Date Slices

Mama often made these.  She used to buy dried dates in a block which was just the right amount and a lot cheaper than whole dates.  However  I have not seen these for sale for ages.

Ingredients

  • Filling
  • 225g stoned dates
  • Juice & rind of 1 lemon
  • Water – to add to juice to make 250ml
  • *
  • Crumble Mixture
  • 110g plain flour
  • 110g semolina
  • 110g butter
  • 80g granulated sugar

Method

  • Chop the dates.
  • Add water to the lemon juice to make up to 250ml of liquid.
  • In a small saucepan gently heat the dates and the rind with the lemon liquid.
  • Stir and heat until you have a soft pulp and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Grease a 21 x 26cm shallow baking tin.
  • Use a piece of grease-proof paper to line the two long sides and base  of the tin.
  • Mix the flour and the semolina.
  • Rub the butter into the flour mixture until you get breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Put half of the crumble mixture into base of the tin.
  • Pat down with a spoon.
  • Place spoonfuls of the date pulp evenly across the crumble mixture.
  • Spread the rest of the crumble mixture over the top.
  • Pat this down with a spoon.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares or fingers to serve.

Johnson Brothers Ironstone Snowflake – Green Pear – 1960 – 1979

Note

Do not store these in an airtight box or they will go soggy.  Use a mesh cover or a cotton or linen tea towel.

Biszkopciki – Little Sponge Cakes

Biszcopciki, Sponge drops or fingers, Lady Fingers and Savoiardi (Italian) are names given to little light sponge cakes often with a light sugar crust.

In many older recipes eggs are separated and then the white and yolks beaten separately with sugar and these two mixtures brought together and plain flour added.

I have gone for a slightly easier version, using a more English sponge mixture with whole eggs and self raising flour but have used an icing sugar topping which is simple but wonderful!

You can use a piping bag to make these into fingers but I have made them into little tablespoon sized drops.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g self raising flour
  • *
  • 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Whisk the eggs with the sugar until they are pale and thick.
  • Sift the flour.
  • Gently fold the flour into the whisked mixture.
  • Place tablespoonfuls of sponge mixture onto the trays, leaving them some distance apart.
  • Sift around 1 tablespoon of icing sugar over the drops.
  • Leave for 5 minutes (set a timer).
  • Sift another tablespoon of icing sugar over the drops.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and change the trays around.
  • Bake for another 3 to 5  minutes.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes then remove with a metal spatula to cool on a wire rack.

Cake plate – Dubarry by Crown Devon from the 1930s

 

Served with Strawberry soup

Royal Doulton – Carnation 1982 – 1998

 

 

Orange Biscuits

This recipe for these very crisp orange biscuits was given to me by one of my cousins (British born like me) who lives in Wembley.  They are super!

You have the flesh of 2 oranges left over – to just eat whist baking or to use in something else – maybe the cabbage & orange salad – another super recipe from the same cousin.

Ingredients

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 150g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • Grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 1 egg seperated
  • 1-1½ tablespoons of milk
  • *
  • 30g caster sugar for sprinkling

Method

  • Rub the butter into the flour to make breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in the sugar and the fine grated orange rind.
  • Add the egg yolk and milk to make a firm dough.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5- 190°C.
  • Grease several baking sheets.
  • Roll out the dough thinly.
  • Use a 7cm diameter cutter to make rounds.
  • Brush the rounds with beaten egg white.
  • Lightly sprinkle the rounds with caster sugar.
  • Place the biscuits onto the baking sheets a little apart.
  • Re-form the the dough and repeat.
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the baking sheet and  placing them on a wire rack to cool.

 

 

Coffee Set – Elizabethan – Fleure bleue from the 1970s.

Rye Scones

This recipe is a cross between an English scone and soda bread.

I used this recipe with spelt flour and it was a huge success.

I now tried it out with rye flour using equal amounts of rye to plain flour.

In Poland you might call these babeczki – little buns or bułeczki – little bread buns.

Ingredients

  • 125g rye flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 30g of demerara or granulated sugar  & 1/2 tablespoon
  • 80g of sultanas or raisins
  • 65g butter – chilled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons of yoghurt & milk to make 125ml
  • 1 egg

Method

  • Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220°C.
  • Mix the flours, baking powder and salt together.
  • Add the butter and mix in with the flour to make breadcrumbs.
  • Add the 30g of sugar.
  • Add the sultanas or raisins.
  • Lightly mix the egg into the yoghurt/milk mixture.
  • Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture.
  • With a knife work the mixture together to make a damp rough ball.
  • Turn the ball of dough on the the baking sheet.
  • Form into a flattened disc around 20cm in diameter.
  • Sprinkle with the 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Deeply score the disc into eight sections.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and firm.

They tastes delicious freshly baked with butter & the next day slightly warmed or toasted.

Served on Elizabethan Carnaby from the 1960s.

Variations

These were so delicious I made them again but instead of sultanas used –

  • 80g chopped dried apricots

 

 

 

 

Or

  • 80g dried cranberries

 

 

 

 

 

All versions are super!

 

Cinnamon Fruit Yeast Buns

These  bułeczki – little yeast buns – are based on an English recipe for hot cross buns, which are made for Good Friday.

I love the addition of a chopped eating apple and grated orange rind.

These take most of the day to make – best done on a day you are in with other things to do in between.

Ingredients

  • 330ml of milk (might need a little more)
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet of dried yeast
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • Grated rind of an orange
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 + 1/2  teaspoons of cinnamon
  • *
  • For the glaze
  • 2 tablespoons of apricot jam

Method

  • Bring the milk to the boil.
  • Add the butter and leave till hand-warm.
  • Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre, add the milk and butter and then the egg.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon.
  • Bring the mixture together with your hands to form a sticky dough.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for around 5 minutes.
  • Put the dough into an oiled bowl
  • Cover with a shower cap (very useful these!) or cloth.
  • Leave to rise until doubled in size.
  • *
  • In a bowl mix together the sultanas, mixed peel, orange rind, apple and cinnamon.
  • Add this mixture to the risen dough and knead until it is all well distributed.
  • Cover again and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  • *
  • Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof.
  • Divide the dough into 15 even pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface.
  • Arrange the balls on the baking tray with some room for expansion.
  • Cover loosely with a cloth and leave to prove – for around one hour.
  • *
  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220°C.
  • Bake for around 20 minutes until the buns are golden brown.
  • *
  • Gently heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan.
  • Brush the jam over the tops of the small buns.

Delicious on their own or buttered!

 

Spelt Scones

This recipe is a cross between an English scone and soda bread.

In Poland you might call these babeczki – little buns or bułeczki – little bread buns. Spelt flour gives this a lovely taste.

Ingredients

  • 250g spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 30g of demerara or granulated sugar  & 1/2 tablespoon
  • 80g of sultanas or raisins
  • 65g butter – chilled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons of yoghurt & milk to make 125ml of liquid
  • 1 egg

Method

  • Line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper.
  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220°C.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Add the butter and mix in with the flour to make breadcrumbs.
  • Add the 30g of sugar.
  • Add the sultanas or raisins.
  • Lightly mix the egg into the yoghurt/milk mixture.
  • Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture.
  • With a knife work the mixture together to make a damp rough ball.
  • Turn the ball of dough on the the baking sheet.
  • Form into a flattened disc around 20cm in diameter.
  • Sprinkle with the 1/2 tablespoon of the demerara sugar.
  • Deeply score the disc into eight sections.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and firm.

They tastes delicious freshly baked with butter & the next day slightly warmed or toasted.

Served here on  Ansley – Las Palmas tea plates from the 1960s and on Queen Anne tea plates.

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.

 

Rogaliki – Filled

Rogaliki – Crescent Rolls

Rogaliki means little horns and these rolls are made into a crescent shape which look like horns.

This amount of dough makes 16 rolls and you will need 2 greased baking sheets.

Many Polish yeast recipes  make a rozczyn – a leaven in the form of a batter or starter to begin with – I have liked using this method very much.

Older Polish recipes use fresh yeast.  I tend to use dried yeast and had very good results.  I like using the little measured out sealed packets of dried yeast, which are sufficient for up to 500g of flour and are equivalent to 25g of fresh yeast.

I have two earlier post:

Bułeczki – bread rolls

Here I made a bread roll version of rogaliki.

Kołaczyki  –  little wheels

Here I made a Basic sweet yeast dough – version 2.

Now this could be Basic sweet yeast dough version 3 – I keep refining the recipe and this now has to be the very  best yet!

Ingredients

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

Method

  • Mix the yeast and sugar into the hand hot milk.
  • Put the 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.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C
  • Grease two baking sheets.
  • *
  • Knead the risen dough lightly for a few minutes.
  • Divide the dough into two.
  • Roll the dough out to make a circle/oval.
  • With a knife or pizza cutter divide the dough into 8 (nearly) triangles.
  • Place a teaspoon of filling at the fat end.
  • Roll up the triangle from the fat end to get the horn shape.
  • You can curve it slightly.
  • 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 14 – 15 minutes.
  • *
  • Leave to cool slightly and then dust with icing sugar.

 

 

The tiered cake stand is by Laura Ashley & the tea plates are Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

Option

You can use half plain flour & half spelt flour – this also gives good results.

Fillings

You can use a whole range of fillings with the easiest to prepare being jam (though sometimes this is the hardest to keep in the pastry!). Traditional Poppy seed mix and sweet cheese mix as in many of my previous posts are often used.

Here are just a few new ones ….

Prune Filling

  • Make some very strong Earl Grey tea.
  • Chop up around 200g of pitted prunes.
  • Place the prunes into a bowl and cover with the warm tea.
  • Leave for a few hours to plump up the prunes.
  • Add the grated rind of a lemon.
  • Simmer the prunes gently.
  • Keep stirring & heating to drive off the any liquid – you want a thick pulp.
  • Leave to go cold completely before using.

Walnut Filling

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

 

Ground Almond Filling

  • 100g of ground almond.
  • Add the nuts to around 3 tablespoons of apricot jam.
  • Mix well together

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date Filling

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

 

….. and of course you can try many more ……

 

 

 

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.

 

Egg Cookies

Eierkoeken – Egg Cookies  – are very popular in The Netherlands  – their  recent revival  was caused  I heard by Sonja Bakker  – a celebrity cook.

Koekje  is a small cake and the origin of the word cookie.

They are sold in bakers and supermarkets in packets of  five or six and even up to ten.

They are soft little cakes rather like English sponge drops.

The mixture is a fat free sponge similar to  Polish biszkopt.

They are so easy to make, especially if you have an electric hand whisk.

This two egg recipe makes six.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 190°C.
  • Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar till they are white and fluffy.
  • Fold in the flour.
  • Place 6 circles of mixture on the baking tray.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes till golden – not much longer as they will be harder –  they need to be soft.

 

Served on Lavender plates by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands

Variation

Add the grated rind of a lemon to the egg and sugar mixture  – a subtle addition to the flavour.