Yesterday I participated in a podcast with Chris Cash of the The Catholic Company and Catholic Spotlight. Our topic was oplatky, which are the special Christmas wafers traditionally used on Christmas Eve by Eastern European families. As soon as that podcast is posted, I’ll provide the link.
**Updated: the link is here.
One of the things we discussed was the traditional dinner known as Wigilia in Polish. The Slovak tradition is similar, and I promised Chris I’d check out my copy of The Anniversary Slovak-American Cook Book and do a post about the dishes listed there. The Traditional Christmas Eve Supper Menu is listed on page 8 and includes this explanation:
The traditional Christmas Eve Supper is prepared with home grown crops. The menu, therefore, varies in different parts of Slovakia. Varieties of soups are served. For example, some people serve mushroom soup, others serve sauerkraut soup with mushrooms…
Although I have a Slovak heritage, I and my family are definitely American and our taste buds, especially those of the children, don’t necessarily agree that sauerkraut or stewed prunes make for good eats. Having a “traditional” dinner isn’t much fun if nobody wants to eat it. So, although I post this menu for those who may be interested, I do not claim to prepare all these dishes or heartily enjoy them. If I were truly a traditionalist, my dinner would be made with home-grown crops which, this year, were primarily tomatoes, basil and peppers, none of which are included in this list.
Traditional Slovak Christmas Eve Supper
Oplatky (Christmas Wafers)
Honey (my mom says they always dipped the oplatky in the honey)
Pagash (this is a filled dough – similar to stromboli, but filled with sauerkraut not tomato sauce and cheese)
Bobalky (this is a bread that you pour boiling water over and then coat with honey and poppy seed…sounds, um, different)
Fish (no specific recipe given)
Mixed Dried Fruits or Stewed Prunes
Assorted Fresh Fruits
Nut and Poppy seed Rolls
Rozky (see below)
Rozky was a section heading in the cook book and based on the picture and a quick read of the recipes must translate into “cookie”. Most of the recipes seem to be a filled cookie (nut filling or poppy seed or cheese or jam), and many seem to be shaped into crescents or horns. Since I’m a huge fan of cookies, I thought I’d share one of the Rozky recipes. Some of the recipes have various names, but at least 6 are labeled simply “rozky.” This is one of those. I say this so purists won’t write and tell me that their great-grandmother’s rozky recipe is nothing like my rozky recipe. For the record, I make Russian Tea Cakes with pecans, but many people say walnuts are the correct nut to use. Everybody has her own preference.
1 1/2 pounds flour
1 pound butter
1 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 can evaporated milk
5 egg yolks
Mix first 7 ingredients until well blended and dough does not stick to hands. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. Roll out on floured surface and cut into 3″ squares. Fill with poppy seed, prune butter or any desired filling. Roll and turn into crescents. Brush top with milk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.