Martha makes everything from Russian pierogi to the traditional Easter dessert known as pashka, plus gives us a peek at her festive decor.
Photography: LIZ BANFIELD1 of 14
In Russia, “the coming of spring was ever an occasion of great joy,” we wrote then—a sentiment echoed beautifully in this updated celebration. Every spring, Martha’s Easter lunch is sure to include family and friends, a buffet of vibrant seasonal dishes, a houseful of whimsical and elegant decorations, and hundreds of eggs hidden outdoors for children to find.
Martha’s velveteen rabbit, beside a wire-and-beaded basket of hyacinths and clematis, “makes his appearance every Easter,” she says.
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Martha’s Easter Buffet
Salmon Coulibiacs with Sour-Cream & Dill Sauce
Asparagus with Mustardy Vinaigrette
Fava Beans with Snap Peas & Mint
Baby Carrots with Spring Onions
Individual Lemon-Coconut Cakes
The pastry-wrapped parcels of salmon are served on—appropriately enough—an elongated fish platter.
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Individual portions of salmon coulibiac—a take on a classic Russian dish of puff pastry enveloping poached salmon, mushrooms, and rice—are easier to serve than a single large coulibiac.
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A Wedgwood plate holds the sides and several slices of crisp-skinned roasted kielbasa. Since New York City’s Kurowycky’s, which had been Martha’s favorite purveyor of the Polish sausage, closed in 2007, Martha had been searching for another source for kielbasa that is “chunky, meaty, slightly garlicky, with natural casing and not too much fat.” Finally, she has found not one but two: Sikorski Meat Market, in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood (sikorskimeats.com); and Chester’s Smokehouse, in Albany, New York (chesterssmokehouse.com).
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A trio of side dishes: Fava beans mingle with snap peas and mint. Baby carrots are glazed in a white-wine-and-butter mixture. Potato pierogi get a lighter, brighter flavor with the addition of green peas in the filling; the dough recipe is Martha’s mother’s.
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For dessert, the traditional Russian paskha—a rich molded dish that’s similar to a no-bake cheesecake—is embellished with dried-pineapple cutouts. (Martha sometimes uses jelly beans instead.) Little lemon-coconut cakes, made in muffin tins and topped with whipped cream, are served as a lighter alternative to the paskha.
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With its crisp white linens, embossed china, and sparkling silver and glass, the table is meant to evoke the feeling of “visiting your Russian auntie in her dacha outside Saint Petersburg,” says Martha. Goblets and vases are topped with eggs (the large ones are ostrich eggs).
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Pots of baby’s tears make sweet little decorations.
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A young guest is pleased with his chocolate bunny.
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A display of blooms includes poppies, ranunculus, viburnum, and clematis.
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An antique glass bowl holds Russian and Czechoslovakian hand-painted Easter eggs.
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Martha’s collection of hundreds of blownout eggs is nestled in shredded paper in a “sewer-pipe art” vessel; these pottery pieces were made about a century ago by pipe-factory workers out of leftover clay.
Photography: LIZ BANFIELD14 of 14
Successful egg hunters.