My Slovak grandmother, Pauline, received a handwritten book of recipes for her 16th birthday in 1929 from her best friend in Pivnica, Vojvodina. Her friend worked for a wealthy family as a baker in Novi Sad, and I suspect, based on the recipes, that she either worked at Café Gerbeaud, a 150 year old famous bakery in Budapest, or worked with someone who did.
Pauline’s Cookbook recipes are below; for the most part they contain few ingredients and are simple to make. But they do rely on fresh ingredients, and taste best when you grow or pick the fruits or nuts yourself. Other family Slovak recipes can be found here, and recipes I have created myself using fresh local ingredients from Essex County, where Pauline raised her family, are located here.
Pauline’s recipes were written with metric measurements. Here is a helpful measurement converter: http://convert-to.com/flour-types-volume-weight-amounts-conversion
There are over 250 recipes written in long hand in the cookbook; several are translated below.
|Čierna Torta (Black Cake)||This black cake takes its name from the ingredient coffee. Or does it get it from the use of black walnuts?|
|Perece Mousse||A light dessert, not too sweet, with an unusual, slightly nutty taste.|
|Jablikova Pita||The most popular apple squares in my family.|
|Kakaové – Čokoládové Plásty (Oblátky)||These are cookies I remember well from my childhood. I overdosed on them.|
|Kifle||Pauline’s father’s bakery was famous for his kifle.|
|Kugler Torta||Before the bakery was called Gerbeaud, it was named the Kugler Café, after the founder. He hired Emil Gerbeaud, and Kugler retired around the turn of the century, in 1899.|
|Medovnik||This Eastern European cake is the most popular cake on the site. I have been unable to find a recipe like this one on the Internet. Pauline’s recipe is over 100 years old.|
|Mliekova Torta||Milk cake reminds me of the French cake, Clafouti. I make milk cake with the sour cherries from our tree in the spring.|
|Omlet||The Omlet recipe is the first recipe in Pauline’s pastry cookbook. I remember when Grandma Pauline would make this for breakfast as a special, sweet treat for her grandchildren. This Omlet recipe makes a sweet, puffy pancake that is baked in the oven, then spread with jam, and rolled.|
|Orechova Torta||My grandmother’s beloved walnut cake, with a simply, dripping, chocolaty icing. The quality of the walnuts is of upmost importance.|
|Palicinky Lasagne||Layers of delicate Slovak pancakes with a béchamel sauce and layers of pork and beef.|
|Perece Z Gaštanu||Dough with Chestnuts, or Chestnut Cake. This recipe makes a dense, moist cake similar to walnut cake.|
|Pusedle Palicinky Torta||A mysterious cake encased in a meringue, with the surprise center of palicinky.|
|Pusedle||This recipe looks to me like an early version of French Macarons, which are currently all the rage in Paris and spreading to the US. The word Pusedle is virtually unknown, and I have found it in only one other web site from a Slovak woman baker also from Vojvodina. It is a slang word for “little piles.”|
|Šišky||Pauline made these sweet fried donut fritters for her kids and grandkids. This is another very popular recipe.|