I’m really getting an education in Eastern European Easter foods! This is a recipe for a Slovenian Easter cheese called hrutka. I found it also called certzo and cerdetz, but all agree the words describe the same item. An egg custard that is pressed into a cheese. It can be sweet or savory, infused with liquoer, served as a spread, a slice, with a meat such as ham, by itself, etc. I’m beginning to understand the tradition of Lent through these recipes. One blogger wrote that during Lent, sweets and indulgent foods were given up, but on Easter Sunday all bets were off and food abounded. Depending on your ethnic origin, your celebration could last a day or a week. Indeed, Mardi Gras literally translates as Fat Tuesday and is a celebration of the end of the Lenten season.
I’ve added some instruction for the beginning of this cheese, in italics, and gleaned from other blogs. Also from other bloggers, use the best quality eggs and cream you can find or afford. You will see it is similar to the processing of the paska we looked at recently.
Egg Custard Cheese (Hrutka)
1 dozen eggs
1 quart milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
Place the ingredients in a double boiler and bring slowly to a boil. Cook until thickened (making a custard). Place in baking dish, bake 350f 1 hour or until knife comes clean. Press in cheesecloth. Make a ball, add weight to allow drainage.
Slovenian Tradition: Hrutka aka Easter cheese from Seasoned With Sarcasm – includes pictures
Hrutka, Slovakian Egg Cheese from A Blaze of Bright Blue
Making Hrutka from the CheeseForum.org
Hrutka (Pascha Cheese) from An Orthodox Kitchen which supports St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
Hrutka – Egg Cheese Ball from The Food Files, includes nutrition information
I use the basic recipe for a pre-cooked breakfast. Instead of honey and nutmeg, I add a bit of salt, and usually a teaspoon of other herbs. My favorite is curry. I’ve also used, at different times, oregano, garlic, firebrick pepper (crushed black pepper and red pepper flakes that have been smoked), or sage. About a teaspoon of chili-garlic sauce is a good addition, too.
Just cut a slice in the morning. Eat it plain, or between whole-grain bread rounds.