Grape Meringue Placek

This cake is a cross between my grape meringue cake and placek(flat cake) with rhubarb and meringue. 

There are two parts to this cake

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled
  • Grapes & Meringue topping.

Short pastry base

The base of this is made made from the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche.  

However as the topping is sweet, I used less sugar in the pastry – you might be able to omit all the sugar – I have not tried this.

Ingredients – Base

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter – chilled
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 4 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – Base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix them in
  • Bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in grease proof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm baking tin – use one long piece for sides and base – helps to take it out. 
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 sponge fingers  – crushed
  • *
  • 300g seedless green grapes

Method – Meringue

  • Preheat the oven to GM 2 -150°C.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add granulated sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the crushed sponge fingers.
  • *
  • Place 1/3 of the meringue over the cake base.
  • Place the grapes over the meringue.
  • Cover the grapes with the rest of the meringue
  • Put into the oven for 50 – 60 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Sonnet  1971-1998

Grape Meringue Cake

This recipe is from Pani Stasia *,  she and my mother were at school together.  She baked wonderful cakes and everyone loved this soft cake with seedless green grapes on the top within a mound of lovely meringue.

Many years ago I jotted down the recipe and now I found it amongst  my many hand written recipes.

I obviously had not written it down very well and in my first attempt, although the topping part worked very well , the bottom cake part was not as I remembered it.  Part of the problem was some of the measurements were in spoons and I think my conversions did not work out that well.  Also I remember that seedless grapes used to be very small, now they seem to be much bigger.

My next attempt was a disaster!  I tried cutting the grapes in half  (bad idea) and I adjusted the base ingredients  – the base did not cook well at all this time – a big gloopy mess – straight to birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of a pair of wood pigeons that come into the garden looking for cast off cake!

I decided to bake the cake base separately and add the topping later – I had a couple of goes and found that a Victoria sponge using two eggs was the best.

Note

This method means you have 4 egg yolks left over (you can use these in many other recipe). The original recipe used the yolks in the base and the whites in the topping – sadly I could not recreate this.

Cake Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon

Method

  • Grease a 22cm loose bottomed tall sided tin.
  • Preheat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs and lemon rind and whisk again.
  • Fold in the plain flour.
  • Place the mixture in the tin and bake for around 25 minutes.
  • Leave to go cold before adding the topping.

Topping Ingredients

  • 225g seedless green grapes
  • *
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 sponge fingers – crushed

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM2 – 150°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Mix in the crushed sponge fingers
  • Put half of the meringue mixture on top of the cake base.
  • Place the grapes in a layer on top of the meringue.
  • Put the rest of the meringue mixture on top of the grapes and smooth it down.
  • Bake for 1 hour – if not dry enough – lower oven to GM1- 140°C and leave for another 30 minutes.
  • Switch off the oven and leave cake in the oven.
  • Once oven is cold take out the cake and leave to cool in the tin.
  • Do not try to take it out of the tin until it is totally cold.

 

Queen Anne tea plates & Portmeirion – Crazy Daisy cake forks  – Sophie Conran’s design from 2009.

Coffee set and plates – Greenway by Hostess Tableware – design by John Russell, 1960 – 1979.

*

  • Pani  translates as Madam, Lady or Mrs and is a polite form of address – it is like donna in Italian or saying Miss Mary in the Southern States of America.
  • Stasia is the shortened form of the Polish name Stanisława. (The feminine form of Stanisław)
  • St Stanisław is the patron saint  of Kraków & Poland, he was a martyr, murdered by the Polish king Bolesław II the Bold in 1079 – a story which has much in common with St Thomas à Beckett and the English king Henry II  in 1170.

Lemony Sauce

Sweet cream, either poured or whipped is not used in traditional Polish cooking.

Soured cream with the addition of a little icing sugar is often used to drizzle over sweet dishes such as pierogi with fruit fillings or with Polish style pancakes.

I have previously made a super beetroot & chocolate cake and topping this with a lemon butter icing.

This time I just wanted a lighter pouring sauce to go with the cake.

Ingredients

  • 100g of yoghourt cheese or cream cheese
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • Juice from 1 lemon.

 

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients together to give a smooth sauce.

The contrast between the sauce and the rich cake is super.

Served on Royal Doulton  – Counterpoint tea plates – 1973 – 1987

 

Not Quite a Cheesecake – version 2

I posted Not Quite a Cheesecake in July of 2018.

I have made it several times since as a larger version when I have had lots of my own yoghurt cheese. For this version I used Morello cherries from a jar.

You can  use twaróg, curd cheese, cream cheese or yoghurt cheese, it is a bit different from my usual Polish baked cheesecake. as it does not have a cake/biscuit type base. Because of this you do need a one piece cake liner for your loose bottomed tin.

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 3 tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • 150g Ground almonds
  • 400 – 450g Twaróg , Curd cheese or Yoghurt Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Morello cherries from a 460g net weight jar
  • Optional Topping
  • Juice from the cherries
  • 1 tablespoon of potato or cornflour to thicken the juice.

Method

  • Line a 22cm diameter loose bottomed cake tin with a bought paper cake liner.

 

 

 

 

  • Preheat the oven to GM5 190°C
  • Drain the cherries from the juice – keep the juice for the topping.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until they are soft and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks one by one until you have a smooth mixture.
  • Add the vanilla essence and the salt and mix in.
  • Add the cornflour, ground almonds and the yoghurt cheese and mix together thoroughly.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.
  • Put the cake mixture into the lined tin.
  • Place around half the cherries on top of the mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to GM2 – 150°C and bake for around another 30 minutes.
  • Switch off the oven but leave the cake in there until it is cool.
  • Keep the cake in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature for serving.
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • ***
  • Make a runny sauce from the juice heated with a tablespoon of potato flour.
  • Serve portions with a few cherries on the side and some of the sauce poured on or next to it.

     

    Served here on tea plates from a coffee service by Midwinter – Queensbury from the 1970s.

Placek with Rhubarb & Meringue

This cake was inspired by my placek(flat cake) with sour cherries and meringue

There are three parts to this cake:

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled.
  • Rhubarb filling – cooked and left to go cold.
  • Meringue topping.

Three stages all take a bit of time but well worth the effort. It is delicious with a lovely balance of  sweetness against the tart rhubarb.

Short pastry base

The base of is made with a smaller amount of the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche. 

I could see out of my kitchen window that the rhubarb was beginning to grow.  As I still had one batch left frozen from last summer I to decided to use that up before the new crop and in time for you to try it.

Ingredients – base

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter – chilled
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix this in, then and bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 23 x 26 cm baking tin.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Rhubarb filling

  • 400g (approx) of rhubarb
  • 150g of granulated sugar (more may be needed)
  • 25g of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons of potato or corn flour

Method – rhubarb filling

  • This needs to be made ahead of time as it must be cold.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM2
  • Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and place in a baking dish
  • Add sugar.
  • Bake in the oven for around 1 hour – till soft.
  • Check for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary – but not too sweet.
  • Leave to cool a little.
  • *
  • I used cooked rhubarb that I had frozen from last year. 
  • *
  • Wizz the rhubarb up with a blender or chopper to get a purée.
  • Place this in a saucepan.
  • Heat slowly.
  • Mix the yolks with the potato or cornflour and add this to the rhubarb and heat till it thickens.
  • Add the butter and mix in.
  • Leave to go cold before use.

A few thoughts on the origin & history of meringues:

  • Meringue – a French word.
  • Swiss village of Meiringen.
  • Improved by Italian chef Gasparini.
  • From Polish word – marzynka – a day dream?
  • Made by the chef for the exiled king of Poland, Stanisław Leszczyński (1677 – 1766), Duke of Lorraine (1737 -1766).
  • His daughter, Maria, was married to Louis XV of France and she introduced them to the court.
  • In Polish – beza(sing)) bezy(pl) – link to – buzi kiss?
  • French meringue – whisk eggs till stiff – add sugar and whisk again.
  • Italian meringue – uses sugar syrup.
  • Swiss meringue – sugar and whites heated over a water bath.
  • Addition of cornflour – strengthens the egg white.

Meringue

  • I used 4 egg whites & 200g icing sugar.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add icing sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 1 -140°C.
  • Cover the base with the rhubarb filling and level it out.
  • Cover the rhubarb with the meringue and level it out
  • Put back into the oven for 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Counterpoint tea plates 1973 – 1987.

Half or Semi French? – Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 3

There are two similarly named pastries in Polish cookery:

  • Ciasto francuskie  – translates as French pastry – this is puff pastry.
  • Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie  – translates as half or semi French pastry.

I have seen ciasto pȯłfrancuskie described as rough puff pastry  – but it  is not – rough puff is a slightly easier and quicker version of puff pastry.

I have seen many different recipes for this semi-French pastry and they fall into three broad categories:

  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie  – śmietanowe – dough  made with some soured cream. 
  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – serowe  –  dough made with twaróg – curd cheese.
  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – drożdźowe – dough made with yeast.

Ciasto  pȯłfrancuskie 3 – with yeast

This is very much like the pastry used to make real French croissants, which are more yeast based than the crumbly puff pastry type you get here in England.

NoteThis recipe takes most of the day with frequent bits of activity and longer times of rest. 

  • There are two parts to this pastry:
  • The first is to make a yeast pastry and I have used the rogaliki (little horns) recipe which I posted recently for this.
  • The second is to use lots of butter and to layer up the pastry as you would do for puff pastry.
  • I have seen lots of different methods for adding the butter and doing the layering as well as how cold the butter should be and how long to rest between layering, whether to chill and how often. – I have described one of the shorter ways of doing this.

Ingredients – Yeast Dough

Leaven – Starter

  • 150g plain flour
  • 200ml warm milk
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 pkt of dried yeast (= 1 tablespoon)

    Rest of Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 2 yolks
  • *
  • a little more milk might be needed 
  • Egg white to glaze
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • *
  • For layering
  • Around 180g of butter

Method

  • Mix the yeast and sugar into the hand hot milk.
  • Put 150g of flour into a bowl and mix in the milk mixture until it is like double cream.
  • Cover the bowl and leave it to rise.
  • *
  • Rub the butter into the 300g of flour until it is like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg yolks and the yeast starter.
  • Mix till you get a soft dough – you might need to add a tablespoon or so of milk – depends on the flour.
  • Knead the dough till you have a nice smooth ball.
  • Leave in a bowl, covered, to rise and double in size.
  • *
  • Place the butter into a dish and leave at room temperature to soften.
  • Knead the risen dough lightly for a few minutes.
  • **
  • Roll out the dough out thinly into a large rectangle.
  • Spread a around a sixth of the butter over 2/3rds of the surface.
  • Fold the dough without the butter over a third of the dough.
  • Fold the rest of the dough over this – making a rectangle.
  • Turn the dough by 90°.
  • Repeat the rolling, butter spreading and folding
  • Leave to rest for around 10 minutes.
  • ***
  • Repeat from ** to *** twice.
  • *
  • Cover the dough in greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or longer if you do not want to use just straight away.
  • When you want to use the dough take it out of the fridge for 20 minutes
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C
  • Grease two baking sheets.
  • Roll the dough out into a rectangle to use.

 

  • I made rogaliki but you can do other shapes & use fillings.
  • *
  • Cut into eight triangles.
  • Roll  each one up from the large end.
  • Place them on a baking sheet – as far apart as possible.
  • Brush the tops with egg white.
  • Cover loosely and leave for about 15 minutes.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes.
  • Leave to cool slightly
  • You can dust with icing sugar.

Phew! this was a marathon but I wanted to try this to see how it is done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keks -With Fruit Mincemeat – 2

Keks is the word for a light fruit cake which is baked in a loaf tin or more often in a long narrow rectangular tin.

I am not sure how or when the word keks came into the Polish language but I am certain it comes from the English word “cakes” –  however the word keks is singular in Polish and means cake, and the plural is  keksy which is cakes.

Keks are make with bakalie, which is usually translated as dried fruits – however it has more varied fruits than the English version of dried grapes (raisins, sultanas, currants) and  mixed peel and can include: apricots, dates, figs, prunes and nuts.

Keks – using fruit mincemeat

At Christmas time I make English fruit mincemeat using the recipe from Delia Smith but without the chopped nuts.

If I have any mincemeat left over after the Christmas period I make a fruit loaf which which is very much a keks.

This is my second version of a keks with mincemeat.

 

Ingredients

  • 150 butter
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • Grated zest of an orange
  • Grated zest of a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 450g jar of mincemeat (exact amount is not critical)
  • 175g  mixture of sultanas, raisins, currants & mixed peel
  • 50g of chopped walnuts
  • 225g  spelt flour
  • 3 level teaspoons of baking powder

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM3 – 160ºC
  • Prepare the long loaf tin by greasing it and lining the long sides using one piece of greaseproof paper.
  • Lightly cream the butter and sugar.
  • Add the grated zest of the lemon and the orange.
  • Beat in the eggs, one by one.
  • Stir in the mincemeat, the dried fruits and walnuts until it is an even consistency – a wooden spoon is good for this.
  • Mix the spelt flour with the baking powder.
  • Stir in the flour mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Bake for around 60 minutes – check after 50 minutes and cover the top if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.

 

Served here on hand painted Paragon octagonal tea plates.