Boiled eggs, wheat crackers, and sweet cheese make up a much beloved Easter tradition in Hungary.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Each year, we follow the custom of our Hungarian ancestors
by preparing sweet cheese for Easter. This traditional,
easy-to-make comestible (which requires no unusual
ingredients) is served with boiled ham, kielbasa (a
delicious smoked sausage), fresh Easter bread, boiled eggs,
and horseradish. It can also be enjoyed — with wheat
crackers — as an appetizing hors d'oeuvre or a
To make sweet cheese, you will need 1 1/2 quarts of milk, 1
dozen eggs, 4 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of
salt, and a yard of cheesecloth (or a large, porous dish
towel). We sometimes add a handful of golden raisins and/or
dried currants, but such "surprises" are optional.
The first step is to beat the eggs, honey, and salt
together until they're well blended. When that's done, heat
up the milk in a large pan, stirring constantly, and
— when it comes to a boil — add the
egg/honey/salt mixture and continue to boil and
stir for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture curdles
(it'll resemble yellow cottage cheese). At that point,
remove the pan from the heat and mix in dried fruits if
A Gourmet Globe
Next, fold the cheesecloth in half and then in half again,
to make a four-layered square of material. Place the cloth
in a colander and put the colander in a large bowl or pan.
Pour the curdled milk into the lined strainer, and then
pull the corners of the cheesecloth together, twisting
tightly and squeezing out as much liquid as you can while
forming the curds into a ball. Tie the "bag" shut with a
piece of string or a clean shoelace, and hang it (above a
bowl) overnight ... allowing the remaining liquid to drain
off and leave a nice, firm cheese globe. (You can chill the
leftover liquid and serve it as a rich eggnog-like —
but thin — drink.)
When you unwrap the cheese the following morning, store it
in the refrigerator in an airtight container to keep the
sphere fresh and moist till you're ready to eat it.
You may not be of Hungarian descent, but we bet that once
you try this Easter dish, sweet cheese will become a
tradition in your household, too.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Our recipe testers found the cheese to
be easy to make and tasty. They also recommend
experimenting with the basic formula ... perhaps adding
other types of dried fruit, nuts, and so forth.