Tomorrow, on Maundy Thursday the Easter festive period starts. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Good Saturday are the final days of the 40-days fasting period. With the Easter Night mass on Saturday evening the Easter days start. As for every special event or festive period, there are special meals that Austrian enjoy during those days. While the menus and traditions may vary from region to region, from family to family, I would like to share with you the complete menu of what I and my family eat from tomorrow on:
Maundy Thursday: Cream spinach with roasted potatoes and fried egg.
Yummy. Throughout the year this is one of my favourite dishes. There more I enjoy it on Maundy Thursday. But why do we Austrians eat exactely spinach on Maundy Thursday? Maundy Thursday in German - translated word by word - is 'Green Thursday' (Gründonnerstag) and as spinach is green, Austrians eat spinach on this day :). Please note, that the 'green' (grün) does not come at all from the colour, but from the old German word 'greinen' which means as much as 'crying, moaning'. Over the years it turned into 'grün' (green)...
The ingredients are simple and the preparation easy:
- Take deepfrozen cream spinach and put it into a pot with some drops of milk or water. Let it defrost at medium heat. At the end add some nutmeg, salt and pepper. There we go.
- While the cream spinach is defrosting, peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices to be then fried in onions and olive oil. Alternatively - the longer and more traditional variant - boil the potatoes, then peel them, cut them into slices and roast them with roasted onions and some butter. In both ways, do not forget to add a pinch of salt.
- Fry the egg(s).
Good Friday: Potatoe-Sterz in sourcream soup.
Good Friday and Good Saturday are the most serious fasting days. Therefore, on these days, we do not eat any meat or sweets. We keep the meals very simple and modest. Nonetheless, I love my mum's potatoe sterz in sourcream soup.
Again, the ingredients are simple and the preparation easy:
- Boil the potatoes and peel them.
- Roast the onions in some olive oil.
- Mash the potatoes and add them to the roasted onions. Mash and turn the potatoes again and again.
- For the sourcream soup boil the water with salt and caraway.
- Stir sourcream with some water and flour until smooth and mix it into the salty water.
- Boil another two to three minutes.
- Put the potatoe sterz into the sourcream soup. Some black bread fits perfectly well.
Good Saturday: Blessed bread, ham, and eggs.
While during the day we are eating only some some or potatoes or bread with butter and chive, we are waiting for the great feast after the East Night mass. In the evening mass the people bring their baskets with bread, ham, and eggs, sometimes also horse radish, cheese, mayonnaise and so on. My family keeps it to the basics. During the mass the fasting period is officially ended and the Easter festivities are about to start. Once at home, the table is nicely decorated and the feat may start.
The ingredients are blessed and the preparation very easy:
- Cut the bread into slices. Important: Watch out that you do not spare out to many bread crumbs (do not forget: the bread is blessed!!!)
- Put some butter on the single bread slices and top them with blessed ham and a slice or two of blessed and hard-boiled (Easter)eggs.
- You can serve horseradish, pickles, cheese or mayonnaise along. But more important than these adding-ons is to have ready some hot tea or a good glass of wine :).
Easter Sunday: Favourite dish and in my family: dinner toast!
For lunch there is no traditional dish, but as Easter is special, it is one of the favourite family dishes.
For dinner, me and my family we have a very special tradition. We are visiting my godparents where we are enjoying all together in great company the Easter fire outside on the open fields. Usually, it gets quite fresh then and we are all happy to get back inside to enjoy my uncle's very delicious special toast:
- Get blessed ham, cheese, sliced onions and pepper between the two buttered toast bread slices.
- Put them into the toaster and wait.
- Get them out, slice them into two halves and serve them.... as a toast mountain on one single plate that you put into the middle of the table.
- Everyone serves him/herself and waits for more toasts to come :).
Easter Monday: Osterkipfl.
In Austria, god children get from their godparents the so called "Striezel" for All Saints (Nov 1) and Easter. For Easter it comes in a special form and looks like a giant croissant. So then it is called the Osterkipfl (Easter Giant Croissant) Very often, a silver coin can be found stuck into the Osterkipfl. The Osterkipfl can be either ordered in a bakery or it is self-made as I do it for my goddaugther :). There are only some steps to follow:
- Crumble the yeast into the flour
- Warm the milk with sugar, salt, some rhum, and vanilla sugar
- Add the egg yolks to the lukemilk and add the whole to the flour. Who likes raisins, might also add some raisins. For me, they are an absolute MUST, my brother does not like them at all.
- Process the whole to a medium-hard dough.
- Let the dough rest at a warm place until it reaches its double size (approx. 30 minutes).
- Devide the dough into three of four parts, form long rolls and plait them. At the end, form the plait into a croissant and put some egg and almond sticks or sugar crystals on top and bake it for about 45 to 50 minutes in the oven (190 degrees).
The Striezel or Osterkipfl can be best enjoyed with some butter and fruity jam like strawberry or apricot jam.
Enjoy your Easter meals! After Easter, in the second half of April we will start our summer webinar series with professional sales tips for Austria and Italy. Stay tuned and healthy.
HAPPY EASTER everyone!