Easter Egg Cheese Ball (Hrudka)

Editor’s note: I’m taking some time for rest and relaxation. In the meantime, check out one of the most popular posts on this blog. I hope you all have a save and Happy Easter this Sunday! 

This post was supposed to be about coloring Easter eggs. When I was a kid, we made the coolest swirled Easter eggs. I had every intention of recreating them and blogging about how I did it but, apparently, the company who made the dye we used went out of business.

Who remembers Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye by Tootsie Toy? It came in little glass bottles with bunny heads for tops. When dropped into a mix of water and vinegar, the dye suspended in little droplets and you could swirl your egg down into the water, swirl it back up, and your eggs would come out with beautiful designs that looked like pretty sunsets. By the time you were done, your fingers and the surrounding surfaces were covered in dye that had to be sandblasted off.

It was awesome.

So, armed with a dozen eggs and no dye , I decided to recreated another childhood memory. Using a recipe that was handed down from my grandmother, and who knows how many generations of Slovakian women before her, I decided to tackle the strange, sweet ball of goodness known as the Easter Egg Cheese Ball, also known as Hrudka.

Folks, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if you have heart issues, stay away. There’s enough cholesterol in this thing to drop a horse. But, as far as traditions go, this is one of my favorites.

In researching the origins of this Slovakian treat, I learned that it’s traditionally made on Holy Saturday, blessed with a basket of other Easter food and then eaten on Easter Sunday. I was surprised to learn that this is often eaten on a sandwich made with ham, beet and horseradish relish and something called paska bread. My family made a sweet version with cloves and sugar and we ate it plain. That’s how we rolled. It seems there are as many ways to make and eat this as there are Slovakian families.

Easter Egg Cheese Ball

12 jumbo eggs
1 quart whole milk
3 T. sugar
3-4 whole cloves broken up or a pinch of ground cloves
Cheesecloth
Twine

Get your cheesecloth ready to go. It’s easiest to spread it out over a large bowl in the sink.

Cheesecloth

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. You can beat them with an egg beater or by hand. Transfer the eggs to a large pot and add all the other ingredients.

Cook the mixture over medium heat and stir constantly for about 30 minutes. Don’t get impatient and try to speed it along by turning up the heat or you’ll burn it. And for the love of all that is good, do not stop stirring. Get a helper with strong arms. If you stop, the mixture overheats and sticks to the pan and then Easter is ruined! You’re looking for the mixture to start curdling. After about 3o minutes, it will start to look like wet scrambled eggs and the liquid will start to separate out.

Eggs

You might want to wear rubber gloves to protect the skin on your hands from being burned off in this next step. When your mixture looks like wet scrambled eggs, carefully pour it into the cheesecloth.

Drain the eggs

Gather the sides of the cheesecloth together and let the majority of the liquid drain out of it. Holding the excess cheesecloth gathered at the top, start to twist, shaping the eggs into a ball as you go. This will squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Keep twisting until the dripping slows. Using a piece of twine, tie up the cheese like a bundle and hang, with a pot underneath it to catch the rest of the dripping liquid. Keep it hung up for several hours while it cools and dries out. If you are worried about little things like bacteria and disease, you can tie the ball around a large wooden spoon, suspend it over a pot, then refrigerate the whole thing. My mother hung hers up in the basement with a pot underneath it. I hung mine from a cabinet door handle over the kitchen sink.

Cheese ball

After a few hours, you’ll notice the cheese has hardened a bit. Take it down and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the cheesecloth, slice and serve.

DSC02329

What are your favorite Easter traditions? Please share them in the comments section and if you’ve blogged about it, share your link!

P.S. If you have found a suitable substitute for Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye, please let me know!

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Emmet Street Creations hits the roadChristine’s ready to take the store on the road!

Happy Monday! It’s been a busy week on Emmet Street. I traveled to my homeland to spend a long weekend with my family and, since it was Easter, Christine ate her weight in hrudka (and maybe some chocolate bunnies), don’t judge.

Now that we’re full of vim and vigor, we’re gearing up for the local bazaars, fairs and fleas the summer season brings. Our season kickoff is in Akron on April 25. We’ll be at The Mom & Pop Shoppe hosted by Crafty Mart–the perfect place to find handcrafted soap (and other goodies) for Mother’s and Father’s Day gifting. Mark your calendar and come out to check out what’s new (rumor has it there will be items that are not available in the Etsy store)!

On to links we want to share with you!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire us. Check out some of our favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

  • Aromatherapy can reduce stress and give you energy – Glad to see the Cleveland Clinic is on board with aromatherapy. I keep small vials of lavender essential oil to promote calm and eucalyptus essential oil to promote energy and clear thinking at my desk. Sometimes it works.
  • Dairy-free cheese – There’s a nut milk cheese movement happening, people! This is exciting news for me since I love cheese, but my tummy doesn’t. The soy and oil-based vegan cheeses I’ve tried were not fantastic, so this news renews my hope (and inspires me to start tinkering in the kitchen).
  • Slide the City is coming to northeast Ohio – Heavens to Murgatroyd, a giant water slide! This looks like a tsunami of fun.

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Spring (and all the Easter candy I’ve eaten lately) as me thinking about epic salads again. Looking for inspiration? Check out Christine’s experiment with mason jar salad and this delicious Meyer lemon salad dressing.

Easter Egg Cheese Ball

This post was supposed to be about coloring Easter eggs. When I was a kid, we made the coolest swirled Easter eggs. I had every intention of recreating them and blogging about how I did it but, apparently, the company who made the dye we used went out of business.

Who remembers Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye by Tootsie Toy? It came in little glass bottles with bunny heads for tops. When dropped into a mix of water and vinegar, the dye suspended in little droplets and you could swirl your egg down into the water, swirl it back up, and your eggs would come out with beautiful designs that looked like pretty sunsets. By the time you were done, your fingers and the surrounding surfaces were covered in dye that had to be sandblasted off.

It was awesome.

So, armed with a dozen eggs and no dye , I decided to recreated another childhood memory. Using a recipe that was handed down from my grandmother, and who knows how many generations of Slovakian women before her, I decided to tackle the strange, sweet ball of goodness known as the Easter Egg Cheese Ball, also known as Hrudka.

Folks, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if you have heart issues, stay away. There’s enough cholesterol in this thing to drop a horse. But, as far as traditions go, this is one of my favorites.

In researching the origins of this Slovakian treat, I learned that it’s traditionally made on Holy Saturday, blessed with a basket of other Easter food and then eaten on Easter Sunday. I was surprised to learn that this is often eaten on a sandwich made with ham, beet and horseradish relish and something called paska bread. My family made a sweet version with cloves and sugar and we ate it plain. That’s how we rolled. It seems there are as many ways to make and eat this as there are Slovakian families.

Easter Egg Cheese Ball

12 jumbo eggs
1 quart whole milk
3 T. sugar
3-4 whole cloves broken up or a pinch of ground cloves
Cheesecloth
Twine

Get your cheesecloth ready to go. It’s easiest to spread it out over a large bowl in the sink.

Cheesecloth

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. You can beat them with an egg beater or by hand. Transfer the eggs to a large pot and add all the other ingredients.

Cook the mixture over medium heat and stir constantly for about 30 minutes. Don’t get impatient and try to speed it along by turning up the heat or you’ll burn it. And for the love of all that is good, do not stop stirring. Get a helper with strong arms. If you stop, the mixture overheats and sticks to the pan and then Easter is ruined! You’re looking for the mixture to start curdling. After about 3o minutes, it will start to look like wet scrambled eggs and the liquid will start to separate out.

Eggs

You might want to wear rubber gloves to protect the skin on your hands from being burned off in this next step. When your mixture looks like wet scrambled eggs, carefully pour it into the cheesecloth.

Drain the eggs

Gather the sides of the cheesecloth together and let the majority of the liquid drain out of it. Holding the excess cheesecloth gathered at the top, start to twist, shaping the eggs into a ball as you go. This will squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Keep twisting until the dripping slows. Using a piece of twine, tie up the cheese like a bundle and hang, with a pot underneath it to catch the rest of the dripping liquid. Keep it hung up for several hours while it cools and dries out. If you are worried about little things like bacteria and disease, you can tie the ball around a large wooden spoon, suspend it over a pot, then refrigerate the whole thing. My mother hung hers up in the basement with a pot underneath it. I hung mine from a cabinet door handle over the kitchen sink.

Cheese ball

After a few hours, you’ll notice the cheese has hardened a bit. Take it down and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the cheesecloth, slice and serve.

DSC02329

What are your favorite Easter traditions? Please share them in the comments section and if you’ve blogged about it, share your link!

P.S. If you have found a suitable substitute for Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye, please let me know!