Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, Estonian style

This was originally posted in 2011. You'll find all my Easter recipes here

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

We don't really 'do' chocolate eggs for Easter here in Estonia, but real, chicken eggs. Dyeing eggs for Easter is very popular, and using onion skins is probably the most popular method. Using onion peels gives you most beautiful dyed eggs, each one unique and special. Here are some photos of the process that I took few years ago.

Pille, onion skins

Here's what you need to do:

* Few weeks before Easter start collecting onion peels. Yellow ones are better than red onion skins, as they give a nice colour.

* You need white eggs for doing this (this gives the shops a chance to sell specially packaged white eggs for a much higher price before the festivities).

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take an egg and neatly put few onion peels around it:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take a piece of mesh/muslin/kitchen foil or even an old nylon stocking and wrap it around the egg to keep the onion peels on place. I used foil here:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Boil as usual. Cool, then unwrap and unpeel.

Here's the result - each egg is unique and gorgeous:

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

Natasha describes a similar, though less complicated way of dyeing eggs with onion peels that's popular in Russia and Ukraine: Russian Easter Eggs. My 91-year old grandmother uses the same method - she says she's too old to "play around" with the onion peels too much :)

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Estonian layered curd cheese cake (kihiline kohupiimakook)

The photo is from January 2008 


We love our curd cheese cakes in Estonia - and you'll find at least five curd cheese cake recipes here on my blog. This particular one is one of the most common curd cheese cakes out there. It uses a shop-bough yellow cake mix ("Juubeli tordipulber" or "Jubileum cake mix"), making it super-quick to assemble, and many Estonian cooks would have a packed somewhere in the kitchen drawer, just in cake. I'm an avid baker, love baking from scratch, and I do, just in cake :)

I'm posting it here, as someone was looking for the English recipe and I realised I hadn't shared it yet.

It's lovely when enjoyed lukewarm, with a glass of cold milk, but it's also really nice when completely cooled and accompanied with a cup of coffee or tea or cacao.

Layered curd cheese cake

(Kihiline kohupiimakook)
Feeds 6 to 8

400 g creamy curd cheese
200 g sour cream (20% fat content is perfect)
4 eggs (L)
4 Tbsp caster sugar
1 yellow cake mix (450 g)
50 g butter
a handful of seedless raisins (optional)

Break the eggs into the mixing bowl, add sugar and whisk until thick, pale and frothy. Gently fold in the curd cheese and sour cream (and raisins, if using).

Butter a Ø 26 cm (10 inch) cake tin or springform tin.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the cake mix (still dry, in its powder form!) onto the base, then scatter small dots of butter on top.

Gently pour or spoon half of the wet mixture into the tin. Now scatter half of the remaining dry cake mix into the tin, cover with the rest of the wet mixture and then the rest of the dry cake mixture. Scatter the remaining butter on top.

Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 200 C oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and cooked through.

Let it cool before serving.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Oven-roasted duck with plums and red onions

Ahjupart ploomidega. Duck with plums.


We love duck in our house. It's just as easy to cook as your regular Sunday chicken roast, but because it's less common, somewhat pricier and much bitter, it has a more festive feel to it. We don't cook duck for weeknight dinners, but for weekend roasts and entertaining at home, it's such a worthy bird.

Here's a version I cooked a few times this autumn, trying to perfect it for a magazine photo shoot :)

Serves around 6


Oven-roasted duck with plums and red onions

(Ahjupart ploomide ja sibulaga)

1 whole duck (ca 3-3,5 kilograms; I prefer chilled to frozen)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
300-400 ml of hot water
5-6 smallish red onions
few decent garlic cloves
4 cloves  (the spice)
1 kilograms large red plums
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F.

Season the duck with salt and pepper, both inside and out. Place into a good-sized oven dish (I used a lasagne dish on the photo, but a wide dutch oven would do as well). Pour  hot water into the dish, place the dish into the preheated oven and roast for an hour.

While the duck is roasting, peel the onions, halve lengthwise. Peel the garlic cloves.

Remove the duck from the oven and place the onions, garlic cloves, cloves (the spice) and thyme sprigs around the duck. Return to the oven for another hour.

Halve the plums, remove the stones. Take the duck out of the oven, and place the plum halves around the duck.

Increase the heat to 220 °C/425 °F.  Return the duck into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes or until the duck skin in deliciously golden brown and crispy. The meat thermometer should read 73-74 °C/163-165 °F when pierced into the middle of the thickest part of the duck leg.

Remove the duck from the oven and let rest of 10 minutes. Pour the pan jus through the sieve, place into a small saucepan and cook until slightly thickened. 

Then carve the rested duck into portions and serve with roasted plums, onion and garlic and the reduction.