Eastern European Breakfast Recipes

When you want to let someone know how special they are, pamper him or her with breakfast in bed. Here are some recipes to get you started, but let your creative juices flow as freely as the orange juice! The waffles and pancakes so common for breakfast in the West are usually reserved for the main course or dessert in Eastern Europe. And, while cold cereals are becoming more common, typically, breakfast is a much more substantial meal -- pickled meats, smoked sausages, fresh fruits and...MORE vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, cheeses, pastries and breads galore. See more about breakfast in Eastern Europe.

  • 01 of 16
    Directly Above Shot Of Donut
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    Sweet cheese-topped or fruit-topped yeast buns are popular in Poland. While you see these sweet rolls at hotels and restaurants for breakfast, they are not typically served in the home.

  • 02 of 16
    plate of silver dollar pancakes
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    Lithuanian pancakes, also known as blynai (BLEE-nigh) and sklindziai, are a popular treat for Shrove Tuesday (Uzgavenes) along with spurgos. This recipe is made with white wheat flour and beaten egg whites, which makes a very light pancake. They are silver-dollar sized and usually accompanied by honey or fruit preserves. You will sometimes find these on large breakfast buffets in Lithuania.

  • 03 of 16
    Stack of pancakes
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    Croatian-Serbian palacinke are thin crepe-like pancakes. When they are filled with jam, fruit, or sweet or savory cheeses and rolled, they are still known as palacinke (blintzes). Hungarians call crepes palacsinta, Poles call them nalesniki, Lithuanians call them naliesnikai, Ukrainians call them nalysnyky, and in Romanian, it's clatita. There is very little difference among them, so this palacinke batter recipe will suffice for all.

  • 04 of 16

    Smoked Trout Crostini Recipe

    Two smoked trout hanging by string.
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    Consider this an upscale version of smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese. Well, actually, you can use smoked salmon if you have a mind to. The herbed cheese offsets the smokiness of the fish and the bacon garnish. Fresh dill never hurts!

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  • 05 of 16
    Vegetable stew
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    Hungarian lecso (LEH-choh) is a vegetable stew that combines three of Hungary's favorite ingredients -- peppers, tomatoes, and paprika. Lecso can be served variously as a vegetable side dish, appetizer, breakfast or the main meal itself.

  • 06 of 16
    Breakfast Skillet
    Breakfast Skillet. Brian Leatart/Getty Images

    This Polish breakfast skillet recipe is a takeoff on a dish my busia and mother would make when they had leftover kluski. They'd fry them in lots of butter, scramble in some eggs and add a healthy sprinkling of black pepper. We'd have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or anytime eating meat was a no-no. You can update it by adding onion, peppers, kielbasa and cheese if you like.

  • 07 of 16
    Close-Up Of Crumb Coffee Cake Served In Plate
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    This is my maternal busia's recipe for coffee cake or placek z kruszonka, literally "cake with crumbs." I remember all 5 feet of busia using a wooden spoon and an enamel miska (bowl) to beat the dough until it made a clacking noise and blistered. She never used raisins but you can add them if you wish.

  • 08 of 16

    Granola Parfait Recipe

    Yogurt Parfaits with Strawberries and Granola
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    Europeans love museli -- uncooked rolled oats, fruit, and nuts, developed around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner. But granola -- a sweetened and toasted version of muesli -- is starting to catch on.

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  • 09 of 16
    Polish Zapiekanka or Open-Face Sandwich
    Polish Zapiekanka or Open-Face Sandwich. GMVozd/Getty Images

    Polish open-face sandwiches (also known as French-bread pizzas) are popular street food in the bigger cities of Poland. They're known as zapiekanki (plural) or zapiekanka (zah-peeyeh-KAHN-kah), which is singular. Zapiekanka comes from zapiekac, which means "to bake," and is the culinary term for a casserole. Don't be surprised to see revelers downing a zapiekanka and mug of beer early in the morning as a hangover remedy.

  • 10 of 16
    Polish white borscht
    Polish white borscht. Dobromila / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0

    White borscht soup -- Polish bialy barszcz -- is typically eaten on Easter Sunday morning and is made with most of the foods from the świeconka basket blessed on Holy Saturday. Zurek is another soup eaten for breakfast, often as a hangover cure.

  • 11 of 16
    Pasta
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    This hearty Ukrainian casserole recipe is a good way to use leftover ham and makes a perfect breakfast dish. Shynka is the Ukrainian word for "ham," and lokshyna means "egg noodles." In Yiddish, they are lokshen or lukshen and are probably derived from a Persian noodle dish called lakshah.

  • 12 of 16
    Strawberry pastry
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    Puff pastry Viennoiserie and Danish pastries are very common on large breakfast buffets at the high-end hotels in Eastern Europe. They're easier to make than one might think with homemade blitz puff pastry (or purchased puff pastry). The dough can be made days ahead and turned into pinwheels, bear claws, turnovers, baskets, whatever shape the heart desires and filled with sweet cheese and / or fruit fillings.

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  • 13 of 16
    Bunch of mini pumpkin and raisin muffins
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    Don't let the pumpkin-sauerkraut moniker fool you. These muffins are as much breakfast pastry as an after-meal dessert. They're moist and the coarse sugar topping gives them extra sweetness. The sauerkraut virtually disappears and some people think they're eating coconut!

  • 14 of 16
    Blueberry Summer Pudding
    Blueberry Summer Pudding. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    Instead of cold cereal with blueberries, try molding brioche with blueberries. Summer puddings are popular across the board in Eastern Europe, including Britain, not only for their flavor but because they are a no-bake dessert. They make good use of leftover bread like houska and let ripe summer fruits take center stage. This Blueberry Summer Pudding can be made in a 1-quart mold, but individual ramekins look so much prettier.

  • 15 of 16
    Plum galette on dark background , selective focus
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    A galette is just a French name for a tart and a tart is nothing more than an open-face pie. Any fresh fruit will do nicely.

  • 16 of 16
    Close-up of bread with sunflower seeds on wrapping paper
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    Whole-grain breads are common throughout Eastern Europe for breakfast both toasted and untoasted. Eastern Europeans are very fond of seeds like sunflower and pumpkin in their cooking. This bread is great toasted the next day or made into a crunchy French toast.