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Top 10 Eastern European Recipes in 2010

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The top 10 recipes on this Eastern European food site for 2010, as determined by number of page views over a year's time, are listed below. Traditional, Old World recipes were the most popular with stuffed cabbage leading the pack, but more mainstream recipes also made a showing. My royal icing recipe, the mortar that holds gingerbread house pieces together, came in second, and my pumpkin butter recipe took sixth place. Here are the Top 10 Eastern European Recipes in 2011.

1. Polish Stuffed Cabbage Recipe - Gołąbki

Stuffed Cabbage
© 2011 Barbara Rolek, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are the epitome of comfort food. Pork and beef mixed with rice or barley are nestled in a cabbage leaf and cooked in the oven or on the stove until tender. Poles call them gołąbki (which literally means "little pigeons"). For Czechs and Slovaks, it's holubky, while Serbs and Croatians refer to them as sarma. Usually, the sauce is what sets them apart. Here are more stuffed cabbage recipes.

2. Royal Icing Recipe

Royal Icing
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Royal icing is the glue or mortar that holds a gingerbead house together, among other uses. It got its name from being used on fruitcake -- the traditional wedding cake of English royalty -- to keep it moist. I prefer using pasteurized egg whites (now available at grocery stores in cartons) instead of meringue powder because the result is smoother and it has better "stickability." Be careful not to overwhip your royal icing, or it will crack as it dries and your house will collapse, but be sure to add enough confectioners' sugar so the icing holds peaks and doesn't drip.

3. Polish Kolaczki Recipe

Kolaczki
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
There is some debate as to who invented kolaczki (plural for kolaczek). Poles claim it but so do Croatians, Czechs and others. Kolaczki can be round, square or diamond-shaped, and the dough can be flaky or yeast-risen, and the spelling varies widely.

4. Basic Pierogi Dough Recipe

Pierogi
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for basic Polish pierogi dough is a simple combination of flour, eggs, water and salt. You may need to add a little more water or a little more flour based on the humidity of the day, the weight of the flour, etc. The dough should not be crumbly, nor should it be sticky. Get the kids involved in this project. Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make pierogi.

5. Poppyseed Roll Recipe - Makowiec

Polish Poppyseed Cake
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
An Eastern European dessert table would invariably include something sweet made with poppyseeds, either ground or whole. This poppyseed yeast bread or roll, known as makowiec in Polish, is also popular in most other Eastern European cuisines.

6. Pumpkin Butter Recipe

Pumpkin Butter
© TheWellSeasonedCook on Flickr
Even though pumpkins originated in Central America, the seeds found their way back to Eastern Europe where pumpkins quickly became a favorite. Bulgarians love the roasted seeds and the puree as a filling in pastries like banitzi. Poles love it in soup and pumpkin-sauerkraut muffins.

7. Polish Potato Pancakes Recipe - Placki Kartoflane or Ziemniaczane

Potato Pancakes Made from King Arthur Flour Mix
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

When I was little, my mother made placki kartoflane, or placki ziemniaczane, on meatless days. They were thin and crispy and sprinkled with granulated sugar. Since then, I've come to love Jewish latkes infused with onion or garlic and served with sour cream and applesauce, and the puffy Czech and Bohemian varieties. Potato pancakes make great sides or they can stand alone.

8. Polish Doughnuts - Paczki

Paczki at Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Ind.
© 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
In the United States, Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is the day to indulge before Lent by eating rich, greasy foods. In Poland, this takes place on Fat Thursday (the last Thursday before Lent) or Tłusty Czwartek, which begins zapusty or the last six days of Carnival, which began on Twelfth Night or Jan. 6. Americans celebrate Pączki Day on Fat Tuesday but Poles eat herring then and do their pączki eating on Fat Thursday. Pączki are fried rounds of yeast dough with rosehip, prune, apricot, strawberry, raspberry or sweet cheese filling.

9. Polish-American Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut Recipe

Sausage and Sauerkraut
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This smoked Polish sausage and sauerkraut recipe has definite American overtones. It can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled and still come out great. It's perfect for potlucks and tailgating, football parties and family reunions, or just dinner with the family. It's best cooked the night before and then warmed in a slow cooker for serving. Take this virtual tour of a sauerkraut factory.

10. Easy Polish Beet Barszcz Recipe - Barszcz Czysty Czerwony

Beet Soup
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Barszcz in Polish means "borscht." Barszcz is sometimes made with a kwas or sour starter and is usually red (made with beets) or white (made with white kielbasa cooking water, potatoes and sour cream, or other ingredients). This clear red barszcz or barszcz czysty czerwony gets a desired hint of sourness from lemon juice or vinegar and is great eaten hot with boiled potatoes or cold with rye bread.
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