Even before the days of Christianity the symbol of the lamb was widespread
in Mediterranean culture, with its long pastoral tradition. For Christian
churches the lamb came to symbolize the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ.
In the southern Czech Sumava Mountains there used to be a tradition that
blessing a lamb would help wayfarers to find their way through the
forests. These days lamb is rarely eaten in the Czech Republic, but this
does not mean that lamb has disappeared completely from Czech Easter
celebrations. It still appears in the form of a cake.
300g medium-ground (not self-raising) flour, 300g sugar, 4 egg yolks, 2
whole eggs, five whisked egg whites, vanilla sugar, raisins, almonds, 30g
butter, lemon peel.
For the lemon icing: 1 egg white, 100g sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
You will also need a cake form in the shape of a lamb!
What to do:
Mix the yolks in a bowl with the sugar, add the vanilla sugar, a little
grated lemon peel, sliced almonds and raisins. Mix in the flour, stir
together and add the firm whisked egg whites. Grease the cake form, fill
with the mixture and bake in a warm oven. When the cake is ready, sprinkle
with caster sugar or pour on the icing.
Icing: Stir the caster sugar, egg white and lemon juice until they
thicken, then pour on the baked cake.
Judas bread was traditionally made with yeast dough and took the form of
braided rope, symbolizing the rope on which Judas hanged himself after he
had betrayed Christ. Baked Judas bread was eaten with honey, which
traditionally was said to give protection against being stung by a bee or
bitten by a snake.
Ingredients: 500g medium-ground flour, salt, 80g powder sugar, 1
tablespoon vanilla sugar, lemon peel, 100g butter, 2 egg yolks, ¼ litre
milk, 20g yeast, 2 egg yolks to brush onto the dough.
What to do:
Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and lemon peel, add the butter and the yolks
mixed to a froth. Make a yeast dough with the milk and yeast, add to the
other ingredients and knead the dough until soft. Leave the dough to rise.
Cut it into pieces and roll into strips. Braid into spirals, place on a
greased baking tray and again leave to stand for a while. Then brush on
the egg yolk and bake in a hot oven. When cold, cut into slices and spread
with butter and honey. Alternatively honey can just be poured on top of the
Easter stuffing is a great Czech tradition, with many variations in
different regions. It can be made with smoked meat, sometimes with pork
and sometimes with veal. The stuffing also includes plenty of egg. As a
spring dish it also needs something green - in the form of nettle, garden
lovage (levisticus officinale), parsley or chive. The stuffing also
includes breadcrumbs, milk and herbs. It is traditionally eaten on the
evening of Easter Saturday.
500g pork shoulder, 250g smoked meat (preferably fatty bacon), five eggs,
1 small loaf of white bread, ¼ litre milk, parsley, chopped nettle or
other spring herb, salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter.
What to do:
Cut up the bread into cubes, add milk into which the yolks have already
been whisked, and leave to stand. Boil the pork and the smoked meat
separately, and cut into small pieces once cold. Chop up the herbs, first
scalding the nettle with hot water. Mix the bread, meat and herbs, add a
little salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk the egg whites until they are firm
and add to the mixture. Place the stuffing evenly into a greased roasting
pan, put some butter on top and bake until golden. Can be eaten both hot