Lithuanian kuciukai, a traditional pastry of leavened dough - Global Storybook

“Kūčiukai” – Traditional Lithuanian Christmas Biscuits

Danguolė Veličkaitė

Danguolė Veličkaitė

Danguolė Veličkaitė is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Lithuania).

Danguolė Veličkaitė was born and raised in Lithuania. She loves to travel and learn about new cultures. She also admires art and cats.

Danguolė is warmly welcoming you to learn more about her beautiful homeland, Lithuania and consider it to be your next travel destination! You can read more about Danguolė here.
Danguolė Veličkaitė

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“Kūčiukai” are the traditional Lithuanian Christmas biscuits, usually served as the main treat during the Christmas Eve’s dinner.  In fact, no Christmas table in Lithuania is complete without this traditional pastry.  Please note, kūčiukai are also known as “šližika”, “kleckai” or “kalėdaičiai”, in some parts of Lithuania.

After sharing sanctified Christmas wafers, it is time to taste the kūčiukai.  Hence, the Christmas Eve’s dinner cannot even start without first taking a bite of a freshly made kūčiukai biscuit, with a glass of poppy milk.  Kūčiukai are usually made from leavened dough and poppy seeds.  They are small in size and are slightly sweet.

There are numerous variations of kūčiukai, depending on one’s taste.  In addition, the biscuits are usually served soaked in poppy seed milk, however they can also be enjoyed without it, as a snack.

Here’s how you can make your own Christmas kūčiukai biscuits with a poppy milk.

Lithuanian kuciukai, a traditional pastry of leavened dough - Global StorybookIngredients:  

  • 500g  plain flour
  • 250 ml warm milk or water (lukewarm, not hot!)
  • 7g dry, fast acting yeast
  • 2 – 6 tablespoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you’ll want the kūčiukai to be)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp of poppy seeds for the dough
  • 250g poppy seeds for the poppy milk
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 whisked egg
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Lithuanian kuciukai, a traditional pastry of leavened dough - Global StorybookHow to Make the Traditional Lithuanian Kūčiukai Biscuits:

1. Take a large bowl and mix fresh yeast with sugar.  Then add warm milk or water to it, plus 250g (half) of the plain flour.  Stir up all the ingredients well in a large bowl until they turn into a dough.  The dough should be then kneaded for at least 5 mins.

2. Make a round shape from the dough and powder the surface with a bit of flour, so that it becomes less sticky.  Then leave it covered with a clean towel in a warm place until it doubles in size, approximately for an hour.

3. Once the dough doubles in size, add some salt, the rest of the flour, oil, and the poppy seeds.  Stir the ingredients well by kneading the dough for a few minutes.  Then place the dough into a large bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel again, and leave it in a warm place to double in size once more.

4. Roll the dough into 1 cm thick sausage-shaped rolls and cut them into small pieces, about 1 cm in size each.

5. Preheat the oven to 180 C degrees.  Place the kūčiukai biscuits on the baking tray lined with a parchment paper and then bake the biscuits for 10 – 12 minutes until they turn into a golden, but not brown color.

6. Prepare the poppy milk by soaking 250g of poppy seeds in sweetened water, then mashing them with a meat grinder.  The poppy seed water should turn slightly white and look similar to milk.

7. Place the baked kūčiukai biscuits into a bowl pre-filled with poppy seed milk and serve it on the table.

Enjoy!/ Bon appetite!/ Skanaus!

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