We recently had a request from a reader named Jean for several traditional Ukrainian recipes. We're starting this week with nalysnyky, a thin rolled pancake that is often served with a sweet or savoury cheese filling. Several readers wrote in with recipes and helpful tips. Thanks to Johanne O'Brien for her recipes for the crepes and savoury cheese filling, and to Grace Skowron, whose recipe for sweet cheese filling comes from a booklet she created as a fundraiser for a Polish family who suffered a catastrophic car accident in Minnedosa in 2004. Thanks also to Linda Snider and Aster Hansen.
As with many traditional dishes, I wish I had somebody's grandmother standing next to me and helping me along. But my first batch of nalysnyky turned out pretty well, and I'll follow up in the coming weeks with recipes I've received for pampushke and perishke.
Currently, we have a request from James Treller for meat pies like the Belgian Bakery used to make, and a request from Courtney Jones for the Baked Expectations' veggie burger. Another reader would love recipes for Greek salad and Greek potatoes like those served at Homer's or at Juliana Pizza and Restaurant.
If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
250 ml (1 cup) milk
90 ml (6 tbsp) water
250 ml (1 cup) sifted all-purpose flour
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
In a medium bowl, beat eggs until light. Add milk, water, flour and salt and beat until quite smooth. Place a small frying pan (15 cm or 6 inches) over moderate heat and lightly butter it. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan, just enough to give it a thin coating. Tilt the pan back and forth to spread the batter evenly. Cook the crepe until lightly browned on bottom, then remove from heat and stack on a plate. (Cook only on one side. This is the secret to tender crepes.) Continue cooking the crepes, buttering the pan each time, until all the batter is used.
Spread each crepe, browned side out, with a layer of about 15 ml (1 tbsp) sweet or savoury filling. Roll up and arrange rolls in a buttered 22 x 33 cm (9 x 13 inch) glass baking dish. Dot each layer with butter and bake in a 175 C (350 F) oven for 20 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen.
Tester's notes: Very tender and delicate, and easy to make once you get going. I used a non-stick pan and only had to butter it occasionally. I also placed wax paper between the cooked crepes, to keep them from sticking together. I tucked the ends of my rolls in slightly, so that they'd fit in my pan. This recipe can be halved if you only want to make a small batch.
Dill or Green Onion Cottage Cheese Filling
500 ml (2 cups) dry-curd cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
30 ml (2 tbsp) whipping cream or milk
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) chopped dill or chopped green onions to taste
Mash the cottage cheese well or press through a fine-mesh sieve. Add egg yolks, cream or milk, salt, and dill or green onion.
Sweet Cheese Filling
500 g (about 500 ml or 2 cups) dry-curd cottage cheese
1 egg yolk
Sugar to taste
Pinch vanilla sugar
Pinch cinnamon (optional)
Milk, to desired texture
Grind cheese or push through a fine-mesh sieve. Add egg yolk, sugar and vanilla sugar to taste, and cinnamon, if desired. Add a bit of milk, if needed, to get the right consistency.
Tester's notes: I had never worked with dry-curd cottage cheese before, and my first thought was that it would be too dry and chunky. But once I had pushed it through a sieve, using the bottom of a glass to help, the cheese became creamy without being soggy.
Grace doesn't bake her nalysnyky in the oven but serves them hot from the frying pan. While delicious, that version will contain uncooked eggs, so follow Health Canada precautions of not serving it to infants, the elderly, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system.
There are many possible variations and additions to these recipes. Savoury nalysnyky can be served with sour cream. Sweet nalysnyky can be garnished with fruit syrup or a dusting of icing sugar. Instead of using a sweet cheese filling, some cooks roll up the crepes with crushed fruit or jam and then top with whipped cream.