Rachel’s Lapte de Pasare

Author: angiem, 04 21st, 2009

Every once in a while I get a craving for something that reminds me of my childhood.  I often associate good food with it because most of what went into making a specific dish or dessert were such hard to come by commodities, that in my memories of it now, the preparation of the pastries and cakes were an event into themselves. Everyone was around.  Grandmothers and aunts shooing us out of the way, cousins skipping to the hen house for eggs, or to the larder for butter, or to the well to get a bucket of water.  Of course, we were also stealing precious chocolate or spoonfuls of sugar when we thought no one was looking.  And washing dishes.  There were always lots of dishes.

The saddest thing for me about the fall of communism in Romania, is that some of the country’s yummiest recipes have become modernized in the interest of saving time.  All that nurturing and comforting right out the door the minute electric mixers and food processors entered.  

Don’t despair, this dish does not require anyone to give up any modern kitchen utensil.  Added bonuses: it’s easy, fast, and absolutely delicious.  Make it for your kids and they’ll be hooked for life.  With that in mind, allow me to remain nostalgic for another 50 minutes or so while I make this.

4 cups milk (2% or whole) + 1/2 cup milk 
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise with the seeds scraped out
6 eggs, whites and yolks separated
12 tablespoons sugar

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the 4 cups of milk and vanilla bean and scraped seeds to a simmer, turn heat off so that it doesn’t burn. 
2. Beat the egg whites with half of the sugar until stiff peaks form. 
3. Place a metal serving spoon in the simmering milk so that it heats up and use it to spoon out servings of the egg whites into the milk. 
4.Turn the egg whites into the milk after 2 minutes or so, and then let them poach on that side too. After another 2 minutes, remove the egg whites and place them in one layer into a deep baking dish, leave room in between them so they don’t stick. Repeat this until all of the egg whites are done. 
5. In a bowl, use a whisk to beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and about 1/2 cup milk (you might need more). *
6. Add some of the hot milk to the cold yolk mixture in order to temper it and then gradually combine the two together. 
7. Once they are combined, remove the vanilla bean and whisk the milk mixture thoroughly. 
8. Gently ladle the milk mixture into the baking dish where the egg whites are sitting.
9. Keep warm in the oven at 200 for about 30-45 minutes (any longer and the milk will thicken and become like pudding)

*Rachel uses 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, which she gradually adds into the egg yolk mixture until incorporated.  I forgot to buy it, so I went without.   Nevertheless, they were delicious!!!

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5 Responses to “Rachel’s Lapte de Pasare”

  1. Dana Says:

    Double … no… TRIPLE YUMMMMIE!!!! :D

  2. Daniela Says:

    You didn’t translate the name of the recipe. “Milk of a bird” - I can still remember how appauled I was that my mom was going to make the milk of a bird the first time I heard it. It sounds good now though, especially the vanilla beans.

  3. Daniela Says:

    I’m appalled that I misspelled the word.

  4. angiem Says:

    The French call it snow eggs. Sounds prettier, doesn’t it?

  5. Ani Says:

    Yumm… My husband, my kids and I couldn’t get enough of it when I made it at Christmas last year! It’s fun to scoop out the white fluffy egg whites. :-) For more authentic Romanian recipes, check out http://www.reteteculinare.ro Adi and I made “ciorba de burta” the other day. You can purchase the “burta” at Winco :-) Have fun!

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