By Kate Zander
Bismarck, North Dakota
Baking with my mom will always bring me fond memories, just as she tells me of her memories baking with her mother. She tells me that when she was young, after the pumpkin was cleaned out and the shell removed, she sat at a table with her father, cutting the pumpkin up into small pieces in order to make their favorite fall treat, blachinda, with her mother. Her mother would get her apron on , get out her rolling pin, and then they would work together to roll out dough, tell stories, and get the blachinda ready to be baked. She said it was put in their “cook stove” but has no idea of a temperature setting, as the stove was always on to keep the house warm, She said they just baked it “until it looked nice and brown.” These days, I love making blachinda with my mom and now she wears her apron and gets out her rolling pin. We are making our own memories, but things are a little different, as now the pumpkin is prepared by putting it through a food processor and we have a temperature setting and time. You know the holidays are near when you stop at mom’s house and the smell of blachinda fills the air.
Peel and scoop out inside of pumpkin. Cut up into small pieces and shred in food processor.
12 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 ½ cups shortening
Lukewarm water to make dough soft
Mix flour, salt, and shortening together until almost a powder appearance. Add lukewarm water and knead until soft dough forms. Cut dough pieces about the size of a small baseball and roll into a rectangular shape. Place two to three heaping tablespoons of shredded pumpkin on dough, then cover pumpkin with a generous amount of sugar (2-3 tablespoons) and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pinch the sides of the dough together to make the shape of a canoe, place on a lightly greased pan, and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
Tip: A trick we learned over the years involves putting uncooked blachinda on cookie sheets and in the freezer until they are nice and firm. Wrap a few of them together in plastic wrap and foil and put them in freezer bags to be made at a later date. Freezing them and baking them at a later date keeps them tasting as fresh as the day they were made!