Interesting Facts about Paska
The famous Ukrainian Easter bread – a sweet, tall, rich in eggs and butter, fragrant and delicious golden tower is called different names in different regions of Ukraine. In western regions it is more commonly referred to as baba or babka, whereas in the central and other areas of Ukraine, this bread is known as paska.
In 1861, a famous Ukrainian writer Marko Vovchok published her novella entitled Tulle Baba. In it, she memorably describes the tulle baba: “It was round, very, very big, of a delicate pale yellow colour, and as tall as a three-year old child. It was light, terribly light, probably no heavier than a pound or maybe even less; its texture was perforated, like tulle, and its taste was sweet, fragrant and incredible.” One of the recipes for tulle baba is offered in Traditional Velykden: Ukrainian Easter Recipes.
An article on pasky / babky, which appeared in 1891 in the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopaedic Dictionary, mentions that there were about 40 known recipes of this sweet bread (vol. 2, book 4).
The majority of the paska / babka recipes are based on wheat flour. Furthermore, the flour should be of the best quality. However, now and then, a rye paska recipe surfaces. Interestingly, these recipes refer to rye breadcrumbs instead of rye flour. Two rye paska recipes are included inTraditional Velykden: Ukrainian Easter Recipes.
Although paska / babka is a bread baked for Easter, one of the most significant holidays in Christianity, there are many known superstitions connected with paska. One of them is that paska can foretell the future for the cook and her family. If the paska is baked beautifully, in other words, if it is even on all sides, baked through properly and has not been burnt – a prosperous year is ahead for the family. Then again, if the paska is burnt, cracked or collapsed, some misfortune awaits the family.
For more information about paska / babka / baba see Tradition of Paska – Ukrainian Easter Bread and Traditional Velykden: Ukrainian Easter Recipes, which includes articles, such as “Paska – the Specialty Bread for Ukrainian Easter”, “Tips for Making Paska” and “Velykden Koshyk – the Easter Basket”.