Monday, June 09, 2014
Prairie Kitchens - Scuffles
At the height of prairie settlement, prior to World War I, the country of Ukraine did not yet exist. According to Settling Saskatchewan by Alan Anderson, these settlers spoke different dialects and identified with their local regions:
"Ukrainian Canadians first considered themselves primarily as Galicians, Bukovinians, Ruthenians, and so on and secondarily possibly as Austro-Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Czechoslovaks, or Romanians. Only gradually did a common identity as Ukrainians emerge."
Just as ethnicities crossed borders, so did their cuisines. Perogie is a Polish word. The Ukrainian name for this popular dumpling is verenyky. Cabbage rolls (holubtsi in Ukrainian) were common among many cultures that settled Saskatchewan, from Croatians at Kenaston to Hungarians at Esterhazy to the Jewish colony at Edenbridge.
While we primarily think of borscht as Ukrainian beet soup, other cultures make it, too, some without beets such as Mennonite summer borscht with sorrel and sausage. The correct Ukrainian spelling is borshch.
In 2011, the national household survey found that, in Saskatchewan, 13.5 percent of people claim Ukrainian heritage, 24.9 percent English and 28.6 percent German, including Mennonites and Hutterites. So, why does Ukrainian cuisine loom so large in Saskatchewan? Why do we associate cabbage rolls and not Yorkshire pudding with community suppers and raise funds by selling frozen perogies and not German maultaschen?
And why do these delicious cinnamon crescents, associated with generations of Babas, go by the very un-Ukrainian name of scuffles?
2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
Sugar and cinnamon for rolling
Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt and sugar. Work in butter with your fingers. Combine milk, eggs and yeast. Add to flour, mixing well. Turn onto a floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. The dough will be sticky. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Divide dough in six parts, working with one part at a time. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon generously on the countertop, place dough on top and roll to a circle 1/8 inch thick. Cut the circle into 12 wedges, like pieces of a pie. Roll up each wedge from the wide end to the pointed end. Place 1 inch apart on lightly-greased baking sheet and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.