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 andfrozen 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
300g plain flour
4 tablespoons of soured cream
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.
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.
Jam – I found this often escapes from the pastry – lots of care is needed.
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.
200g poppy seeds
500ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
50g ground almonds
120 ml runny honey & 1 tablespoon
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
optional 1 teaspoon of rum
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.
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.
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!
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
a little more milk might be needed
Egg white to glaze
Icing sugar to dust
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.
You can use half plain flour & half spelt flour – this also gives good results.
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 ….
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.
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
Chop 200g of dried dates.
Place in a small saucepan and cover with water – you can add a little lemon juice as well.
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
These biscuits are not at all Polish in origin – I like to think of them as a Scottish & Polish Alliance!
Cranberries & Lingonberries
Cranberries and lingonberries grow wild in acidic bogs around many forests in Poland and especially in the countryside where my father lived, in what was North East Poland before the war.
Cranberries & Lingonberries belong to the genus Vaccinium and the plants are small, low growing, evergreen shrubs.
Cranberries in central and northern Europe are Vaccinium oxycoccos , whilst Vaccinium microcarpum or Vaccinium macrocarpon are to be found in the USA.
Lingonberries are Vaccinium vitis-idaea .
The berries of the cranberry are larger and oval.
The berries of the lingonberry are round and much smaller than the cranberry, about a third or quarter of the size.
Image of lingonberries taken from Wikipedia
The Polish for cranberry is żurawina, the word comes from żuraw which means a crane – so the same as the English word, as parts of the plant reminded people of the bird.
The Polish for lingonberry is borówka or borowina, both these names contain the part bor which means (from) the forest.
1 -There are dozens of different names in English for lingonberry which in fact comes from the Swedish name.
2- The commercially grown dried cranberries used in this recipe were grown in the USA.
Oats (Avena sativa) – owies in Polish, are grown in Poland but for this recipe I have considered them Scottish!
Royal Scottish – Polish Alliance!
The mother of Bonnie Prince Charlie(1720-1788) was – Maria Klementyna Sobieska(1702-1735) – she was the granddaughter of the Polish King Jan III Sobieski(1629-1696) and she married James Stuart(1688-1766), The Pretender.
In March 2016, The Scotsman printed an article titled
Scotland and Poland a 500 year relationship.
Some of the facts & figures below are taken from this.
More Polish nationals now live in Scotland than any other group from outside the UK and the two countries share a rich history.
The links were forged back in the late 1400s when trade agreements were established between Aberdeen and the old Baltic seaport of Gdańsk.
Under King Stefan Batory(1533-1586), Scottish merchants became suppliers to the royal court in Kraków and grain and timber from Poland was traded with Scotland.
Many Scots moved to Poland to seize new business opportunities and buried in St John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw is Alexander Chalmers (written as Czamer) , from Dyce near Aberdeen, a judge and four times mayor of Warsaw between 1691 and 1703.
There are many surnames in Poland which are Scottish in origin such as: Machlejd(MacLeod), Makolroys(MacElroy) and Szynklers(Sinclaire).
Around 38,000 Polish soldiers were stationed in Scotland after the fall of Poland in WW2 and many of those who were unable to return to their homeland after the end of the war stayed and it is estimated that around 2,500 Polish-Scottish marriages took place around this period.
There was a wave of immigration in the 1980s with the declaration of Martial Law in Poland and then again after 2004 when Poland joined the European Union.
One of the most popular brands of tea sold in Poland is Yellow label which was created by Sir Thomas Lipton( 1848-1931) who was from Glasgow, Scotland.
Since 1995 Krakòw has been twinned with Edinburgh.
100g butter or block margarine
100g granulated sugar
5ml of golden syrup
5ml of boiling water
100g of self raising flour
100g of rolled oats
50g of dried cranberries
Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
Grease at least 2 baking trays – (you will have to take the biscuits off when they are cooked and re-grease these tins.)
Place the butter or margarine in a pan with the granulated sugar and heat slowly so that the butter is melted.
Add the teaspoon of golden syrup and then the teaspoon of boiling water and mix well together.
Take the pan off the heat, add the flour and oats and mix this together.
Then mix in the cranberries.
Using your hands, make small balls and place them on the trays, leaving space around them as they will spread.
Place in the oven and bake for around 8 – 10 minutes, watch them carefully as they suddenly seem to catch & burn.
I often look at them half way through and flatten them with a spatula.
Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool a little before you use a spatula to take them of the trays and leave them to fully cool on a wire cooling rack.
Plate is by Royal Grafton – no pattern name – made in England
These cookies were made for me by my aunt on my visit to America, many years ago.
She said that she often made these for Christmas. I have adjusted the recipe to weights rather than cups as I find that easier. Also below I have the ingredients for just half the original amount which will make around 12 largish cookies … so you can try them out .
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 tablespoon of water
130g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
120g chopped pecans (or you can use walnuts)
Icing sugar for finishing.
Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160ºC
Grease 2 baking sheets.
Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla essence and water together.
Add the flour and the salt.
Stir in the chopped pecans.
Take amounts of the mixture larger than a walnut and press this together in your hands – it will stick together easily – shape it into a crescent.
Place them on a greased baking sheet.
Bake for around 25 minutes.
Let them cool for a few minutes and then dredge or roll them in icing sugar.
Served on a tea plate by Royal Grafton – Woodside – 1950s
Whilst I have been writing this post I mentioned it in an email to my cousin who wrote
“Do you know we still use that recipe particularly at Christmas but I can eat them any time. I like them as crescents but also as thumbprint style with a dab of perhaps raspberry, strawberry or apricot preserves–and then powdered sugar sifted on top.”
“As you know, the recipe calls for butter and my feeling is, anything is better with butter! My best friend gave me a little kitchen plaque that says, “I believe in the unparalleled power of butter!”
So I tried these out using raspberry jam – delicious!
Kołaczyki means little wheels from the word koła which means wheels.
In a previous post – Bułeczki – Sweet Yeast Buns– I gave a recipe for basic sweet yeastdough – since then I have tried out a slightly different recipe – nearly the same ingredients but a slightly different method – and I think these turned out to be the best yeast buns I have ever made – so this is – Basic sweet yeast dough version two.
A few reminders when using yeast in baking
Learn to be patient – you cannot control the timings exactly with yeast, it depends on the temperature of the room and the flour used and other variables.
Do yeast baking on a day you are planning to be in & have other things to do, but ones you can break off from when needed.
Heat the milk so it is at body temperature – use the finger test – too hot and you will kill the yeast – too cold is okay – it will just take longer.
An egg glaze often burns too quickly – I have found an egg white or egg white & water glaze gives a better result.
Older Polish recipes use fresh yeast. I have used dried yeast and have had very good results. (I have not tried using easy bake yeast for this recipe).
Basic Sweet Yeast Dough Version 2
Leaven – Starter
100g plain flour
30g fresh yeast or 15-20g dried yeast
Rest of ingredients
3 egg yolks
50g melted butter or block margarine
400g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon
2-3 drops of vanilla essence
Save 1 egg white for use as a wash on the buns.
Warm the milk slightly – so it is just warm to the touch – and add the yeast and mix together.
Put the flour in to a bowl and add the milk and yeast mix it all together and leave it covered until it is double in size.
Melt the butter and leave it to cool.
Whisk the yolks and sugar until they are pale and fluffy.
Grease 2 baking sheets – You should get around 15 buns. – invite people round!
Into a large bowl put: the flour and the salt, the yeast starter, the yolk mixture, the zest of a lemon, the vanilla essence and the milk.
Mix it all together so that you get a soft dough that comes away from the side of the bowl – you do not have to knead it.
Then work in the melted butter (this is the hardest part) until it is all incorporated and you have a uniform shiny dough.
Cover the dough with a cloth and leave this to rise until it is double in size.
Onto a floured surface place the dough and form it into a rectangle and then roll this out until it is around 2cm thick.
Using a 8cm diameter cutter cut out circles of dough and place them on the greased baking sheets, leaving room for the dough to rise.
Gather together the left over dough and repeat the process.
Cover the trays and leave the circles to rise and double in size.
Pre heat the oven to GM5 – 190ºC
Use a clean napkin or tea towel and cover the base of a tumbler.
Use the covered tumbler and press down on the centre of each circle to form an indentation into which you will put a filling.