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Romanian Food Recipes for Easter

Updated on May 8, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty collects recipes from past generations among ethnic groups, the 13 Original Colonies, the American Civil War & the 19th century.

Beautiful Romanian Easter Eggs.
Beautiful Romanian Easter Eggs. | Source

A friend who is second generation Romanian visited cousins in the Transylvanian sector of the old country during the Easter season one year and was treated to an abundant array of traditional foods of the season. She brought back the recipes from her aunt and we tried them together right away.

Learning the traditions behind the recipes was as delicious as eating the finished dishes, especially if you are a history fan. Please enjoy the national recipes that are all surprises and each one a succulent delight.

Appetizer: Transylvanian Fried Cheese

A markerTransylvania, Țegheș, Ilfov County, Romania -
Transylvania, Țegheș 077090, Romania
get directions

The cheese for the recipe used in Romania during Holy Week is made from the milk of local farm cows. It is made right on the farms and in homes where families have purchased the milk. According to friends and A Ukrainian in-law of mine, residents of many of the countries of Southeastern Europe and the European sector of the Russian Federation make this or a similar cheese at home especially for Easter celebrations.

Transylvanian Fried Cheese, popular in Romania for special occasions, including Easter celebrations.
Transylvanian Fried Cheese, popular in Romania for special occasions, including Easter celebrations. | Source
  • 1/2 Pound Provolone cheese
  • 2 Whole eggs beaten into 2 Tbsp water
  • 1.5 Cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 Cups vegetable oil
  • Several Romaine lettuce leaves or any leafy lettuce leaves for serving, rinsed and dried.
  • A variety of favorite hot sauces and sour cream, for garnish.

Instructions

  1. Slice the cheese into 1.5-inch squares, about half an inch thick.
  2. Dip cheese pieces into the beaten egg, then into seasoned bread crumbs, then repeat for a total of 4 “dips” for each piece.
  3. Fry breaded cheese until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Serve fried cheese on a large lettuce leaf or a few smaller leaves arranged on individual serving plates.
  5. Offer guests a variety of hot sauces and sour cream.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: Four appetizer servings

Please Rate This Recipe

5 stars from 1 rating of Transylvanian Fried Cheese

This recipe is easy to follow and quick to prepare. I use it not only during holidays, but anytime I would like to have fried cheese squares. They have a much fuller taste than the kind you can buy in the frozen foods section at the supermarket.

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The very light soy bean oil available is nice to use in this recipe, and olive oil tastes a bit heavy. Use what you like the best.

Easter Lamb Soup

This dish is made only at Easter and serves 12 people.

The soup is prepared with meat from lambs butchered during Holy Week, because those lambs are butchered in remembrance of 1) the Jewish Passover and 2) the Christian sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The synagogues and the Catholic and Orthodox churches of Romania celebrate these days of feasting or festivals.

In the Passover, lamb's blood painted on the door post of Jewish homes saved each home from death waged by the harsh government leader (Exodus 12:13). At the Crucifixion, Christ's blood was shed for the same purpose, to save humanity from death (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Passover and Holy Week often occur close together in the spring calendar and some years, they fill the same week.

Easter Lamb Soup
Easter Lamb Soup | Source

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lamb's head and neck. If you prefer not to use these parts, then use a leg of lamb.
  • 3 Quart water
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Bunch parsley, chopped
  • 5 Scallions
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Pound spinach
  • 1 Pound dark green leafy lettuce (like kale)
  • 1 Pound dock (another green)
  • 1/2 Pound red-root pig weed (amaranth)
  • ½ Pound sour dock (another type of greens)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Lovage: If you cannot find this herb, chop up celery leaves instead.
  • 1 Egg yolk (Please use the white for some other dish.)
  • 2 Tbsp Sour cream
  • Additional sour cream for use at the table.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a large pot, boil the lamb in salted water for 30 minutes, discard the water, fill the pot again and boil another 30 minutes. This softens the meat.
  • Chop all the vegetables and greens coarsely, but save out 3 scallions and slice them on the diagonal. Save about ¼ of each type of the chopped greens and set them aside together with the sliced scallions.
  • Add carrots and parsley to the boiling lamb and boil another 30 minutes (total time so far, 90 minutes).
  • Stir in all the greens (except those set aside with the scallions), stirring and boiling for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the egg yolk into the sour cream, then remove the soup from the heat and stir in the sour cream mixture quickly.
  • Add the remaining raw greens and scallion, stir, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes to blend flavors.
  • Serve soup with lamb meat and extra sour cream.

Note: This dish is a bit time consuming, requiring about two hours altogether, but is flavorful and filling. It reminds me of gyro meat in a soup.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lamb's Quarters can by substituted in place of pig weed. In Maine, it is called the "Prince of Wild Greens."Pigweed
Lamb's Quarters can by substituted in place of pig weed. In Maine, it is called the "Prince of Wild Greens."
Lamb's Quarters can by substituted in place of pig weed. In Maine, it is called the "Prince of Wild Greens." | Source
Pigweed
Pigweed | Source

This dish traditionally uses several types of greens: spinach, dark green leaf lettuce, dock, sour dock, and red pig weed (also used by some Native Americans). Not all greens are consistently available in American stores, so I often use spinach, kale, and red or green leaf lettuce. If you are good at foraging, you may find pig weed around your house! You can vary the combination and measures of greens to achieve slightly different flavors..

The Easter Pasca Cake

The Pasca cake made during Holy Week commemorates the passion of Jesus Christ, his suffering and substitution for humanity on the cross. Pasca is a word for "passion" in this sense, commemorating the pascal lambs that are butchered for Passover.

The cake is often decorated with three leaves in the center, representing the Holy Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

This cake is made at home and taken to church on Easter Morning to be blessed by the Catholic or Orthodox priest and then served later at home.

Get rid of the old "yeast" by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.

— 1 Corinthians 5:7; NLT
Click thumbnail to view full-size
You can make another symbol for the top - like these three leaves to remember the Holy Trinity.The Pasca cake, representing the sacrifice of the pascal lamb, Jesus Christ, on the cross.
You can make another symbol for the top - like these three leaves to remember the Holy Trinity.
You can make another symbol for the top - like these three leaves to remember the Holy Trinity. | Source
The Pasca cake, representing the sacrifice of the pascal lamb, Jesus Christ, on the cross.
The Pasca cake, representing the sacrifice of the pascal lamb, Jesus Christ, on the cross. | Source

INGREDIENTS

Sweet bread dough

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 3 Whole eggs, beaten
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Packet of yeast dissolved in a bit of the milk above.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp rum or rum flavoring
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp grated zest
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Combine flour and sugar, then cut butter and oil into the flour mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients together to form a ball of dough.

Filling

  • 1 Pound cottage cheese
  • 4 Whole eggs, beaten
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • ½ Cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Whole egg, beaten for egg wash for dough

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Take 2/3 of the dough and roll it out to 1” thick.
  • Place dough into a round cake pan (According to legend, round to remember the shape of baby Jesus's diaper).
  • Twist the remaining dough into a rope (or make two strands and twist it together) and stick it around the edge of the cake dough in the pan. This is known as “the rope of life” in the local customs (perhaps even the umbilical cord). You might save a small portion of dough and fashion a cross or three leaves on top of the filling before placing the cake in the oven.
  • Set the cake aside in a warm place to rise for 60 minutes.
  • Mix all of the filling ingredients together to form a paste.
  • After dough rises, pour filling into the center and, add the dough cross, if you like.
  • Brush the top of cake and filling with beaten egg and place cake into the oven. Let it bake for 45-55 minutes, then turn off oven and prop oven door open until cake is cool (have patience).

I find making this dough and working with it in the pan relaxing and fun. Letting it rise always requires patience, but I can do something else for that hour. The flavorful result tastes something like a cheesecake containing raisins.

Stavropoleos Monastery, Bucharest, Romania
Stavropoleos Monastery, Bucharest, Romania | Source

Easter Lamb Haggis (Drob de Mielcan)

This is a traditional national Easter dish uses the organs of the lambs that are sacrificed during Holy Week in both Jewish and Christian observations. The organs are baked into a haggis and served on Easter Sunday with the fried cheese appetizer, lamb soup, and pasca cake.

Romanian Easter Lamb Haggis (Drob de Mielcan) make quite an attractive loaf.
Romanian Easter Lamb Haggis (Drob de Mielcan) make quite an attractive loaf.

INGREDIENTS

Serves six people.

  • Lamb organs: liver, heart, spleen, kidneys; whatever you have.
  • 6 Scallions, chopped
  • 4 springs of garlic chives, chopped
  • 4 Whole eggs, beaten well
  • 1 Cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Caul fat if you can acquire it (fatty membrane around organs; it will melt into the loaf to make it moist)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Loaf Pan
  • Bread crumbs
  • 3 hard boiled eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Wash organs and cut into bite-sized cubes.
  • Place cubes in 3 Cups & 1 Cup white vinegar to remove gamey tastes and smells.
  • Put cubes cold water in a pot and boil over medium high heat 25 minutes. Remove foam as it is produced with a ladle.
  • Remove from heat, discard water, let meat cool for 15 minutes.
  • Grind the meat with all remaining ingredients, except eggs; season.
  • Beat eggs, add to meat and stir into a thick paste.
  • If too dry, add some sour cream or another beaten egg.
  • Grease a loaf pan and dust it with bread crumbs.
  • If you have it, place caul fat on bottom of pan and put meat mix on top.
  • Work the 3 hard boiled eggs into the meat loaf and cover meat with additional caul fat or brush with a little oil.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, cool, remove from pan and refrigerate wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • To serve, slice the loaf.

GRAVY NOTE: A traditional sauce is made from the crushed cloves of an entire head of garlic, combine with a little oil, salt, and sour cream to the desired consistency.

This dish requires about an hour and forty-five minutes from start to finish. I find that it tastes better than Scottish haggis, but I also find that using other, more familiar meats, provides a tasty alternative. Chicken, beef, and pork are all good in this dish than can be a meal in itself.

Romanian Easter Eggs

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Beaded and dyes eggs, a Romanian Easter tradition.
Source
Beaded and dyes eggs, a Romanian Easter tradition.
Beaded and dyes eggs, a Romanian Easter tradition.

The Easter egg in Southeastern Europe, Ukraine, and Russia represents the new beginning offered by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

These Easter eggs are called variations of "pysanky", "pissankii", and "krashanky." They are delicately different in design in each nation, with patterns recognizable, like a fingerprint, in each of these countries. The most intricate I have seen in Poland and Romania. Ukrainian eggs are celebrated in Chicago at a museum that stores and exhibits thousands of these intricate eggs - some very old. In Russia, you will see solid red eggs dyed with beet dye or red onion skins and hot water.

If you would like to try making Romanian style eggs, watch the video below. I was fortunate to have a teacher in middle school who taught us to make the Ukrainian and Romanian eggs that were used in her Orthodox church services and after church feasts at Easter, so I think the art form is a lot of fun.

Each of the countries on this map have their own traditional style and colors for Easter eggs. Russia is another country with its own style and colors - often a totally red egg.
Each of the countries on this map have their own traditional style and colors for Easter eggs. Russia is another country with its own style and colors - often a totally red egg. | Source
Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, Romania.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, Romania. | Source

© 2009 Patty Inglish

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    • nazir1988 profile image

      nazir1988 7 years ago from chennai,india

      great hub

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      Always have loved to collect recipes since middle school!

    • santoion profile image

      santoion 8 years ago

      I believe that YOU are Great !

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      It is interesting , isn't it - just as the Romanians themselves. I'm going to try it with all beef liver in a while, since I eat that once a year.

    • Heartaday profile image

      Heartaday 8 years ago

      Romanian haggis! Fascinating.

    • profile image

      mulberry 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the recipes!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 8 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      These recipes look very delicious. T%he Easter Pasca I going to make for Easter. I love trying recipes from different ethnicities.

    • profile image

      MandM 8 years ago

      It's interesting that easter recipes are of lamb that is the animal of the history of cristianity.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      The cake and cheese are really good and so is the lamb. You'd think the last dish would look bad, but it looks very nice and smells good. Once a year is ok for organ meats, otherwise I pass.

    • Netters profile image

      Netters 8 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      Very interesting. I know the eggs they design are beautiful. Thank you for the recipes!