It’s been a while since we’ve seen a recipe from me here in the kitchen at Camp but my winter hibernation is over and I thought I’d jump right out of the blocks with recipe that had become a faded tradition to my family.
The Chrusciki is a delicious, unleavened pastry that, for my family, comes to us from our Polish heritage.
My paternal grandmother used to make these for just about every holiday you could think of. I always thought it was a cookie but being a seasoned professional Chef now, I can see the differences and why it’s not in the cookie category.
After my grandmother passed, the tradition of having these pastries around at holiday times simply stopped. I had really all but forgotten about these amazing treats… until Camp magicall brought these back to me in January.
Dave Kaubin, our Outdoor Recreation Director, had been running an after school program for Chairville’s Outdoor Club and had offered a Colonial Cooking activity to beat the cold January afternoon.
“Tangled Britches” was the name… a recpie from early Colonial America. It wasn’t until the pastry was made and formed in to it’s distinctive shape did it hit me like a bolt of lightning… “These are my grandmothers Chrusciki!!!”
I’ve researched them since and it seems this pastry is prevelant in many countries and cultures going by various names but the taste and shape generally remain the same.
It was such a happy accident to have rediscovered these pastries and having Camp bring them back to me was truly special (Thanks Dave).
So… here’s the recipe and instructions…
- 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 large whole egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon rum or brandy
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Canola or vegetable oil (for frying)
- Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
- Combine egg yolks, whole egg and salt in bowl of mixer. Beat at high speed until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Beat in sugar, cream, vanilla and rum. Add flour and beat for approx. 5 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a floured board, divide in half, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch-wide strips. Cut these strips on the diagonal at 4-inch intervals.
- Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, deep skillet to 350 degrees. Make a slit in the center of each strip of dough. Then pull one end through the slit to form a bow.
- Fry 6 chrusciki at a time for 1 minute or less per side or until golden. These fry quickly, so watch closely. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Some like to drizzle their chrusciki with honey. These pastries tend not to store well, but if kept tightly covered, they can be recrisped in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes and served.