slovak Tag

When I was a kid approximately one million years ago, my parents gave me a Donvier ice cream maker. When we moved back to California four years ago, my mom revealed that she had been hanging on to it all this time, and gave it back to us; I promptly put it in the bottom of the freezer and forgot about it.

You’ve probably seen this type of ice cream maker, which has a bowl that you freeze for 24 hours and then use to chill and churn your mixture. I remember being super disappointed as a kid, because despite cranking the handle furiously, I didn’t immediately get perfect scoopable ice cream. Remarkably, however, my mom managed to save the instruction booklet that came with the machine, and when I, you know, actually READ the directions thirty years on, I understood that you need to just turn the handle once every few minutes, and when the mixture is thick but not solid, decant it to a separate container to freeze to the right consistency. Armed with this knowledge and the lowered expectations of middle age, I have made some really great ice cream.

Because you don’t churn a lot of air into it, the ice cream is very creamy. My one failure was when I made a rice pudding and tried to freeze that – it was so thick I could barely turn the crank! But I have overwhelmingly relied on the recipes in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, and have had amazing results. Jeni Britton Bauer’s basic method uses cream cheese and no eggs, and the flavors she thinks up are so unexpected and delicious.

I wanted to come up with a Central European riff on her technique, and was inspired by miláčik for the base, with a swirl of chocolate and crispy wafers in homage to our beloved Tatranky and Mila snacks.

The directions here are what works well for our little Donvier. It can’t hold a full recipe so I have to churn it in batches, but it stays cold enough. Adding chocolate drizzle directly into the maker has never been successful, so I’ve taken to layering it in the freezer container. Just be patient, because the ice cream really isn’t at its best until it’s had a good 4-6 hours to firm up in the freezer.

Tangy ice cream with a chocolate wafer ripple
A Central European twist on ice cream - with sour cream, wafers, and chocolate swirls
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Prep Time
5 hr 15 min
Cook Time
17 min
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Prep Time
5 hr 15 min
Cook Time
17 min
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 2 Tbs cornstarch
  3. 2 ounces cream cheese
  4. 1/8 tsp salt
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. 1 1/2 cups wafer cookies (I used Loacker hazelnut flavor), chopped
  9. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  10. 1 Tbs milk or more as needed
Instructions
  1. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and add a splash of the 2 cups of milk to moisten and make a paste.
  2. Put the cream cheese and salt in a large bowl, and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining milk with the sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil; boil for 4 minutes taking care to stir from time to time.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and whisk smooth; return to a boil for another minute or so, or until slightly thickened.
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese, and whisk until smooth (I sometimes find an immersion mixer is helpful). Stir in the sour cream.
  6. At this point, I prefer to just allow the mixture to cool in the bowl in the fridge overnight. Jeni Britton Bauer's instructions call for pouring the mixture into a Ziploc bag and cooling it in an ice bath, but whatever time I've saved that way I've regretted, since it's messy and I wonder about the wisdom of having hot liquids against the plastic. The main thing is, you want the base to be really cold before you put it in your ice cream maker, so whatever method you prefer, make sure it's fully chilled when you start to churn.
  7. Pour the base mixture into the frozen canister and churn until thick and creamy.
  8. While you're churning, melt the chocolate chips either in the microwave or on a double boiler on the stove. Stir in the tablespoon of milk to get it to a drippy consistency.
  9. When the base has reached the consistency of soft serve, layer the ice cream: put about 1/3 of the mixture at the bottom of your storage container. Drizzle about 1/3 of the chocolate sauce over the top, and sprinkle a third of the chopped wafers. Spread half the remaining ice cream over the top, and repeat the drizzling and sprinkling. Spread the final portion of ice cream and toppings, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper against the surface, seal with a lid and put in the freezer.
  10. Allow the ice cream to freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

While I was growing up eating Jell-O pudding cups,* halfway across the world Valerian was snacking on miláčik. Now, miláčik means “darling” or “dear” in Slovak, so if you run a search on it, you’ll get a rather surprising selection of results, particularly pet photos.

Last time he was back in the Old Country, Valerian noticed that miláčik is basically sweetened, flavored sour cream, and so when he returned to California, he decided to whip us up a batch himself. It’s not quite as firm as the kind you buy in the store, which sometimes is called tvarohový miláčik because it’s made with tvaroh, the local cheese that’s similar to ricotta. Valerian’s recipe here couldn’t be simpler, though, and while the vanilla bean gives you those authentic little speckles, just bump up the amount of good quality vanilla extract if that’s what you have. Sour cream makes a perfect consistency to top or fill crepes, or, honestly, just slurping it up all on its own. Good thing I’m wearing these elastic-waist pants.

Sour Cream Desert
This creamy delight falls somewhere between a pudding and a sauce. If vanilla seems, well, too vanilla, sift in a tablespoon of cocoa powder and make a chocolate version instead. Could you use yogurt instead of sour cream? Sure, but then you'll have flavored yogurt.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 16 oz. container sour cream
  2. ¼ cup brown sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean
  4. ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and their surrounding paste.
  2. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanillas in a medium bowl.
  3. Serve in small bowls, as a topping or filling for crepes or pound cake.
Notes
  1. Your kids will fall in love with this. It is easy to make so let them do the work.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

I love bryndzové halušky – little dumplings with cheese.  I already blogged about them when still living in Slovakia, but they are  something I really miss from my homeland. They are pretty straightforward to make them, except that you need bryndza. Bryndza is sheep cheese, which looks like ricotta but with a distinctive sheepy tangy flavor. Since I’ve never found bryndza here, making this dish in the US seemed impossible until I came across Pecorino Romano in the infamous Trader Joe’s.

Pecorino is a sheep cheese, which looks very much like young Grana Padano. It had been a long time since I tasted it, and although Pecorino is a harder cheese than bryndza, I decided to give it a try. I made halušky, which is a Slovak version of gnocchi and very very generously grated Pecorino over them. Then I added  rendered bacon fat and fried bacon and I felt like I’d gone to heaven. It worked. It is not exactly the same as making it with bryndza, mostly because bryndza would make the halušky creamy. If you feel like it, you can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of sour cream, that should do the trick. In other improvements from the last time we posted this recipe,  I made the halušky dough better with more potato flavor.

 

Bryndzove Halusky made with Pecorino
Serves 4
Slovak national meal Bryndzove halusky adopted for ingredients available in the US.
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Ingredients
  1. 2½ cups finely grated and juiced potatoes
  2. same amount of flour as potatoes (about 2 cups)
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 cup of water
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1-2 cups finely grated pecorino cheese
  7. 1 or 2 (or more) strips of bacon per person
  8. 1-2 Tbs sour cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Grate the potatoes, and add the flour, salt, egg and the water. You should get a goopy dough. That’s ok.
  2. Set a large pot of water to boil. When it has come to a boil, using a rubber spatula or board scraper (or the scraper that came with your halušky maker), quickly press the dough through the holes of the halušky maker/colander/grater into the water, scraping back and forth until all the dough has gone through. When the halušky float to the surface, in 2-3 minutes, they are ready. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  3. In a bowl mix halušky, pecorino and sour cream (optional).
  4. Fry the bacon until the fat is rendered. Add some of the fat to the halušky and top them with the crumbled bacon.
  5. Enjoy
Notes
  1. Making the halušky requires a special tool – a halušky maker (like a colander with extra-large holes). A colander, or even a grater with large holes can be a decent substitute. If you don’t have any of the above, buy packaged gnocchi (cut them in half) or spaetzle and cook them as directed.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

vianocka

If you’re looking for a soft, yummy, eggy bread recipe, this is the one. I have to admit failure here, though: I just can’t seem to get the stacked braids to stay upright when I cook them. I finally resorted to my old standby six-strand braid, and the results are much more attractive. (more…)

Savory Slovak Potato Pancakes

My mum used to make these amazing Slovak potato pancakes. She would come home during her lunch break and make lunch for us, so it would be waiting for us when we came home from school. She made sure there was some soup and a main course. By the time we would get home, Mum was back at work, but she always left a note about what she cooked and how much we can have — with three hungry boys she left nothing to chance. I still remember that we could have 5 pancakes each. (more…)