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bear by san

December 2021



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here's how it goes, it comes to blows.

It's the end of December, which means its nearly New Year's, which means it's time for the Inauthentic Medivnyk recipe one more time.

Happy Holidays!

(Guess what I making today?)

Ukrainian Christmas Cake (sorta)

(Other versions are less fluffy, do not have the yeast, do not have the sour cream/yogurt, do not have the sugar, are less labor-intensive, add fruit or nuts....)

1 pkg. dry granular yeast
3 tbsp. lukewarm water
1 cup honey (dark buckwheat honey is preferable)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream (I use whole milk yogurt)
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs separated
3 cups sifted flour (I use half whole wheat and half unbleached)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease your pan--rectangular cake pan or loaf pan(s).

Proof the yeast. Bring the honey to a boil and cool it slightly. The honey should be warm.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand-held mixer until light and creamy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and continue to beat until all is incorporated, then add the honey and sour cream and continue to mix. Add the yeast to the resultant batter; it's mostly for flavor. *g*

Beat the eggs whites to stiff peak. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Fold the flour mixture and the egg whites, alternating, into the cake batter as gently as possible so you do not lose the loft of the meringue.

Slide the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Give it a little while to set up, then invert pans on wire racks to remove cake and cool. But not too much; it's best warm.

And now I really want to make piroshkis.

But neither they nor medivnyk are really On The Discipline, now are they? And I am, again.



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Bah. Diets should all be suspended until after New Year's.

This sounds delicious. I am still working my way through my annual loaf of houska (Czech holiday bread something like challah with almonds, raisins and candied cherries, flavored with mace and glazed with confectioner's sugar and milk).
The Discipline is not so much a diet as the ruthless expunging of refined (read white, excluding potatoes, which stay) carbs.

It appears to be good for me, based on how it does Good Things for my mood and energy level and body. But as I really LIKE pasta, white rice (omg basmati. sticky rice. OMG), and sourdough bread, it's also very taxing on my soul.
*agrees on the pasta, rice--especially good proper sticky rice, and sourdough bread*
Could you make the Medivnyk with that white whole wheat flour, like what King Arthur sells?
I couldn't make it without honey or sugar. *g*
That's a problem then.

I *can* say that using Sugar Twin, even half-and-half with white sugar, gives way too much of the saccharin aftertaste that is less obnoxious in gum or soda. Other than that they were tasty banana muffins.

My Swedish-Austrian grandfather baked in a predominantly German tradition rather than a Swedish one so we do stollen for the holidays. Or we do when I get around to baking it, as I did not this year.
I don't use chemical sweeteners.
I don't usually either, but the Spouse just got diagnosed diabetic and I was looking for something easily manageable that he could take to work for breakfast that didn't have too much sugar in it. Ah, well. Back to the drawing board.
So whole wheat piroshkis would be all right? ;)
All right, but probably disgusting. *g* (I make the pastry kind.)
That's interesting. I have had to do something similar (not as rigorous, but similar) because of digestive issues... and now that I've been on it a while, my digestive issues do not mind if I deviate from The Plan occasionally — but my moods and energy levels really do.

I always liked brown rice better than white anyway, but oh my GOD do I miss real pasta.
Barilla Whole Wheat and Plus pasta are both good--the Plus has lentil flour (it also has white flour, but not so much) and the Whole Wheat is something like 55% whole grain. I find I tolerate them quite well. Even when I've been strict enough about The Discipline that the smell of white sugar starts to nauseate me.
I've found I like the taste of Barilla Plus better than white pasta, to the point where it's all I buy! One of these days they'll see fit to add lasagne noodles to the lineup, and I'll completely dispense with white pasta forevermore.
Ukranian Christmas is the best Christmas ever. Without it, there would be no Carol of the Bells.
My people have their uses.

I figure since I am Swedish and Ukrainian, my holiday season can extend from Dec 13 - Jan 6, inclusive. *g*
Thank you. Just.. thank you. :)
totally welcome. Want some cake? *g*
Yes, please. :) I've actually cut out most carbs and sugar, and feel much better as a result. But one still wants a treat once in a while, and this just looks lovely. I'll keep the recipe for those times when I can share it with many people, so it won't be hanging around tempting me for days.
This sounds very nice. Don't suppose you've got any idea how much yeast is in a packet? Is it about enough for a loaf?
I sub in a teaspoon when I make it with bulk yeast.

That's probably a bit much, but--it's not in there long, and mostly for oven bloom and some flavor.
An American packet of baking yeast is 2.25 tsp. If it's just for flavor, close enough. But my bread would be 2-day bread with only a tsp.
If you look at the recipe, you may notice that there are three other leavening agents. *g*
ooo! Do you have to make it before New Year's, or are you still within the spirit of the holiday if you get to it pre-Epiphany?
I think any time up to the 6th is within the Slavic Holiday Buffer. *g*
Yay! (One of these years, really must look into how long the Christmas season lasts in my various ethnic backgrounds, to see if I can legitimately claim a heritage of the holiday lasting through Epiphany, rather than just using the Twelve Days of Christmas as an excuse when the packages are late....I think my best shot is Finnish, frankly, but haven't ever looked into it)