transmit from generation to generation. My family balancing on several cultural origins, every Easter, we have several rituals. So I’ve decided to share 3 of our most precious recipes ever.
“BUGNES LYONNAISES” OF BONNE-MAMAN ELIZABETH
I grew up in Lyon, France, so most of my cultural background has been linked to that. One of the essentials of Lyon’s traditions for Easter are “Bugnes”, and though my grandmother was not one that had a passion for cooking, whenever she had a go at it, on specific occasions, she was truly good at it. Easter “Bugnes” were one of her specialties.
What are Bugnes ?
It is a type of beignet that is flat and crisp, and flavored with orange blossom water. They are savored sprinkled with icing sugar. They have been part of Lyon’s tradition for several centuries, as it is said that they go back to Ancient Rome’s time. and generation after generation, kids wait for them every year.
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 40g butter
- 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water or rum
- 75g sugar
- A pinch of salt
- Oil to fry
- Icing sugar to sprinkle
- In a big bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, the sugar with the eggs and melted butter. Then add a pinch of salt and rum or orange blossom water.
- Add approximately 100 ml of water. Your batter should not become liquid, just soft.
- Kneed with your hand until you have a smooth ball of dough. Cover with a plastic film and let rest for at least 1 hour.
- Sprinkle four on your kitchen worktop and roll out your dough. It should be approximately 3 mm thick.
- Cut rectangles into the dough and cut a nick into the center, and pass one of the extremities through it (for the shape).
- Dip them into the frying oil and once golden, let them drain on paper towels.
- Once they have cooled down a bit, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
ARMENIAN “KAAK KLICHA” OF TÉTA JOSÉPHINE
Téta Joséphine was half Armenian, and though she died young, she left behind a few delightful and heartwarming recipes that my father tried to keep alive the best he could. One of them is the delicious “Kaak Klicha”, made only for Easter.
What is “Kaak Klich”?
It is actually a sugar cookie, and might also be called “Armenian Kaak bi halib”, in Lebanon. What is noticeable about those kaaks is the specific spices and aromas that emanates from them…
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 125g butter, softened
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 65g sugar
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- A pinch of white pepper
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of mahlab
- In a big bowl, sift together the flour and the spices. Add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the butter and with your fingertips, work together to obtain a coarse sand.
- Let that sand rest under a cloth for about half hour.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, with 1/2 spoon of sugar. It should foam. Add the milk and yeast mixture to that sand, and work into a smooth dough. Roll into a ball and let rest under a cloth for about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 150°C. Form your “kaaks”. Traditionally in my family, we form either little circles or mini braids.
- Set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush them with an egg yolk mixed with a tbsp of milk.
- Place in the oven to bake for about 20 min. They should be golden but still slightly soft to the touch.
- Let them cool down before serving. Keep them in an air-tight container.
“LEBANESE MAAMOULS” OF AUNTIE MAYDA
Every year, Aunt Mayda, who is probably one of the best cooks and bakers I have ever known, makes endless batches of maamouls, because she knows the whole family will want to have some. It took her years of experimenting before finalizing exactly the recipe that she wanted, and the one that everyone in the family dies for…
What are maamouls?
They are traditional Lebanese shortbread cookies filled with either walnuts, pistachios or dates, and most families make them at home for Easter.
For the dough:
- 300g of semolina (fine preferably)
- 200g of all-purpose flour
- 200g softened butter
- 80g icing sugar
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp mahlab
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water (or rose water, or a mixture of both)
For the filling:
- 200g walnuts, or pistachios
- 50g sugar
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 2 tsp of orange blossom water
- Mix them all together in a mixer, slightly coarsely
For the date filling:
- 150g of date paste
- Mix the semolina, flour and icing sugar in a big bowl.
- Cut butter into pieces, add them to the flour mixture and mix with fingertips until you obtain consistency of coarse sand.
- Add orange blossom water and milk, and work the dough until you can form a ball. Leave in the bowl, cover with a cloth and let rest for 1 hour.
- Preheat the over at 180°C.
- Take chunks of dough equivalent to half an egg and roll them into little balls. Form a whole in each ball with your thumb. Stuff the filling into it and close the ball.
- You can either choose to give your maamouls their shape with specialized molds, or do it yourself with the back of a knife, according to their filling.
- Place the maamouls on a baking sheets greased with butter or lined with parchment paper. Bake in the over for 20 min at 180°C. Maamouls should barely take a slight color.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a grid. Once cooled, sprinkle them with a bit of icing sugar, except those with date filling.
- Keep them in an air-tight container.