Semi French? Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 2

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 2 – with curd cheese – twaróg

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g butter
  • 225g twaróg – curd cheese or yoghurt cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of soured cream – maybe needed – depends on dampness of the cheese

Note as you use equal parts of the three main ingredients, you can make an amount suited to you needs – I usually go by how much yoghurt cheese I have.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220ºC
  • Grease several baking sheets.
  • You need to get the curd cheese as dry as possible, if you are using homemade then allow this to strain as long as possible.
  • Put the flour into a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and with a knife chop it up roughly.
  • Then with your finger tips rub the butter in until you have fine breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in the curd cheese and bring the dough together, adding as much soured cream as is needed.
  • When using my own yoghurt cheese I often do not need any soured cream.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and leave in a cool place for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4 and work with each quarter at a time, leaving the rest in a cool place .
  • Roll the dough out thinly
  • Cut into  circles using a 7cm cutter.
  • Add around a teaspoon of filling* see below and fold the circle into half.
  • Pinch the edges together carefully.
  • Place the pastries on the greased baking sheets.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
  • For ones with sweet fillings dust with icing sugar whilst still warm.

Fillings

You can use lots of savoury or sweet fillings – here are a few suggestions:

  • Date
  • Poppy seed mixture
  • Walnut
  • Hazelnut

All filling must be cool before using.

Date

  • Chop 200g of dried dates.
  • Place in a small saucepan and cover with water (and you can add a little lemon juice).
  • Heat gently and stir.
  • Cook until you have a soft pulp.

 

Poppy Seed Mixture

 

See instructions in an earlier post – ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 1

Walnut

  • Grind 100g of chopped walnuts.
  • Add the nuts to around 3 tablespoons of apricot jam.
  • Mix well together.

 

You can do the same with hazelnuts.

Half French?- Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 1

Ciasto  pȯłfrancuskie translates as half or semi French pastry.

Now this does not really mean anything to me!

I am going to start this post with a little introduction to two similarly named pastries frequently used in Polish cooking.

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

They are both buttery, unsweetened pastry.

French pastry is puff pastry.

Now I do not intend to write about puff pastry as it is something I am really not inclined to make as it is so time consuming and you can buy ready made version both chilled and frozen which are okay.

Maybe in several years when short of topics I might give it a go!

I am going to write about ciasto pȯłfrancuskie. I  have seen this described as rough puff pastry  – but it  is not – rough puff is slightly easier and quicker than puff pastry  but once again I am not going to write about this.

I have seen many different recipes for this half-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 1 – with soured cream

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 225g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of soured cream

Method

This dough should be left for around 12 hours in a cool place before using therefore I usually make this in the evening for the next morning.

  • Put the flour into a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and with a knife chop it up roughly.
  • Then with your finger tips rub the butter in until you have fine breadcrumbs.
  • Beat the egg and yolks together.
  • Stir in the egg and some of the soured cream.
  • Bring the dough together, adding as much soured cream as is needed to bring the dough together.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and leave covered in the bowl in a cool place for around 12 hours.
  • *** After 12 Hours ***
  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220ºC
  • Grease several baking sheets.
  • Divide the dough into 4 and work with each quarter at a time, leaving the rest in a cool place .
  • Roll the dough out thinly
  • The dough is cut into shapes and a teaspoon of filling added and the pastry sealed as appropriate.

Traditional shapes

  • Squares filled and folded into triangles and sealed
  • Triangles filled and rolled up and formed into crescents
  • Circles filled and folded over into semi-circles and sealed.

I found that the circles using a 7cm cutter were the easiest to handle and gave the best filling to to pastry ratio and am sticking to this size and shape.

 

Filling ideas

  • Jam – I found this often escapes from the pastry – lots of care  is needed.
  • Poppy Seed Mix  – * see below
  • Mincemeat – This English fruit mix would be recognised in Poland as bakalie -Balkan mix.

 

 

  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes till golden brown
  • Dust with icing sugar whilst still warm.

 

 

Poppy Seed Filling

I make this amount of  poppy seed filling and then divide it into 4 or 5 small batches and freeze them for later use.

Ingredients

  • 200g poppy seeds
  • 500ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 120 ml runny honey & 1 tablespoon
  • 25g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • optional 1 teaspoon of  rum

Method

  • Put the poppy seeds and milk into a saucepan and simmer then together for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop any sticking or burning. The aim is to cook the seeds and adsorb as much of the milk as possible. You need to watch this carefully and keep adjusting the heat to stop the mixture burning.
  • Using a fine sieve, strain the poppy seeds from the liquid – leave this for a while to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • The poppy seeds need to be crushed, I use a hand held blender for about 5 minutes which I find is the easiest way but you can use a pestle and mortar or a mincer.
  • Once crushed, place the poppy seeds back into a saucepan and add the ground almonds, the vanilla essence and the 120ml of honey and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the butter to the mixture and simmer gently for about 5 minutes and then leave this mixture to cool completely and then add the rum.
  • Whisk the 1 tablespoon of honey with the egg yolk until this is thick and creamy and then add this to the mixture.
  • Optional – add a teaspoon of rum.

 

Babka with Three Chocolates!

I was inspired by the use of 3 sorts of chocolate in a recipe I saw from Lidl to decorate a babka.

Babka is the name of a Polish cake – the word means grandmother and refers to the round dumpy shape reminiscent of an older lady wearing a long full skirt as is traditional in many Polish folk costumes.

Wooden Dolls in Polish Costumes

This marbled babka was made using a creamed sponge mixtureusing my mother’s friend’s basic recipe for a creamed sponge.

Ingredients – Cake

  • In this recipe you weigh the eggs in their shells and then use the same weights of butter, caster sugar and self raising flour.
  • Use 4 or 5 eggs
  • 2 drops of vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Grease the babka tin with melted butter using a pastry brush.
  • For this babka, 4 eggs were used. (I could have used 5 eggs for this tin).
  • Cream the butter and sugar.
  • Beat the eggs with the vanilla essence and add them gradually – mixing in thoroughly.
  • Fold in the flour.
  • Use half of the mixture and place spoonfuls in the bottom of the tin.
  • Mix the cocoa and water together.
  • Mix the cocoa mixture into the second half of the cake mixture.
  • Placed this on top of the plain mixture and flatten it off.
  • With a metal knife lightly mix the two to give a marbling effect.
  • Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning out.

Ingredients – Icing

  • 100g of dark chocolate and 60g of butter
  • 50g of milk chocolate and 30g of butter
  • Shavings of white chocolate.

Method

  • Put the dark chocolate and butter into a glass bowl.
  • Heat the bowl over hot water, stirring till it all melts together.
  • Drizzle this over the babka and leave to cool.
  • Put the milk chocolate and butter into a glass bowl.
  • Heat the bowl over hot water, stirring till it all melts together.
  • Drizzle this over the dark chocolate.
  • Scatter the white chocolate shaving over the milk chocolate icing.

 

Portmeirion plate – The Holly & The Ivy – the pattern inspired by the 17th Century English Carol – launched in 1997.

Served on tea plates by Duchess – Poppies – from the 1980s.

Pierniczki

Piernik is Polish honey spice cake – pierniczki are little honey spice cakes

My Polish friend in Leeds was in Poland in November and bought some new bombki *(Christmas Tree ornaments).  These have wycinanki – Polish paper-cut designs(folk art popular since the mid 1800s) as their inspiration.

*Bombki – Glass baubles – in the past these were often blown eggs decorated with glitter. There are also many straw decorations – angels or stars.

Glass baubles originated in Germany in the 19th century  but they were soon being made in Poland with their large glass blowing industry.  Many are made in small family run workshops, some now specialise in individual and unusual designs.

She has included these and some angels in decorating a window in a chapel in Lancashire.

 

 

She also sent me a recipe for pierniczki – made with wheat and rye flour.

I tried them out – yummy – easy to make & cut out!

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 100g runny honey
  • 300g plain flour
  • 100g rye flour
  • 130g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed spice (or 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, cloves & cardamon)
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 large eggs – beaten
  • Icing made with water or lemon juice to decorate

Method

  • Put the butter and honey into a small saucepan and heat gently to melt.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Add the beaten eggs and the butter & honey mixture.
  • Mix together to make a soft dough.
  • The dough will be slightly sticky – do not add extra flour.
  •  Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.
  • Line baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
  • Divide the dough into four.
  • Use rye flour to flour the pastry board.
  • Roll out the dough to around 4mm thickness (no less).
  • Use cutters to cut out shapes.
  • Place them on the baking sheets with a little room between.
  • Bake for 9 -11 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a baking rack.
  • *
  • These piernicki should be soft.
  • They are only semi-sweet.
  • You can have decorating them with icing – I just did a bit of drizzling.

 

 

Little Poppy Seed Cakes

Christmas is coming up and I have been thinking of making an easier version of makowiec – the Traditional Poppy seed cake.

I have posted versions for larger cakes and for little buns with the traditional poppy seed filling.

Several years ago I got an Austrian cookery book which has many similar recipes to Polish ones and I made some babeczki  or buleczki – little cakes, with a yeast pastry & poppy seed filling for Wigilia from it.

 

I thought I would have another go at these but with some changes.

The poppy seed filling I have changed quite a bit and it is easier than my traditional one. The recipe for the dough I have changed slightly and the shaping method quite a lot.

Poppy Seed Filling

Ingredients

  • 180ml of milk (full fat or semi)
  • Around 100ml of runny honey (extra may be needed)
  • 120g of poppy seeds *
  • 50g of raisins
  • Strong Earl Grey tea
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • *
  • * You can grind the poppy seeds – I used a little electric grinder.

Method

  • Make some strong Earl Grey tea.
  • Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with the hot tea and leave till they go cold.
  • Into a small saucepan put the poppy seeds and the milk.
  • Bring to the boil then lower the heat.
  • Simmer gently for around 20 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Take care not to let the mixture burn.
  • Add the honey and continue heating and stirring.
  • Drain the raisins and add them to the mixture and mix them in.
  • Keep stirring and try and drive off any liquid left.
  • Taste for sweetness – you may want to add more honey.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.
  • Add the grated lemon rind.
  • *
  • If this is too much filling – you can always freeze some.

 

Yeast Dough

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 4-5 tablespoons of milk (full fat or semi)
  • 250g of strong flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120g of butter
  • 20g of caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white for glazing (I always use just egg white now – it does not burn as easily as whole egg)

Method

  • Warm 3-4 tablespoons of the milk to hand heat.
  • Add the yeast and leave it to froth up.
  • Place the flour into a large bowl and add the salt.
  • Cut in the butter with a knife and then make breadcrumbs with your fingers.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre.
  • Add the egg yolk and the yeast mixture.
  • Use a knife at first to bring the dough together.
  • You may need some of the extra milk.
  • Use your fingers to gather all the ingredients into  a ball.
  • Knead the dough for around 5 minutes till you have a smooth dough.
  • Leave the dough to rest for at least 45 minutes – covered with a tea cloth.
  • ******
  • Grease and line several baking trays.
  • Cut the dough into 3 or 4 portions.
  • Roll the dough out thinly.
  • Use a 6cm cutter to cut out circles.
  • Place a small teaspoon of filling on half of the circles.
  • Place a second pastry circle on top.
  • Use a pastry fork to crimp the edges together making sure they are sealed.
  • Glaze with beaten egg white.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C (quite low for a yeast pastry!).
  • Bake for 12-13 minutes.
  • Dust with icing sugar whilst still warm.
  • Leave to cool.

You could drizzle with runny lemon icing instead.

Served here on Duchess – tea plates – Poppies from the 1960s.

 

Piernik with Chocolate 2

Piernik in Poland is associated with the Christmas season and would be made for Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day, it would also be made for Święty MikołajDecember 6thSt Nicholas Day. This is a day for present giving in Poland to children and I would always get a piernik shaped and decorated to look like the bishop that was St Nicholas.

I came across this recipe, which has grated dark chocolate added to the mixture and the result is excellent.  I posted it last year as Piernik with Chocolate.  Here I have added a sour cherry jam topping which makes it even better!

Ingredients

  • 250ml of runny honey
  • 220g of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons of mixed spice (or 0.5 teaspoons each of ground cardamom, cinnamon & cloves)
  • 350g of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 100g of grated dark chocolate (I used one with 74%cocoa)
  • 100g of mixed peel
  • To serve
  • Sour Cherry Jam & Icing Sugar

Method

  • Grease and line a 32 x 22 cm tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C.
  • Whisk together the honey, sugar, eggs and spices.
  • Mix the flour and the baking powder together and mix this in.
  • Stir in the grated chocolate and the mixed peel.
  • Pour the thick batter into the tinand smooth down the top.
  • Bake for 60 – 65 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • *
  • Warm 2 – 3 tablespoons of sour cherry jam to make it easier to use.
  • Remove the piernik from the tin.
  • Brush the top of the piernik thickly with the jam and leave to cool and set.
  • Dust the top with icing sugar.
  • Cut into rectangles or triangles to serve.

 

 

Piernik – Honey Spice Cake-2

Two months to Christmas and I am posting this recipe so you have time to prepare for then.

I have tried out several piernik – honey spice cake  recipes  & many of them have been dreadful!

But at last I have found one that I am happy to share – I would describe it as a sort of soft biscuit.

This is piernik staropolski (in the old Polish style) and is a recipe which takes time to make, as the mixture is left for several weeks before it is baked – (10 days is the absolute minimum). This maturing enhances the flavour of the spices.

I have been reading that some people make their dough even earlier say in September before they bake it

This piernik is baked for Święty Mikołaj – St Nicholas Day – December 6th and for  Wigilia – Christmas Eve – December 24th.

The science for this will be really interesting – I presume it is a slow fermentation that is taking place & the high honey/sugar content, low temperature & access to air prevents the dough from spoiling.

Ingredients

  • 250ml runny honey
  • 125g Trex™ **
  • 230g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs – lightly beaten
  • 550g plain flour (may need more)
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed spices or piernik mix (ground cinnamon, cloves, cardamom in equal parts)
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 70 ml of warm milk
  • 250g mixed dried fruit (raisins, peel, chopped dates and figs)

** The original recipe uses lard (pork fat) – I used Trex™ – a white solid vegetable fat.

Method

  • Put the honey, sugar and Trex in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring the mixture till all the Trex is melted and the sugar dissolved.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Mix the flour, salt & spices together.
  • Add this to the honey mixture and mix together first with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the beaten eggs to the mixture.
  • Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and add this to the dough and mix till you have a thick dough.
  • Knead this dough lightly for around 5 minutes (add more flour if the mixture is too wet).
  • Add in the dried fruits and knead them in lightly.
  • Form the dough into a ball.
  • Place the dough in a glass or ceramic bowl – not a metal one.
  • Cover with a linen or cotton cloth – tie the string around it to keep it covered.
  • Do not use cling film – as air needs to circulate.
  • You could use foil but you would need to prick in some air holes.
  • Place in a cool place (mine was put into my cool cellar) for a minimum of 10 days and up to 4 weeks.
  • I left mine for 2 weeks.
  • Ensure that the dough will not pick up any unwanted flavours such as onions or garlic by carefully choosing the place you store it.

After resting

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM2 – 150°C
  • Grease and line a 2 baking tins – 22 x 33 cm.
  • Take the ball of dough out of the bowl and cut it into two.
  • Flatten each piece lightly and make into a rough rectangular shape – can use a rolling pin.
  • Place this into the tim and with fingers push and press it into all the sides of the tin.
  • You can use the blunt end of a rolling pin.
  • Repeat for the other
  • Bake for around  55 -65 minutes – checking after 40 minutes and covering with greaseproof paper if it is starting to burn.
  • Leave the piernik to cool in the tin.
  • When it is cold, wrap it loosely in greaseproof paper and then a clean linen tea towel and leave in a cool place for 2 -3 days.

To serve

  • Cut each cake into two or three rectangles.
  • Remove the crusts – optional.
  • Dust with icing sugar or coat in chocolate melted with butter (40g butter : 100g dark chocolate).
  • You can use a thin white icing semi glaze instead of the chocolate.
  • You can store the piernik in an airtight tin – I think the chocolate coating helps to keep it longer.

Slices served on Queen Anne china tea plates.

 

 

 

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