Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Taste of Summer in Winter: Plum Pie

In December, I virtually hosted a conversation about holiday foods at America House in Kyiv.  Inna Dudnyk, an aspiring graphic artist who lives to cook,  brought a beautiful plum pie to--and even brought photos to share of the whole process.  We're so pleased that we persuaded her to write this guest post about the whole process. Enjoy her great baking! Do you also have a recipe to share with the Pickle Project?  Be in touch!

In my family I am the one who usually bakes because my mom absolutely hates baking. Even though she has this notebook with bunch of recipes and what’s ironic is that a big section of it is dedicated to all kinds of cakes, pies and even pizza.  This is my aunt’s recipe and it doesn’t actually have directions so I just used simple logic and assumed some of the things. For example, it doesn’t say if the butter is supposed to be soft or melted . It just says: mix all the ingredients for the dough, spread it over the baking dish, fill it with the filling of your choice, cover it and then just bake it. In the original recipe instead of plums she uses sour apples, but you can use any sour fruit. I’m using plums from my mom’s garden. We had a great harvest this year so I’m making everything with plums: pancakes, pies, cakes and sometimes even oatmeal. To be honest, at this point I’m a little sick of the plums.

The ingredients you will need for this pie:

1 egg

1 cup of flour

50 grams of butter

500 grams of plums

150 grams of cottage cheese

½  tea spoon of baking soda

½  tea spoon cinnamon

So, first thing you do is mix half of the cup of sugar and an egg until the sugar mostly dissolves. In the second bowl mix soft butter and cottage cheese. Then mix the contents of both bowls together. But of course you can just gradually add the ingredients to the first bowl. Don’t know why I used two of them in the first place. I probably thought that it would look better in pictures. But afterwards you get to wash more dishes.

After you mixed all of the ingredients together start gradually adding the flour until the dough gets too thick for the mixer and then mix it with a spoon.  Don’t forget to add baking soda to the flour.

Prepare your working surface by dusting some flour over the dry surface, so the dough won't stick when it's time to knead.

Put the dough on a working surface and start to knead. I ended up adding more flour because the dough didn’t have the consistency I wanted. And even after that no matter how much I kneaded it, it just kept sticking to my hands and the table. I know that usually the dough is not supposed to be sticky but with this one who knows.

Cut it into two pieces.

Roll out the first piece of the dough and then spread it evenly over the baking dish.

If you’re using frozen plums, defrost them in a refrigerator overnight. Or if you are an impatient person like me you can leave them on a table for an hour and then run cool water over them for several minutes to speed up the process. Just be sure to drain off the water completely. After that spread the plums over the unbaked pastry shell and then sprinkle them with cinnamon.

Roll out the second piece of the dough and cover the pie. Make multiple punctures with a fork. Pinch the edges together. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes at 180 C until golden brown.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Traditional Pickling in L'viv

Pickle Project friend Eugene Chervony, deputy director of the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in L'viv, sent along these great photos of pickling onions, tomatoes and plums,  from the museum.   Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2015

L'viv Market Report: Easter Edition

Yesterday, on the first sunny day in more than a week, my friend Antonina and her baby Nicole joined me for a trip to two different markets to check out what was on offer for Easter.  We found a great deal, and here's just a bit of what we saw.  Enjoy!  Above, tiny bread lambs, that as I understand it, are saved for an entire year, and then offered to the birds.

Vendors are always a bit hesitant to have their photo taken, but many of them will consent to a request with a shy smile.  The man was selling a variety of dried things, including these dried cherries he offered me a taste of.

The some of everything table.  Preserved cherries, dried beans, pickled cabbage, and at the very top right, dill seed.

 Spring onions and lovely ramps!

Paska, of course, the traditional Easter bread, usually baked in a can.

Another vendor who was reluctant, but then gave me the greatest smile!  Below, soft cheese, like a farmers' cheese.

Preserved fruits, milk, and in the background, chicken.

The most studious looking butcher I've ever seen.

We stopped and had a long chat with this young man, who was selling along the street with his mother.  They come from a small village in the Carpathians, and come once a year to L'viv to sell the baskets that the family makes all year round.  He shared a description of the process, and I happily bought a small one to bring home.  The reddish varnish is more traditional, but I like the natural ones.

Horseradish, traditional for inclusion in your Easter basket, along with bread, salt, and egg.

Below, homemade salo, of course.

And finally, onion sets for planting.  Welcome spring!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Market Report: L'viv, March 27, 2015

I'm back in L'viv for a month, working as a Fulbright Specialist, but happy that it also provides me some time to visit markets, particularly as Easter approaches.  A quick trip today, to the market near St. George's Cathedral, showed both the end of winter and the approach of spring (much further along here than in upstate New York).  Enjoy!

Above, and below, pickles of all sorts.

And more remnants of winter:  dried beans and nuts;  potatoes and cabbage, the staples; a dried mushroom seller, and in the last photo, a couple cups of somewhat unidentifiable dried something.  Guesses anyone?

And then the signs of spring:  eggs, perhaps soon to be decorated; the serious business of seed buying, honey from Ternopil; and a big bunch of daffodils!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Roadside Honey

Just a few photos from a trip back from Mykolayiv. We stopped along the road  to purchase some honey and bee pollen.  The man had a huge selection of honey and honey-related products for sale, and my friend Ihor (that's him tasting above) had extensive conversation about the types (buckwheat, acacia and others);  the properties of bee pollen; and more.  He also had homemade wine and walnuts for sale, though we didn't come home with either.  According to Ihor, bees and honey were scarce this year in Poltava, his native region, so he stocked up on several varieties to take home.

As we made the long drive, we noticed that each village tended to sell one thing or the other.  We passed the village with a sugar plant, where big bags of sugar were for sale along the road.  On the road we also saw truck after truck filled with sugar beets.  In one village, potatoes for sale; in another, apples; another cabbages; and still another, sweet peppers.

For mile after mile, the incredible black dirt of Ukraine stretched out before us with the remainders of corn, sunflowers and other crops; and some fields set afire to burn off crops before winter.  I've traveled over a great deal of Ukraine on this trip, and find so many lovely parts that I'd like to explore.