A piece of oplatek is placed on top of hay that sits center table and serves as a base for the main dishes. If the wafer sticks to a serving dish, it signifies someone at the table will be "with child" in the new year. Guests have a spoon (for the mushroom soup) and a fork for the kluski (boiled, sautéed dough topped with cottage cheese), pierogi (stuffed dough), and kapusta (seasoned sauerkraut), but are given no plate. Everyone eats from the same bowl, a custom originating from the old country, but when asked, no one seems to recall why they, or we, actually do it this way.
Traditionally, the meal is meat-free and composed of 11 dishes (symbolizing the twelve disciples minus Judas).
Many cultures have some type of stuffed dumpling; in Poland it is the pierogi. This year I helped my mom and aunt make this loved holiday delicacy. After the dough is rolled, it is cut, stuffed (with kapusta, potato, or dried plum), boiled (like bagels) and sautéed in butter. I've attached some pierogi-day pictures, and our secret family recipe for the dough.
What are your traditions that make the holidays unique and memorable?
Fillings: kapusta and dried plum
Merry, Happy Christmas Eve!
Polish Pierogi Dough
- from Helen Stec
- Makes 60
3 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 ½ cups sour cream
Combine all ingredients, let stand ½ hour. Roll.