Tea Soaked Fruit Cake

This cake recipe is one I came across recently and I like it because it uses tea – a drink well loved in Poland.

It is similar to a keks which is usually made in a loaf tin but I like to make this one in a round tin.

The recipe uses 8 tea bags and I think Earl Grey,  Lady Grey & Empress Grey tea bags are really good. (If you do not have tea bags then use 8 teaspoons of loose tea, but have it in a muslin bag as you do not want the tea leaves in the cake.)

I have used dried fruits consisting just of currants, raisins, sultanas & peel.

You could make it more Polish by using a bakalie mixture which also has chopped dates, figs & prunes, however I would not add nuts – or if you want to use them – add them after the overnight soaking.

Ingredients

500g mixed dried fruit

8 tea bags (Earl Grey, Lady Grey or Empress Grey)

300ml boiling water

500g self-raising flour

325g butter or block margarine

1 teaspoon mixed spice

pinch of salt

5 eggs

Method

Place the teabags in a large bowl and add the boiling water and stir to make a very strong tea.

Add the dried fruit and stir well.

Leave the fruit to soak overnight.

 

Pre-heat your oven to GM 3 ,  150°C.

Grease and line a 23cm loose bottom or a spring-form tin.

Place the flour and butter or margarine into a large bowl and use your finger tips to rub in the fat until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

In a bowl mix the sugar, salt & mixed spice thoroughly.

Add the sugar mixture to the flour & butter mixture and stir well.

Add the eggs and the soaked fruit and all the remaining liquid and stir well.

 

Pour the mixture into the baking tin and level the top.

Bake in the  oven for 1 hour 40 minutes.

Check after an hour and place a piece of foil or greaseproof  paper on the top if it is beginning to burn.

Check to see if the cake is done with a cake tester or skewer.

NoteThis cake is large and you run the risk of having it underdone in the middle – make sure it is cooked in the middle when testing.

Leave to cool in the tin.

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Served on tea plates – Greenway  Hostess – design by John Russell, 1960 – 1979.

Smaller Sized Cake

This cake is large so I thought I would have a go at making a smaller version.

There are 5 eggs in the original recipe so I  decided to do a 3 egg version.

To make it more Polish, I used a bakalie mixture which had chopped dates, figs, peel & prunes as well as the currants, raisins & sultanas.

Ingredients

300g bakalie or dried mixed fruit

5 tea bags (Earl Grey, Lady Grey or Empress Grey)

200ml boiling water

300g self-raising flour

200g butter or block margarine

1 teaspoon mixed spice

pinch of salt

3 eggs

 

Method

As above – using a 20cm tin.

Bake for around 1 hour 20 minutes – checking after 50 minutes and covering if necessary with a piece of greaseproof paper to stop the top burning.

Note

Maybe because of the different dried fruits I thought it came out drier than the large one & I served it sliced with some butter.

However I have found that if you wrap the cake in aluminium foil for a day or two – it improves – becoming  more moist.

 

Served on tea plates – La prune – by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

Bean Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z fasoli  – cutlets from beans.

The word kotlety(plural) comes from the Italian word cotoletta(singular) for cutlet or chop.

Phaseolus vulgaris, common bean, originated from Central and South America, where it was cultivated as early as 6,000 BC in Peru and 5,000 in Mexico.  it was introduced to the Old World by the Spanish and the Portuguese.

It is a legume which means it is a plant that has its seeds contained in a shell or pod.

Most of the recipes in my books use dried beans and they are prepared by soaking them overnight and then boiling them for the required amount of time.

For ease I usually use tinned beans.

You can use haricot beans (wash off the sauce from baked beans), cannellini (white kidney) beans, butter beans and many others.

Ingredients

2 tins of beans

1 onion

butter for frying the onion

1 teaspoon of mixed herbs or Italian herbs

1 egg

1 – 2 tablespoons of potato flour

Dried breadcrumbs

Salt & ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Chop the onion into small pieces and gently fry in butter.

Leave to cool completely.

 

 

 

 

 

Rinse and drain the beans from the tins.

 

 

Pat the beans dry with kitchen roll or a clean tea towel.

Mash the beans until you have a thick smooth paste.

 

Add the onions and the mixed herbs.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add the potato flour to make the mixture thick.

Add salt & ground black pepper

Cover a plate or board with dried breadcrumbs.

Make flattened balls from the mixture – coating them on all sides with breadcrumbs.

Fry the fritters in hot sunflower oil.

 

They can be kept warm in the oven whilst you cook them in batches.

They can be reheated in the oven at GM5 – 190°C – for around 15 minutes.

Bean Fritters with Peppers & Chilli

This is a variation on the above recipe – to the mixture as above you add – 2 chopped peppers & 1-2 medium chillies or 2-3 small chillies, which have all been softened by gently frying in some butter and then added to the onion mixture. You can also add some chilli flakes.

 

 

Continue as above

 

 

Both versions of these fritters go well with a crisp salad, salsa or a sauce such as tomato or mushroom.  They also go well with meat dishes in a sauce  such as gulasz, pulpety or chicken casserole.

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Placek

Placek is a low flat cake and can be  round or rectangular in shape.

I made two using  each of the recipes in  ciasto półkruche  – a type of shortcrust pastry – with jam fillings and both turned out well.

Placek with jam

Grease and line a 33 x 23 tin

Pre-heat the oven  GM5 – 190°C

Use half the dough and roll it out to fit the tin.

Spread the dough with jam – you will need around a jar.

Cover the top with the rest of the dough rolled out.

Bake for around 30 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar as soon as you take it out of the oven and leave to cool.

Placek with Blackcurrant Jam

 

Served on – Colclough – Enchantment-  1950 – 1960s

Placek with Sour Cherry Jam

 

Served on – Duchess – Bramble Rose – 1960s

 

 

 

Vegetable Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z jarzyn  – cutlets from vegetables.

The word kotlety(plural) comes from the Italian word cotoletta(singular) for cutlet or chop.

These are made with boiled or steamed vegetables.

Root vegetables are good here as well as cooked cabbage – you can also add cooked pulses such as peas and beans –  I am writing a post just about bean fritters which will be posted soon.

The following vegetable are ones I often use: cabbage, carrots, celeriac, cauliflower, parsnip and potato.

The cooked vegetables need to be chopped fine, minced or mashed – whichever is more suitable or easiest.

 

For this post I cooked the vegetables especially but this is a good way to use up any leftover cooked vegetables.

Ingredients

Around 500g of cooked vegetables – chopped,mashed or minced as appropriate.

2 onions – chopped fine

Butter to fry the onions

1 egg (can add another egg yolk as well)

2 – 3 tablespoons of potato flour – depends on how moist or starchy the vegetables are.

Salt & pepper

Dried Breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Extras – you can add chopped parsley, dill or chives or any other herbs you like.

Method

Chop fine, mash or mince the vegetables as appropriate.

Chop the onions and fry them gently in butter till golden and leave to cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix the vegetables and the onion together.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add enough potato flour to make the mixture fairly stiff.

Add salt and pepper.

Put dried breadcrumbs on a board or large plate.

Make largish balls of the mixture and flatten them onto the breadcrumbs, turn them over  and cover all the sides.

Fry them gently in hot sunflower oil.

You can keep them warm on a baking tray in the oven whilst making the rest.

Reheating

I like these reheated – Place them on a baking tray into a pre-heated hot oven GM6  200°C for around 15  minutes.

The combinations are endless – here are some ideas ….

Cauliflower & Spring Onions or Chives

As in the instructions above with the addition of chopped spring onion (the green part) or chives.

 

 

Carrot & Parsnip

 

Carrot, Potato & Peas

 

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Buckwheat

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum) is gryka  in Polish – and I have written already about the use of its flour to make bliny & pancakes.

Buckwheat is not a grain but a seed – however  it is classed under grains for culinary purposes.

The small triangular seeds have a strong scent which is quite distinctive.

In the United States – they are called groats.

Kasza porridge – is very popular in Poland and refers to grains or seeds boiled in water or milk – usually served salted  – rather than sweet.

Kasza gryczanna is cooked buckwheat and  was eaten in Poland long before the introduction of the potato in the 18th century

You can get  buckwheat grains  which are roasted or not roasted.

You can get loose grains & if you are cooking these you need twice as much water by volume as the buckwheat and you simmer this gently with a lid on the pan, until all the water is absorbed.

Then add a large knob of butter (or bacon fat) and place this in an oven-proof dish with a lid or covered in foil and placed in a low oven for at least 20 minutes.

Note

In olden times the dish could be covered with a pillow or small duvet to keep it warm for hours – so it could be prepared early on for eating later.

This is similar to using a hay box which was much used in England in earlier times.

An easy way of cooking the buckwheat is to use the boil in the bag method.

You can buy packets of buckwheat which come in 4 x 100g perforated bags.

Place the bag in 1 litre of salted boiling water and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.

 

Then empty the grains out of the bag and add a large knob of butter and place this in an oven-proof dish with a lid or covered in foil and place in a low oven for at least 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Because of the distinctive strong taste of the buckwheat it is best served with food with “robust” flavours such as beef or pork gulasz.

 

You can reheat the boiled buckwheat by frying it gently in butter, with fried onion or with skwarki*.

 

 

 

*Skwarki

Skwarki are crisp smoked bacon bits. My mother would use streaky bacon and cut this into little squares and heat them in a frying pan so all the fat would come out.

Other people might use a more fatty, smoked belly pork to make skwarki.

This smoked streaky bacon was quite lean!

 

 

Are lardons the same as skwarki?

I have been trying to get a definitive answer to this for ages!

Well  – Yes & No or They can be!

As I understand it lardons are cubes of pork belly which may or may not be smoked.

Swarki for me will always be smoked and the pieces are small flat pieces rather than cubed.

 

 

 

Sponge with Sour Cherry Jam

Wiśnie  is the Polish for sour cherries  which I have described in More Duck.

Having made sponge with sweet orange jam I thought I would try this with sour cherry jam – the one I used is from Lidl and is very good with a sharp sour taste. The taste goes really well with the  dark chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made an English style sponge for ease.

Ingredients

2 eggs

75g caster sugar

75g self raising flour

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Grease and line the base of  a round 18cm diameter  baking tin.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.

Gently fold in the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.

 

You will need around 3 to 4 tablespoons of jam.

Warm the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Sandwich the cake halves together with the jam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a dark chocolate glaze as in mazurek  using yeast dough  and again in mazurek with oranges.

 

Here served on Royal Doulton – Counterpoint  1973 – 1987.

 

 

 

Sponge with Sweet Orange Jam

This cake was inspired firstly by mazurek with oranges and also by the very British Jaffa cakes.

Jaffa cakes were first made in 1927 by McVitie & Price (Established in Edinburgh in 1830)  – little sponges with orange jelly and a chocolate topping – named after the port (now called Tel Aviv) from where the Victorians and Edwardians imported oranges).

A fat-free sponge cake is cut in half and sandwiched together with a sweet orange jam and then covered  with a chocolate glaze or icing.

I have tried out several versions – and made a fat-free sponge using  the recipe with  potato flour   this time using a round 19cm baking tin which has been greased and lined with a circle of greaseproof paper on the base and baked for 20 – 25 minutes at GM4 – 180°C

 

A quicker version is to use a more English sponge recipe ( this has slightly less volume so a smaller baking tin is used).

Ingredients

2 eggs

75g caster sugar

75g self raising flour

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Grease and line the base of  a round 18cm diameter  baking tin.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.

Gently fold in the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.

 

 

Leave to cool and cut the sponge in half

 

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Orange & Elderflower Jam from IKEA

Warm the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Sandwich the cake halves together with the jam.

 

Chocolate glaze – using the one from Mazurek – with Yeast Dough

 

 

 

Served on Bramble Rose by Duchess from the 1960s

 

The more milk chocolate icing below is the one from chocolate babka.

 

 

Served here on tea plates by Spencer Stevenson Co Ltd 1948 – 1960, design name not known.