It’s nearing that time of the year where colorfully dyed eggs are on everybody’s mind. Come this Easter Sunday, if you don’t have the particular aching to whip up a feast at home, why not spring into the city and treat your taste buds to some of these restaurants for a tasty brunch or a hearty dinner?
A hidden treasure of South Philadelphia, Chhaya offers waffles that will surely put your Thanksgiving cornbread to shame. After a sunny morning of egg-hunting, stop by and indulge in a cornbread waffle drenched in sausage gravy. To get in the holiday spirit, top it off with a fried egg. If you’re feeling sweet, try one of their spring specials, including orange pecan pancakes that will give your step some zest. Chhaya will be open from 8 am to 6 pm on Sunday.
Cafe Lift, an artsy spot subtly located on 13th street, has a vibrant red sign to help the café stand out amongst the monotony of the street. This cash-only joint is open 9 am to 3 pm on Easter Sunday. Their menu varies from tacos to frittatas to Italian flavored crepes and cannoli. Owner Michael Pasquarello does not disappoint with the aesthetic or the taste.
Known for their red-velvet pancakes, Green Eggs Cafe has three different locations spread across the city. Treat yourself to a classic Eggs Benedict or commit to their “Kitchen Sink” that is comprised of three scrambled eggs with sausage crumbles, cheese, potatoes, peppers and onions, topped with a homemade jumbo biscuit and country style pork sausage gravy.
If you started celebrating (maybe a bit too hard on Easter eve), try Sabrina's Cafe & Spencer's Too. Sabrina's is one of the best hangover brunch spots in Philadelphia, known for their outrageously well-portioned French toast. You must forget the calory count and what it could do to your pant size. Their True Life: I Ate a Whole Stuffed French Toast is so delectable, just reading it on the menu will cause some severe salivation. This location is BYOB, so bring your pre-made Bloody Marys and make this Easter unforgettable. Sabrina's will be open from 8 am to 4 pm this Easter sunday.
Located in the heart of the Philadelphia, Serafina is one of the tougher places to get a table in the city. This Easter, Serafina will be open from 11 am to midnight. They offer over 20 varieties of pizza, homemade pasta, and fresh grilled meats and seafood.
If you are feeling celebratory, come to Tria, a destination for wine, cheese, and beer. You can enjoy a boozy afternoon brunch here without feeling the need to dress formal; you can swirl your wine glass in blue-jeans and a white tee. Tria is open every day of every week from noon to the late sultry nights. Every Sunday, they offer their “special Sunday school,” which entails specific items on the menu to be priced at a very low cost. If their Sunday school items don’t please you, try their Bruschetta or savor a three cheese and tomato Panino sandwich.
Should you be feeling proper and want to partake in a British style afternoon tea, come to Dandelion, a Stephen Starr restaurant. If the interior design doesn’t make you want to stay, perhaps their brunch menu will titillate your taste buds. Come from 10 am to 3 pm to catch their brunch menu and enjoy a cup of tea paired with their English breakfast or some porridge.
Open from 8 am to 9pm on Easter Sunday, Marathon Grill will be offering a special on the menu for their Sunday brunch. A new American cuisine flavor, try their tomato, smoked salmon, and goat cheese omelette or some short stack pancakes with home fries.
For all the Mexican lovers, El Vez, another Stephen Starr establishment, will be offering a special entrée (to be revealed on the day) along with their regular menu from 11 am to 10bpm. Treat yourself to their Mexican (malted) waffle while sipping on their “Cochino Caliente” Bloody Mary that has a bacon and chipotle blend.
Stephen Starr’s Butcher & Singer steakhouse is a great place to end your Easter Sunday. Dab on some red lipstick women, and tie up your best bowtie gentlemen, and come bask in an old Hollywood feel while dining on their swordfish entrée or their dry aged Porterhouse. The restaurant opens at 4 p.m.
Eastern European Molded Cheese Easter Dessert (Paska / Paskha) Recipe
This recipe for a molded Easter cheese dessert is known variously as paska, pasca, paskha, and pascha.
Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish cuisine all feature paska, a word that literally means "Easter" or "pascal" for the holidays. Easter in a Russian Orthodox home isn't complete without kulich (a sweet yeast bread similar to Italian panettone) and paska blessed by the parish priest.
If you can't find dry curd cheese, you might want to make your own farmer's cheese from scratch. It's easy.
This no-bake dessert traditionally is made into a round ball, a brand new terra cotta flower pot or pressed into a pyramid-shaped mold, known as pasotchnitza (пасочница in Cyrillic) and originally made of wood but now often made of plastic with the sign of the cross and other religious symbols in relief.
Paska tastes somewhat like cheesecake without the crust and is often spread on slices of kulich.
Traditionally, fastnachts are made to use up the lard, sugar, butter, eggs and other rich foods in a house before the austere diet of Lent begins. In Catholic and Protestant countries, Fastnacht Day is also called "Fat Tuesday," or "Mardi Gras," a name which predates the Reformation and referred to the Christian tradition of eating rich foods before the Lenten fast began. In some South American countries, the day is associated with Carnival, a festival of dancing, drinking and debauchery. "Carnival," which is the English spelling, derives from the words "carne levar," or "meat takeaway," another Lenten tradition.  Fastnacht can also be spelled in various ways, such as "fasnacht", "fassenacht," or "faschnacht." The word "fastnacht" means "the night before the fast," since the doughnuts are eaten the night before Lent, when fasting is usually observed by many Christians until Easter Sunday. Making and eating fastnachts was a way to consume all the fats, such as butter and lard, kept in the house pantry, as these rich ingredients were seen as lavish and were not supposed to be eaten during the Lenten season. 
One popular recipe is the one that calls for mixing the dough with mashed potatoes, which gives the yeast raised fastnachts a flavor all its own, not be confused with commercial donuts. Since Pennsylvania Dutch farm families were quite large, when the "Haus Frau" (housewife) began to fry the raised fastnachts in her warm kitchen the tantalizing smell of these raised donut-like cakes lingered throughout the farmhouse. Naturally, the wiser members of the family were awoken, and realized that if they got up early they could share in Mother's fastnacht treats. But the less wise ones or lazy ones may have continued in their slumber, while the siblings enjoyed fresh fastnachts with a beverage. The last person up on Shrove Tuesday was called the "Fastnacht" and kidded all day long for being late for this wonderful breakfast. In the same way, the last person up on Ash Wednesday was also teased, and called the "Ashepuddle", whose chore for the day was to carry the ashes in the stoves and ovens outside to the ash pile. Fastnachts were a winter staple of the Dutch housewife and could be eaten long past Ash Wednesday, even though originally fried in pork lard, the day before Lent. Shrove Tuesday fastnacht baking was a way of life in which the Pennsylvania Dutch people celebrated its ethnicity, more than going to church it was a folk-life practice that was more personal. These yeast raised cakes had been rolled out and then cut into squares, triangles, or rectangles to rise near an old cast iron kitchen stove. Older Church congregations in the East Penn Valley still have Fastnacht Church Socials or suppers in which natives gather for fellowship, enjoying their Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.  In today's time several large corporations are also producing fastnacht doughnuts in a unique way. The substitution of coke in for the milk or coffee of the original recipe it gave the doughnut a special/unique flavor. This was later to become the Coca-Cola recipe of the fastnacht doughnut.  Traditionally the fastnacht didn't have a hole in it, it was cut, or slit, through the middle (like a bagel) to allow air and the placement of condiments such as jelly, and butter. Some cultures add molasses (king syrup) or "Turkey Brand" syrup to enhance the flavor. 
Recipe #1:Fastnachts with baking powder
3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon ground mace (can use nutmeg) 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening (use lard if you can get it) 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup milk vegetable or canola oil for frying, about 2 quarts
Place the flour, baking powder, salt and mace in a medium bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to combine. Set aside. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until creamy. Gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, mixing on low speed, just until well-combined. Place on a floured board. Work the dough lightly with hands, adding a little more flour as needed if it is too sticky. (This dough should be very soft, something like a biscuit dough, so don't add more flour than necessary.) Gently roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle or square. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2-inch squares or similarly sized rectangles. Heat the oil in a deep-sided pot over medium heat to 375 °F. Carefully add the fastnachts to the oil, about 6 per batch, and fry until well-browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining fastnachts. 
Recipe #2: Fastnachts with Yeast
2 cups scalded milk, ½ cup lard, 1 cup mashed potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, ¾ cup sugar, 2 well beaten eggs, 1 package yeast, 7 cups flour, approximately
Scald milk and add mashed potatoes, sugar, salt, and lard. Cool until lukewarm. Add eggs. Add yeast and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead well and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a cloth and let rise about 1½ hours. Roll ¼ inch thick on a floured board. Place on a cloth and let rise until doubled in size and fry in hot fat. 
Recipe #3: Fastnachts with potatoes and baking powder
2 1/2 c. hot mashed potatoes 1 cup milk 3 beaten eggs 2 Tablespoons melted butter 2 cups sugar 2 Tablespoons baking powder 5 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl combine all ingredients, but add flour slowly. Divide dough in half and roll to 1/2" thickness. Cut with doughnut cutter. Fry in deep fat or oil, turning when brown. Drain on paper towels and let cool. 
Fastnacht Day is dependent upon the day of Easter, and Ash Wednesday. Easter Day varies from year to year because of the spring equinox, or full moon, and is usually the last Sunday of the month of March. Fastnacht Day takes place 47 days before Easter Day, on the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday.
- 1 cup HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
- 3 (8 ounce) packages PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 medium (blank)s eggs
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix graham crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups.
Beat cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crusts.
Bake 25 to 30 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Beat whipping cream with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form spread gently onto cheesecakes. Top with blueberries and lemon zest.
Omit the whipped cream, blueberries and lemon zest. Bake and chill cheesecakes as directed. Spread with 1/3 cup strawberry jam. Garnish with fresh strawberry halves and mint sprigs. Or, spread each cheesecake with 2 Tbsp. PHILADELPHIA INDULGENCE Milk Chocolate and 1 tsp. flaked coconut.
Easter Recipes for a Family Dinner
Easter Bunny Breadsticks
These could be the perfect accompaniment to any Easter dinner. Or have them with brunch! This simple idea is elegant and easy, and loads of fun for kids to help shape the bunnies. You can use homemade yeast dough or pick up some store-bought dough.
Here is a traditional Italian recipe for Easter Pie that is over a hundred years old. It might bring back fond memories, or introduce you to a mouthwatering way to break lent. Full of eggs, cheeses, Italian cold cuts, it’s a hearty crowd-pleaser. (And if you're crowd-less this year, you'll enjoy leftovers for breakfast the week after Easter.)
It doesn't get more traditional for Easter dinner than Pineapple and Mustard Glazed Spiral Ham. Photo courtesy of Peanut Blossom
Pineapple and Mustard Glazed Spiral Ham
Sweet and savory, juicy and tangy, this pineapple and mustard-glazed spiral ham will be the star of your holiday table. Blow them out of the water with this spiral ham recipe. Serve with biscuits (perhaps the bunny ones, above) and roasted asparagus.
Ham Pot Pie
Use the leftover ham from the recipe above in this scrumptious meal for biscuit-topped pot pie. Topped with either homemade biscuits or a can of pre-made dough, this easy pie is excellent for lunch or dinner.