The Easter Bunny, spring bonnets, egg hunts, and of course… the food! Easter traditions are alive and well across the globe this weekend and the Escoffier faculty is deeply involved by both partaking in and even starting family traditions of their own. We asked our faculty to share their personal Easter traditions and we found everything from appropriately characteristic carrot-related recipes to festive candies to long-standing ethnic dishes.
An Easter Candy Garden
“Every Easter I plant jellybeans in a garden with my grandchildren so the jellybeans will grow special candies.”
Laura Bennett, Online Instructional Tutor
Escoffier Online Tutor, Laura Bennett started planting jelly beans with her great-niece years ago. Now that she’s a grandmother, she enjoys carrying on this tradition with her own grandchildren. She and the kids plant the jelly beans prior to Easter. Then before the children arrive at her home, she swaps them out for ‘fully-grown’ candy plants. “This tradition is special for my family because it makes my grandkids happy and excited. We do this together and create precious memories.” It’s such a cute idea, that we’re betting it will become a tradition for more than just her family now, as well!
All In The Family
Our faculty love sharing their personal recipes and in this case, it’s an old family treasure. Here, Escoffier Chef Instructor Greg Bonath shares his family’s Polish traditions, including the recipe for White Borscht. “My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were from Poland. Every Easter in their lifetime, and now in mine and my children’s, we eat Easter Soup. Easter Soup is a White Borscht eaten every year on Easter morning. It’s my oldest culinary memory from my Babcia (Grandmother).”
“This is the oldest culinary memory I have, and my favorite memory of my Babcia is waking up Easter morning, finding eggs, and eating Easter soup. My Grandmother has since passed but I make Easter soup every year in memory of her. This year my Mother who is now Babcia will be making Easter soup to share with my kids for the first time. ”
Greg Bonath, Online Culniary Arts Instructor
Directly From Babcia:
- 8 Cups Water
- 1 1/2 TBL. Kosher Salt
- 4 TBL. White Vinegar
- 3 TBL. Lard
- 3 TBL. Flour
- 1/2 Cup Cold Water
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
Bring water to a rolling boil. Add salt, vinegar, and lard. Boil for 3-4 minutes. In a bowl add flour and cold water then add to boiling water to thicken. Take off heat and slowly add heavy cream.
Cured Ham, Kielbasa, Hard Boiled Eggs, Fresh Horseradish, Farmers Cheese, Rye Bread, Pumpernickel Bread
A Vegan Easter Alternative
Ham might be the first dish that comes to mind for an Easter feast, but what if you are vegetarian or vegan? Sure, you can stick to the salads and side dishes, but why? Escoffier Plant-Based Chef Instructor Adele Ledet has you covered with her Vegan “See” Food Boil!
“Growing up in New Orleans we fast for Lent and break our fast in abundance starting Easter Sunday with massive Seafood Boils. You will literally see Crawfish shells all over the city parks!”
Adele Ledet, Online Culinary Arts Instructor
Vegan ‘See’ Food Boil
- Creole Magik Boil Spice, 5 tablespoons
- Bay Leaves, 4
- Garlic Cloves, 5, minced
- Green Onion (2 bunches) or 1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
- Celery, half of a bunch, chopped
- Oil, 1 tbsp
- Lemon wedges
- Mini Corn on the cob, 12
- Mini Red Potatoes, 12
- *Vegan Protein
- Vegetable Broth or Water
- Cayenne Pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
*Vegan protein options:
- Vegan Shrimp
- Oyster Mushrooms
- Vegan Sausage
- Season your vegan protein, mushrooms, corn, and potatoes with 1 tablespoon of Creole Magik Boil Spice. Store in an airtight container until ready to make the Boil. Cut all seasonings, garlic, onions, and celery.
- Warm a large skillet under medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add half of the cut seasonings, 1 tablespoon of Creole Magik Boil Spices, and 2 bay leaves. Cook until soft then add vegan protein. Sear on both sides. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot with vegetable broth or water. Add 3 tablespoons of Creole Magik Boil Spices and Bay leaves (2). Bring to a boil. Add mini corn on the cob, mini red potatoes, garlic, onions, and celery. Reduce heat and simmer. When the potatoes are semi-soft, add in the protein. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, season to taste with cayenne pepper, and salt.
- If desired, strain the Boil from vegetables and protein and sprinkle with Creole Magik Boil Spices. Finish with a lemon juice squeeze to awaken the flavor and ENJOY!
Not Your Traditional Carrot Cake
What’s the Easter Bunny’s favorite treat? A carrot cake — of course! And this special Carrot Cheesecake recipe from Pastry Chef Michelle Hall makes even the Easter Bunny jump for joy! As an Executive Pasty Chef, Michelle enjoyed the Easter brunch scene very much. While this cake is original to Chef Michelle and has not been around for very long, she admits it has become a favorite of family and friends and as such, a new tradition.
“I really wanted to do carrot cake on the menu for spring and I wanted to put my own twist on it. It is also the only way you will get me to eat Carrots.”
Michelle Hall, Austin Culinary and Pastry Arts Instructor
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup oil
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp cardamom (powder)
- 3/4 tsp ginger (powder)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups carrots, grated
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Grate the carrots on the smallest round option of a box grater. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add sugar and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add oil and whisk again.
- Whisk in the sifted dry ingredients.
- Fold in the grated carrots with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into a quarter sheet pan sprayed and lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn the pan and bake it for another 12 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and the batter is set.
- Cool the cake before transferring it onto a new sheet pan with an extender and adding the cheesecake batter.
- 1 pound + 8 oz cream cheese, super soft
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 3 oz sour cream
- Orange food coloring
- Whisk eggs in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cream half the cream cheese with the salt and sugar in a mixer with a paddle until there are no lumps and the mixture is very smooth. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the mixer.
- Add the remaining cream cheese in small amounts and scrape down the sides often. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each egg to ensure a smooth texture.
- Fold in the sour cream just to combine, making sure not to overmix.
- Save 1/4 cup of the batter in a bowl and color it with orange food coloring, then place it into a piping bag and set aside.
- Pour the plain batter on top of the cooled carrot cake and spread smooth.
- Pipe the orange-colored cheesecake batter in lines 1/8 inch apart on top of the plain batter.
- With a toothpick, make circular motions to decorate the batter to your liking.
- Bake the cake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes then turn it every 15 minutes for another 30 to 45 minutes. (The cake should jiggle a little when you shake it, but it should appear set.)
- Cool the cake at room temperature then remove the extender. (The cake is best cut when frozen)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz cream cheese, super soft
- 5 oz butter, room temp
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- Cream the cream cheese, butter, and salt in a mixer with a paddle until there are no lumps and it’s very smooth. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the mixer.
- Add the powdered sugar in small amounts and scrape down the sides until the mixture is smooth.
- Place the mixture in piping bags and use different piping tips to decorate the top of the carrot cheesecake.