Pear & Ginger Cake

Having recently made a lovely apple cake loosely based on an English Victorian recipe I thought I would adapt it using pears and ginger.

Ingredients

  • 4 pears (Conference are good) – peeled & cored and cut into rough 2.5cm chunks
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 230g of plain flour
  • ½ tablespoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 125ml of sunflower oil
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Use a 22cm loose bottom tin with a cake liner – (like a huge bun case).
  • Mix the pears, ginger and sugar in a small bowl.
  • Leave whilst you prepare the cake mixture.
    *
  • In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl whisk the oil, sugar, vanilla extract and the eggs until they are thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Place half the cake batter into the cooking tin.
  • Place half the pear mixture and juices on top of the cake batter.
  • Cover with the rest of the cake batter.
  • Place the rest of the pear mixture evenly over the surface of the cake.
  • Bake for 60 – 65 minutes – cover and maybe another another 10 minutes if not done.
  • Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.

Served on Burleigh Ware, Burgess & Leigh Ltd, Blue Mist, stoneware tea plates from the 1930s.

Variation

Having made this, I thought about the French dessert Poire belle Hélène, which has a chocolate sauce poured over poached pears.

I made the cake again and when it was cool, I drizzled a chocolate sauce made from 40g of melted dark chocolate and 20g of butter over it.

Tea plates by Midwinter – Queensbury from the 1970s.

 

Victorian Apple Cake

I have been doing some research into cooking in Victorian England and came across this recipe, which is based loosely on an apple pudding in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management  published in 1861.

Eating apples are used in this recipes rather than tart cooking apples.

Although not a Polish Apple Cake, I think it would go down very well if served with a cup of tea in Poland.

  • Sunflower oil  is used and this would not have been available to the Victorians.
  • Work on obtaining oils from cottonseed was started in the late 19th century in the USA.
  • Hardened vegetable oils were available from the early 20th century.
  • Vegetable oils became popular for cooking in the mid-20th century.

Ingredients

  • 4 eating apples – peeled & cored and cut into rough 2.5cm chunks
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 230g of plain flour
  • ½ tablespoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 125ml of sunflower oil
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Use a 22cm loose bottom tin with a cake liner – (like a huge bun case)
  • Mix the apples, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl
  • Leave whilst you prepare the cake mixture
  • *
  • In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt
  • In another bowl whisk the oil, sugar, vanilla extract and the eggs until they are thoroughly mixed
  • Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix thoroughly
  • Place half the cake batter into the cooking tin
  • Place half the apple mix and juices on top of the cake batter
  • Cover with the rest of the cake batter
  • Place the rest of the apple mixture evenly over the surface of the cake
  • Bake for 55 – 60 minutes – cover and maybe another another 10 minutes if not done
  • Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.

21st century Cake Stand is Crazy Daisy by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion

Meringue Cake with Rhubarb

Tort Bezowy is a meringue cake.

Meringues are popular in Poland and often made because lots of other dishes contain many egg yolks so there are egg whites needed to be used rather than wasted.

A little tip – freeze two egg whites at a time in a little container – then you have them ready for use later – bring them back to room temperature first.

The meringue that is used here has the addition of potato or cornflour and a little vinegar which gives a soft marshmallow centre to the meringue.

This style of meringue dish was named in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pawlowa (Pavlova) after her tour of Australia in 1926.

It is made up of 3 parts

  • 1 Pavlova style meringue
  • 2 Budyń (Custard)
  • 3 Rhubarb compote

Pavlova style meringue

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of potato flour or cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Use the loose base of a baking tin 25cm in diameter.
  • Lightly grease the circle.
  • Cut a 25cm circle of greaseproof and stick it on the metal circle.
  • Place the circle on a large baking tray – one without sides is best.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the potato or corn flour, the vinegar and vanilla essence.
  • Using up to ½ of the mixture cover the circle on the tin.
  • Using the rest of the meringue put spoonfuls around the edge.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and leave to cool completely before filling.

Budyń  (Custard) 

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 400ml of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Put 250ml of the milk, the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, stirring all the time.
  • Bring to the boil and then take off the heat.
  • Blend together the rest of the milk (150ml), the egg yolks and the potato or corn starch.
  • Add some of the boiled mixture and stir well.
  • Add this to the rest of the boiled mixture and stir well.
  • Put the pan back on the heat and gently bring back to boiling point and keep stirring.
  • Keep on the heat  – stirring for 1 minute.
  • Pour into a glass or china dish and cover with a circle of grease-proof paper.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.

Rhubarb Compote

Ingredients

  • 250g fresh rhubarb*
  • 75g granulated sugar

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C
  • Cut the rhubarb into 4cm chunks.
  • Put the cut rhubarb into a small roasting dish.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the top.
  • Cover with a piece of foil.
  • Place in the oven for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to go cold before using.

*You might want to roast more rhubarb for other uses and just use some for this dish.

Assembling the Pavlova

All three parts must be cold.

  • Place the meringue nest on a large serving plate or stand.
  • Using a tablespoon – pile the budyń (custard) into the centre.
  • Arrange the rhubarb chunks and some of the syrup over the custard.

Lead Crystal cake stand  – Tortenplatte – Venus  by Nachtmann(Germany).

Plates – Lavender by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

Torcik – with Strawberries

There are loads of strawberries in the garden and as I have previously made a torcik with alpine strawberries  – I thought I would make a slightly different version using strawberries.

This torcik has a sponge finger rather than a biscuit base and the lemony curd cheese layer has more butter and egg yolks but the egg whites are omitted.

There does not seem to be an exact English translation for Torcik – the terms icebox cake or no bake cake convey some of the ideas.

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

When making a torcik like this you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next or you will get mixing of the layers.

  1. Sponge Finger base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lemon jelly (this is a richer mixture than in the alpine strawberry  torcik)
  3. Strawberries in blackcurrant jelly

I have had super results using the following brand of  real fruit juice Polish jellies.

 

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 packet of light coloured jelly (lemon)
  • 1 packet of dark coloured jelly (blackcurrant)
  • *
  • Sponge finger biscuits – around a packet
  • *
  • Lots of sliced strawberries – enough to cover the surface of the torcik

Method

  • Use a 25cm in diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Arrange the sponge fingers over the base of the tin – breaking some up so the whole base is covered.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lemon jelly in 125ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Gently mix in the cool lemon jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for 3 hours at least.
  • *
  • Mix up the blackcurrant jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Prepare the strawberries, remove any stalks and leaves and cut them into slices.
  • Arrange the strawberries on top of the lemon layer.
  • Gently put the blackcurrant jelly over the strawberries – use one spoon to pour the jelly over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.

 

 

Tea plate – Royal Doulton – Counterpoint – 1973 – 1987

Placek with Gooseberries

Ribes uva cripaagrest in Polish – gooseberries are related to black and red currants.

Gooseberries are the first soft fruits of the summer.  They grow well in cooler climates. These gooseberries were picked the evening before this placek was made.

This placek – flat-cake has the lovely contrast of the sweet cake against the tart fruit.

Ingredients

  • 400-450g of gooseberries
  • 250g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of yoghurt
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Grease and use one sheet of greaseproof to line two sides and base of a 32 x 22cm baking tin.
  • Top and tail the gooseberries.
  • Cream the butter and sugar
  • Add the eggs one by one and continue creaming.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Gently mix in the flour.
  • Add yoghurt to make a soft dough.
  • Lightly press the dough into the baking tin.
  • Scatter the gooseberries on top.
  • Bake for 45 – 50 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Torcik – with Alpine Strawberries

Five years of blogging today!

I know I said this last year but I still cannot believe it!  I posted my first post five years ago today – 4 July 2015.  Time has gone so quickly but there is still much more to write about.  

This will be post number 280 and there have been visitors from more than 130 countries.

Suddenly in the garden there were loads of alpine strawberries – time to use them in a recipe!

I had seen lots of cakes in Poland with a layer of fruits and jelly on top and decided now was the time to start trying some out.

Torcik – this is a word that I have just learnt.

There does not seem to be an exact English translation!

I have seen the terms icebox cake or no bake cake, which convey some of the ideas.

  • Tort is a layer cake, a gateaux and the -cik  ending usually denotes a diminutive – something small.
  • A torcik is a dessert type cake which is not baked.
  • A torcik can be assembled cold from previously baked parts such as meringue circles, crushed biscuits or sponge fingers.
  • It usually has a mousse or custard layer  or one which has been set with gelatine.
  • Curd cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese is often used.
  • In Poland this would not be called a sernik  – a cheesecake as it is not baked.
  • *
  • Many recipes use gelatine or bought flavoured jellies.
  • Polish jellies come in the form of powdered granules.
  • English jellies come in a concentrated jelly block.
  • I have had super results using the following brand of  real fruit juice Polish jellies.

 

 

  • I intend to try out some more recipes out using English style jellies.
  • If you are adapting recipes between using gelatine and using bought jellies – you need to adjust the sugar content.
  • *
  • I think a Charlotte Russe could be described as a torcik.
  • It was invented up by the French chef, – Marie Antione Carême(1784-1833) who was working for the Russian Tsar, Alexander I.
  • It is not layered but has many of the same element.

When making a torcik you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next  – my first attempt was a disaster in looks!

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

  1. Biscuit base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lemon jelly
  3. Alpine strawberries in blackcurrant jelly

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 packet of light coloured jelly (lemon)
  • 1 packet of dark coloured jelly (blackcurrant)
  • *
  • 125g of plain biscuits such as petit beurre, morning coffee or rich tea
  • 70g butter
  • *
  • Lots of alpine strawberries – enough to cover the surface of the torcik

Method

  • Use a 25cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Crush the biscuits into small crumbs.
  • Melt the butter, add the crumbs and mix.
  • Put the mixture into the base of the tin and press it down firmly.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lemon jelly in 125ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yokes, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Fold the whites into the mixture.
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • *
  • Mix up the blackcurrant jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Prepare the alpine strawberries – removing any stalks and leaves.
  • Arrange the alpine strawberries on top of the lemon layer.
  • Gently put the blackcurrant jelly over the alpine strawberries – use one spoon to pour this over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.

Tea plates – Queensbury by Midwinter from the 1970s

 

 

Caraway Seed Cake 2

I wrote a post on Caraway Seed Cake in March 2018 and in doing so found that although caraway is such a popular herb/spice in Poland and used in breads, meat & vegetable dishes, it is quite surprising that it is not used  in cakes.

I looked in all my recipe books and did not find any use of caraway in Polish cakes.

Caraway – Image from Wikapedia

 

Caraway seed cake seem to be a quintessential British cake and recently whilst  doing some research into Victorian cooking in the north of England I came across this delicious version.

As I live a short walk away from a house that Charlotte Brontë used to visit, I was very interested to find that seed cake is mentioned in her novel Jane Eyre (1847)

“And then Miss Temple invited Jane and her new friend Helen into her parlour for tea and I began to warm up. The kindly teacher unwrapped before their eager eyes a parcel containing ‘a good-sized seed-cake’.

‘I meant to give each of you some of this to take with you,’ said she, ‘but as there is so little toast, you must have it now,’ and she proceeded to cut slices with a generous hand.

We feasted that evening as on nectar and ambrosia; and not the least delight of the entertainment was the smile of gratification with which our hostess regarded us, as we satisfied our famished appetites on the delicate fare she liberally supplied.”

This recipe has been adapted from –

Mrs Somerville’s Cookery and Domestic Economy, published in 1862 and found in  – The Victorian Kitchen by Jennifer Davies BBC 1989 TV Series.

The original recipe used 10 eggs! – here the ingredients have been adjusted to 5 eggs.

How large the bowl must have been & how hard the whisking of the whites without an electric whisk.

Ingredients

  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 5 eggs separated

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 180°C.

  • Use a loose bottomed cake tin – 24cm in diameter.
  • Grease the tin and line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, cornflour, ground almonds & caraway seeds.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add the yolks, one at a time creaming the mixture on each addition.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
  • Whisk the egg whites till firm and stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth over the top.
  • Bake for 60 minutes, check after 50 minutes and cover with grease-proof paper if necessary – to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

 

Caraway Seeds are thought to aid digestion – so this is a good cake to have at the end of a meal.

Royal Albert – Primulette tea set from the 1950s.

Lead Crystal cake stand  – Tortenplatte – Venus  by Nachtmann(Germany).

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