Saturday, March 12, 2016

Easter traditions

     When we were growing up it wasn't Easter without certain things our Busia made.  There had to be placzek, a lamb cake and there had to be cruschiki.  I learned the procedure involved in making it by watching her but she never wrote down a recipe and I never saw her use a measuring cup.  A few years after she passed away I found a recipe and made them.  From then on I was the family cruschiki maker and Easter was Easter again.
      Then, I stopped.  The greasy smell that permeated the house for days after was never something I enjoyed but endured it for the sake of the product.  When we moved to the lake I opted out of frying anything because I didn't have a vent hood over the stove.  The kitchen was kind of in the middle of things at that house and a hood wasn't part of "the look."  So.  No more crusciki.  No way to vent the oily smoke and fumes.
     At one point this winter I had a eureka moment.  The previous owners left the gas grill because they had the gas line from the house hooked up to the grill.  It's really convenient and I ruminated for a few weeks on whether I could use the gas grill to fry the cruschiki. Oily steam and fumes would stay outside!  My biggest concern was if the oil would get hot enough by virtue of being outside. It just seemed like it should work.  Oh, and I needed a relatively nice day.  We're in the middle of a nice stretch of warmer than winter spring weather so, today I tried it. 
 I made a half batch. 
 I rolled them thin because Busia's never had a 'bite' to them.  They're supposed to crumble and fall down the front of your shirt at the first bite.
 If the grill top was down so the temperature inside got past 400 degrees the oil was hot enough to really fry them fast like they're supposed to be.  Slow frying means oil absorbs into them and they taste yucky.  The problem wasn't really a problem because the oil would have acted the same if I were frying inside the house.  After one batch the temperature went down and I had to wait till it went back up again.  But I worked that out, too.  After two fries I went back into the house to cut and twist more, giving the oil the chance to heat back up.  It worked very well.
 The cruschiki actually cooked better because the oil wasn't TOO hot.  In the past I always burnt a few batches.  
 They turned out perfect.  Alas, the half batch means I have to keep my hands off them till Easter.

After they were sugared I put them in a container and into the freezer.  Maybe I'll tackle the placzek next.  I don't know....I don't do well with yeast.  Maybe, though....


  1. Looks amazing! What a great idea to fry outside, I agree frying in the house is not a great thing, even frozen fish fillets oven baked can linger way too long!
    I would say you are on a winner there. Lovely to have such Easter traditions, I always thought Europeans had better food at Easter that us British, hot cross buns is our only tradition......and I resist eating them until Good Friday!

  2. My grandma used to make them, too--we called them bowties and she called them what sounded to me like 'crushkis'. I haven't had them in nearly 50 years! Yum-o :)