Classic Polish Recipe Book

  • Kuchnia Polska was my first Polish cookery book.
  • The title means Polish Kitchen – or Polish Cookery.
  • It was my first Polish cookery book and my only one till many years later.
  • I think of this as my “Cookery Bible” and turn to this first when doing any research for a recipe.
  • I have rarely had any “failures” from this book.
  • *
  • First published in 1956.
  • Published by Państwowe Wydawnictwo Ekonomiczne, Warszawa. 
  • My edition is the 15th published 1971.
  • There are 775 pages plus photographs.
  • The text is in Polish.
  • 10 authors are listed – the first is Prof. dr Stanisław Berger.
  • The graphics are by Czesław Wielhorski (1911-1980).
  • Czesław Wielhorski was a “visual artist” – a graphic artist
  • Czesław Wielhorski is well known for his posters for the 1939 winter Olympics in Zakopane.
  • *
  • As well as recipes there is advice including kitchen layout, food groups and menus
  • There are many instructions from an age when pre-prepared food ingredients were not available eg – how to grind almonds. 
  • *
  • I have always loved the drawings in this book.
  • The drawing are in black and white each with one colour.
  • Cross Hatching and dots in black add texture to the illustrations
  • Below are a selection of these wonderful illustrations 

Kisiel – Apple

  • My mother never made kisiel with apples, she always used the red fruits in our garden.
  • I came across this recipe in my favourite old Polish cookbook (from 1956).
  • The recipe says to use sour apples.
  • I made it with Granny Smiths as the Bramley apples in my garden are not yet ripe.
  • I will make it again later in the autumn when they are ready.
  • A lemon is also used or a packet of citric acid crystals – these are nearly always for sale in Polish shops – quite handy for the stock cupboard.
  • This is a lovely delicate dessert.

Ingredients

  • 400g Granny Smiths apples – grated
  • 350ml & 150ml water & 60ml
  • 50 – 80g granulated sugar (depends on the apples)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 40g potato flour

Method

  • Put the grated apples in a small saucepan with 350ml of water.
  • Simmer gently, stirring with a wooden spoon and cooking until the apples are a thick pulp.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Add the juice and lemon zest.
  • Add the 150ml of water.
  • Add the sugar to taste.
  • Mix the potato flour with 4 tablespoons of water (60ml) to give a thick paste.
  • Add the potato flour mixture to the apples and stir well.
  • Put back on a gentle heat and stir well until you get a thick mass.
  • You can add a little more water if this is too thick.
  • Pour into a large glass bowl or into individual serving glass dishes.
  • Chill well before serving.

Sweet Knedle – 2

  • In some parts of Poland the dough for plum knedle is made from cold boiled potatoes.
  • Best to boil the potatoes earlier than you need them.
  • In Poland small dark plums called węgierki (Hungarian plums) are used.
  • I think that in America these are called Italian plums.
  • Use ripe plums – small ones are best.

    Ingredients 

  • 8 plums
  • *
  • 600g cold boiled potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • 120g plain flour (approx)
  • Pinch of salt
  • *
  • To serve
  • Butter
  • Dried breadcrumbs
  • Ground cinnamon
  • or
  • Soured cream
  • Icing sugar
  • Ground cinnamon 

Method

  • Make sure the potatoes are cold.
  • Mash the potatoes or use a ricer so you do not have any lumps.
  • Add the melted butter, egg, yoke and a pinch of salt.
  • Mix well together.
  • Add the flour bit by bit – you want a dough that you can handle but not too stiff.
  • *
  • Mix around 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Wash and dry the plums and remove the stalks.
  • Remove the stone but do not cut through completely.
  • Put ½ to 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture in the cavity.
  • *
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal balls.
  • Flatten each ball.
  • Put a plum in the centre of the dough.
  • Shape the dough around the plum.
  • Seal up the “seam”.
  • Fashion a ball or oval with your hands.
  • *
  • Fill a wide pan with water and a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil.
  • Drop in the knedle in batches – 3 or 4 at a time.
  • Boil for around 8-10 minutes.
  • They are ready when they float to the surface.
  • *
  • Serve with hot buttered breadcrumbs and a pinch of cinnamon
  • or
  • Serve dusted with icing sugar and soured cream and a large sprinkling of cinnamon.

Note

I have read that some people serve these as a side dishes with roast meats.

Sweet Knedle – 1

Knedle – Dumplings – With Plums

  • For me these are sweet pierogi –  but I have been assured by my aunties in Poland – who made them for me on my last visit  – that because of their shape – round balls – these are always called knedle. (This if from the German word  knödel – for dumplings).
  • The dough is just the same as for pierogi and they are also boiled in the same way but will take a bit longer to cook depending on the size of the plums.
  • In Poland small dark plums called węgierki (Hungarian plums) are used.
  • I think that in America these are called Italian plums.
  • Serve them warm, dusted with icing sugar and soured cream.

Pierogi Dough

  • Use the standard recipe for pierogi, just using 250g of flour (see below)
  • Best not to make too many as they should be served warm and do not freeze well.

Plum Filling

  • 500g fresh plums – small ones are best for the round shape.
  • Mix around 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Wash and dry the plums and remove the stalks. 
  • Remove the stone but do not cut through completely.
  • Put ½ to 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture in the cavity.
  • Roll out the dough – slightly thicker than for pierogi.
  • Cut strips of dough more than twice the size of the plum.
  • Place the filled plum on one side of the dough.
  • Fold over the other part of the dough and seal the edges well with your fingers  – take care as the added sugar produces liquid – use excess dough to give a good seal then cut away this excess dough to give a more rounded shape.
  • Drop them into boiling water.
  • Simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon into a colander.
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve with soured cream.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.
  • Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • Roll the dough out – slightly thicker than you would do for pierogi..

Kompot – Apple

Kompot translates as compote but in Poland the word has a slightly different meaning than in the French.

Rather than a dish of stewed fruit it is a refreshing drink made with fruit.

Any seasonal fruit may be used such as:

  • raspberries, strawberries, wild berries
  • gooseberries, rhubarb
  • apples, cherries, plums
  • dried fruits can also be used.
  • *
  • Spices such as cinnamon or cloves can be added.
  • Depending on the time of year kompot can be served hot or cold.
  • *
  • The usual proportion of fruit to water is –
    1 kilo of fruit : 2litres of water.
  • A little sugar may be added depending on the sweetness of the fruit.
  • *
  • I was busy this summer making fruit soups and did not make any kompot.
  • I have lots of Bramley apples from the garden so decided to use them.
  • I had forgotten how refreshing this drink can be.
  • *
  • I will do other fruit versions next summer and also a dried fruit version later.
  • In summer you can use eating apples – very little sugar or no added sugar will be necessary.

Ingredients

  • 750g of Bramley apples (or other cooking apples)
  • 1½ litres of water
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Method

  • Put the water into a large saucepan.
  • Add a small stick of cinnamon.
  • Peel and core the apples.
  • Cut the apples into 6 – 8 segments.
  • Add the apples to the pan.
  • Bring to boil and then simmer for around 5 minutes.
  • You do not want the apple to disintegrate.
  • Leave to cool slightly.
  • Add sugar spoonful by spoonful and check – you do not want too much.
  • *
  • Served here cold but can also be served warm.

Note

Leave the chunks of fruit at the bottom of the glass or you can eat them with a fork!

Pierogi with Sweet Cheese

  • Pierogi  are  little semi-circular parcels of pasta which are made with a multitude of fillings.
  • I wrote a very large post about them over 4 years ago.
  • Today I am looking at ones with a sweet filling  – in this post – sweetened twaróg – curd cheese.
  • Pierogi with sweet fillings are made in just the same way as savoury ones.
  • Circles of dough have a filling placed on them.  The dough is folded over and pinched to make a semi circle and these are boiled in slightly salted water.
  • Once boiled, sweet pierogi are dredged with icing, granulated or caster sugar and are often served with soured cream.  They are best eaten straight away.
  • I must admit that when I was younger I did not really like sweet pierogi but now I think they are utterly delicious especially when served with soured cream.

Sweet Cheese Filling

Ingredients

  • 200g curd cheese/twaróg or yoghurt cheese
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk or 1 tablespoon of soured cream
  • 1- 2 drops of vanilla essence
  • Tiny pinch of salt

Method – Filling

Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.

 

  • Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • *
  • Cut the dough into half.
  • Prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean cotton or linen tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
  • On a floured board roll out the dough a half at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
  • Cut out circles using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
  • The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
  • Around a half tablespoon of filling is put on  each circle and then they are folded over and the edges pinched together to make a good seal.
  • You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling.  Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens – even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.
  • Place the sealed pierogi on prepared tray until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
  • *
  • To cook the pierogi, use a large pan of boiling water to which you have added some salt and a drizzle of oil.
  • Drop the pierogi in one by one and allow them to boil.  I usually do about 6 to 7 at a time.
  • As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve.
  • Continue boiling batches in the same water.
  • If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get a large oven proof plate.
  • Keep the plate warm in a low oven.
  • As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the plate trying not to make them touch.
  • Keep on adding more as they cook.

To Serve

Sprinkle with icing, granulated or caster sugar and some soured cream.

Served here on Royal Doulton – Carnation –  1982-1998

 

 

Apple Soup

  • I wrote in the summer about 3 fruit soups.
  • Now that it is autumn I have made another fruit soup using Bramley apples from my garden.
  • Use sour apples to make this soup – it should not be over sweet rather it should be slightly tart.
  • Just like other soups this is served as a first course.
  • This soup should be served hot.

Ingredients

  • 700g cooking apples.
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 8 cloves
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • *
  • White bread croutons or cold cooked pasta to serve

Method

  • Put the water and spices into a large saucepan.
  • Peel and core the apples, chop into large pieces and add them to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on the pan till the apples are falling apart.
  • Remove the spices.
  • Add the sugar to the liquid and bring to the boil.
  • Leave to cool a little and purée the liquid.
  • Mix the potato flour with a little water.
  • Add this to the soup.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
  • Simmer and stir until the soup thickens.
  • Serve hot  with white bread croutons or cold cooked pasta.

 

 

 

Fruit Soups

Fruit soups are very popular in Poland especially in summer.

Many may think they seem rather strange, however once tasted, I hope, like me you will think that they are “nectar from the gods!”

Just like other soups they are served as a first course.

They are eaten – hot or warm, at room temperature or chilled. – This can vary with the time of the year and people’s preferences.

  • Many are served with a variety of soup accompaniments such as cooked pasta or croutons – either from white rolls or rye bread.  Sponge fingers or little biscuits are also often served with them.
  • They can be made from fresh (or frozen) fruit or bottled fruit and also from dried fruit.
  • Most recipes are for single single fruit versions but you can use mixed fruits depending on what is available but try to keep to just 2 or 3 fruits.
  • These soups should not be over sweet.
  • Potato flour is usually used as a thickening agent but you could substitute cornflour for this.
  • Some recipes had soured cream added, sometimes before serving.

I am going to look at 3 different summer fruit flavours in this post:

  • Rhubarb
  • Sour cherry
  • Strawberry

Later I will look at others including using dried fruits, which are more for the winter time and would usually be served warm or hot.

Rhubarb Soup

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of potato flour
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 125 ml of soured cream

Method

  • Cut the rhubarb into small chunks.
  • Put the rhubarb and spices into a large saucepan.
  • Add the water, bring to the boil then simmer till the rhubarb is falling apart.
  • Sieve to remove the pulp.
  • Add the sugar to the liquid.
  • Mix the potato flour with the soured cream.
  • Add this to the soup.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
  • Serve hot or warm with rye bread croutons or cold cooked pasta.
  • or add a few fresh strawberries or alpine strawberries to each portion.

Sour Cherry Soup

I have never seen fresh soured cherries for sale in England, so my recipe is based on using bottled soured cherries, which works very well and can be made all year round.

Ingredients

  • 500 -600g of bottled cherries
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4- 6 cloves
  • Strips of peel from 1 lemon
  • Water to make the juice amount  up to 1.5 litres
  • 1½ tablespoons of potato flour
  • *
  • I did not add any extra sugar to the bottled cherries

Method

  • Depending on the jar of cherries – you may have to stone them.
  • Put the cherries, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel into a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, with a lid on, until the cherries are very soft.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • Remove the spices and lemon peel.
  • Blend the cherries to a pulp.
  • Mix the potato flour and a little of the liquid in a small dish.
  • Add the potato flour mixture to the blended cherries.
  • Bring up to the boil gently, stirring often.
  • Simmer and stir until the soup thickens.
  • *
  • Serve hot or chilled with cold pasta.
  • *
  • I like this best hot – even on a warm day.

 

Strawberry Soup

  • This is best eaten chilled – the strawberries are not cooked.
  • If you prefer a tangier taste add the juice of a lemon at the end.

Ingredients

  • 450-500g  strawberries
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of potato flour
  • 1 litre of water
  • 250ml of soured cream

Method

  • Add the sugar to the water and bring this to the boil.
  • Mix the potato flour with a small amount of water.
  • Add this to the sugar water.
  • Heat and stir till it thickens.
  • Leave to chill.
  • Add the soured cream and mix together.
  • Remove any leaves and stalks from the strawberries.
  • Gently wash the strawberries.
  • Blend the strawberries to a pulp.
  • Stir the strawberry pulp into the chilled thickened sugar – cream mixture.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with sponge fingers or sponge drops.

 

Served in –

  • Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • Midwinter – Spanish Garden – 1966 – 1982

Pierogi with Red Fruits

  • Pierogi  are  little semicircular parcels of pasta which are made with a multitude of fillings.
  • I wrote a very large post about them over 4 years ago.
  • Pierogi with sweet fillings are made in just the same way as savoury ones.
  • Circles of dough have a filling placed on them.  The dough is folded over and pinched to make a semi circle and these are boiled in slightly salted water.
  • Once boiled, sweet pierogi are dredged with icing, granulated or caster sugar and are often served with soured cream.  They are best eaten straight away.
  • I must admit that when I was younger I did not really like sweet pierogi but now I think they are utterly delicious especially when served with soured cream.

Red Fruits

In the summer and early autumn in Poland, when all the fruits of the forests and the garden  are ripe, that is when these pierogi are at their best.  However bottled fruit is available all year round and I often make my sweet pierogi with these.

You can also use defrosted frozen fruit.

My favourite are:

  • Morello(sour) Cherries  – fresh ones are not usually available in England – I use bottled ones.
  • Whinberries (bilberries) –  these grew in Lancashire near my home and also could be bought in baskets imported from Poland.  (I think the larger American Blueberry is nowhere near as tasty.)
  • When we went to pick these I know this always made my mother think of her childhood in Poland.

Some of the other options are:

  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • *
  • Depending on the size of the fruit, you need about 3 or 4 per circle.
  • Do not add sugar to fresh fruit as this will make too much liquid and the pierogi will not seal.
  • If using bottled fruit you need to strain as much juice away as possible.
  • If using defrosted frozen fruit dab away any excess water.
  • Drench the cooked pierogi in icing sugar and serve with sour cream. The sugar contrasts with tartness of the fruit.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.

  • Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • *
  • Cut the dough into half.
  • Prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean cotton or linen tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
  • On a floured board roll out the dough a half at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
  • Cut out circles using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
  • The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
  • Depending on the fruit and size place 3 to 4 on each circle.
  • Folded them over and pinch the edges together to make a good seal.
  • You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling.  Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens – even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.
  • Place the sealed pierogi on the prepared tray until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
  • *
  • To cook the pierogi, use a large pan of boiling water to which you have added some salt and a drizzle of oil.
  • Drop the pierogi in one by one and allow them to boil.  I usually do about 6 to 7 at a time.
  • As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve.
  • Continue boiling batches in the same water.
  • If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get some oven proof plates.
  • Keep the plates warm in a low oven.
  • As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the plates, trying not to make them touch.
  • Keep on adding more as they cook.

To Serve

Sprinkle with icing, granulated or caster sugar and some soured cream.

Pierogi with Sour Cherries

Served here on La prune by Jet for Ter Steege

Pierogi with Whinberries

Served on Royal Doulton – Carnation  1982 – 1998

Poolish Rye Bread

I recently posted about a wheat bread I made using the Poolish method.

As this was such success I thought I would try out a Poolish recipe this time using rye flour.

There are lots of steps and it takes most of the day, so it is best made when you are at home with other things to do in between.

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

Ingredients – Poolish

  • 250g rye flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 15g fresh yeast (7g dried)
  • 300ml  lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Poolish

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 minutes.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave at room temperature to rise for about 4 hours.

Ingredients – Dough

  • Poolish
  • 200g rye flour
  • 100g strong flour
  • 125ml lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • *
  • Milk to brush loaves
  • Extra caraway seeds for sprinkling on loaves

Method – Dough

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Mix the flours and the salt.
  • Add the flour and salt to the Poolish  and mix.
  • You will have a soft and heavy, sticky dough.
  • Leave uncovered to rest for 5 minutes.
  • *
  • Add a little water if it feels too stiff.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • *
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Knock back the dough.
  • Roll into a ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead a couple of times.
  • Divide into two.
  • Shape each piece into a ball.
  • Cover loosely with a dry tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
  • Knead and fold and shape each ball into an oval.
  • Place the two pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • *
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf.
  • Brush lightly with milk or water.
  • Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 10 minutes.
  • Reduce to GM6 2O0°C  and continue baking for 25 minutes
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.