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.

 

 

Kapuśniak- Hunter’s Style

I am continuing on the theme of  the Polish classic kapuśniakcabbage soup made with sauerkraut.

I would call this a “posh” version – Kapuśniak myśliwskiHunter’s style  and it could  also be called po staropolsku – in an old Polish style.

Half a large jar of sauerkraut  is enough for this soup, I often freeze the other half to use at a later date.

Ingredients

  • 400g Sauerkraut
  • 200g Polish smoked sausage
  • 200g Smoked bacon
  • 1 large onion
  • 10g dried mushrooms
  • 3-4 grains of allspice
  • 4 juniper berries.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from powder or cubes)
  • oil for frying (originally pork fat/lard would have been used)

Method

  • Put the mushrooms into a little bowl and cover with boiling water.
  • Leave to reconstitute for at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove the mushrooms and  chop into small pieces.
  • Chop the sauerkraut into shorter strands.
  • Into a large pot of vegetable stock add the sauerkraut, the mushrooms and the liquor from the mushrooms.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and allow it to simmer until the sauerkraut is tender.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces and fry till nearly charred.
  • Chop the bacon into squares around 2.5cm in size.
  • Fry the bacon on both sides.
  • Chop the sausage into small pieces.
  • Fry the sausage .
  • Add the onion, bacon and sausage to the sauerkraut.
  • Add the allspice, bay and juniper.
  • Continue simmering for around 30 minutes.
  • I do not usually have to adjust the seasoning or sweetness of this soup.

To Serve

  • This soup is served with a  bowl of hot boiled potatoes topped with skwarki *and the fat poured over them or with fried charred onions.
  • You can have the potatoes on the side or add them to the soup.
  • *
  • Or for an even more olden touch serve with slices of rye bread with skwarki * and the fat poured on top.

Potatoes in a dish by J & G Meakin – unknown design name.

Soup in my late mother’s plates – 3 only left – Crown Devon Fielding – Glenwood from 1939. (Where my mother got these I do not know).

 

Plate by J & G Meakin Topic by Alan Rogers 1966 – 1979.

 

*Skwarki – very small pieces of smoked bacon, heated in a pan until all the fat has rendered out.

 

Kapuśniak made with Sauerkraut

In the first year of writing this blog,  I wrote a post – Poles love to eat cabbage and now as I am writing about soups I am going to write about a Polish classic – kapuśniakcabbage soup.

There are two types – ones made with fresh cabbage (written about in my previous post) and ones made with sauerkraut.

Now I am going to write about ones made with sauerkraut and these are certainly soups that have the sour taste loved by Poles.

As half a large jar is enough for each of the soups, I often freeze the other half of the sauerkraut to use at a later date.

 

Kapuśniak – Version 1

Ingredients

  • 400g sauerkraut
  • 200g smoked Polish sausage
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from powder or cubes)
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 1 large onion
  • Oil for frying (originally pork fat/lard would have been used)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • **
  • More sugar & lemon juice  to adjust the sourness might be needed at the end.

 

Method

  • Chop the sauerkraut into shorter strands.
  • Chop the sausage into small pieces.
  • Into a large pot of vegetable stock add the sauerkraut, sausage, peppercorns and bay leaf
  • Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and allow it to simmer until the sauerkraut is tender.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces and fry up till nearly charred.
  • Stir in the flour and heat till well browned.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of soup liquid and stir to get a thick roux.
  • Add this onion mixture to the soup, mixing it in well.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • You might want to adjust the sourness which will depend on the sauerkraut used.
  • I rarely add more lemon juice but sometimes add a bit more sugar.
  • The soup is supposed to be a little sour!

 

 

 

 

 

Served here in Royal Doulton – Burgundy  -1959 to 1981

Kapuśniak – Version 2

Ingredients

  • 400g sauerkraut
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 100g chopped smoked bacon
  • 2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • **
  • More sugar & lemon juice  to adjust the sourness might be needed at the end.

Method

  • Chop the sauerkraut into shorter strands.
  • Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces
  • Into a large pot of vegetable stock add the sauerkraut, sausage, peppercorns and bay leaf
  • Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and allow it to simmer until the sauerkraut is tender.
  • Add the caraway seeds.
  • Chop the potatoes into small to medium chunks.
  • Add the potatoes to the cooked sauerkraut and simmer gently till cooked.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • You might want to adjust the sourness which will depend on the sauerkraut used.
  • I rarely add more lemon juice but sometimes add a bit more sugar.
  • The soup is supposed to be a little sour!

 

Served here in Royal Doulton – Tapestry  -1966 to 1988

 

Kapuśniak made with Fresh Cabbage

In the first year of writing this blog,  I wrote a post – Poles love to eat cabbage and now that I am writing about soups I am going to look at  a Polish classic – kapuśniak cabbage soup.

There are two types – ones made with fresh cabbage and ones made with sauerkraut.

Here I am going to write about ones made with fresh cabbage.

Kapuśniak – Version 1

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh white  or sweetheart cabbage (a small head)
  • 100g smoked bacon
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from powder or cubes)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 or 5 peppercorns
  • 2-3 medium sized potatoes.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste
  • Flat-leafed parsley to garnish

Method

  • With a sharp knife, shred the cabbage and then chop across to get little pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Chop the bacon into small squares.
  • Put the vegetable stock into a large pan.
  • Add the cabbage, onion, bacon, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer, with a lid on, until the cabbage is nearly tender.
  • Peel and chop the potatoes into medium sized chunks.
  • Add the potatoes to the soup and gently simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Check for seasoning.
  • Stir in a handful of chopped flat leaved parsley.
  • Serve with a little chopped flat leaved parsley on top.

Served here in Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 to 1988

Note – If you want to start this in advance, make it up to adding the potatoes.

Kapuśniak – Version 2

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh white cabbage
  • A few pork ribs
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from powder or cubes)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Flat -leaved parsley to garnish

Method

  • Into a large pan put the pork ribs, peppercorns and the vegetable stock.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer gently with the lid on until the meat is tender.
  • With a sharp knife, shred the cabbage and then chop across to get small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Add the cabbage and onion to the pan and simmer till the cabbage is tender.
  • You might have top up with a little hot water.
  • Remove the pork ribs – these can be eaten later or as a snack for the cook!
  • Stir in the tomato puree.
  • Check for seasoning.
  • Serve with a little chopped flat leaved parsley on top.

Served here in Royal Doulton  – Burgundy – 1959 to 1981

Kapuśniak – Version 3

This is made as Version 2, after adding the tomato puree, stir in around 100ml of soured cream and mix well in.

Garnish with flat-leaved parsley.

 

Served here in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982  to 1998

Paszteciki – little savoury pastries

Paszteciki are little savoury pastries often served as a soup accompaniment. They are made with with a pre-cooked filling which sometimes contains meat but vegetable versions are very popular and mushroom or sauerkraut & mushroom ones are very often made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve.

They are shaped like little sausage rolls or diagonal slices cut from a large roll.

I think they are best served warm.

You can make these using many sorts of pastry doughs – the following yeast dough is one that is often used.

Yeast Dough

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour or a mixture of spelt & plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 125-150ml of milk
  • 1 egg & 1 yolk
  • 40g butter – melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg white used for glaze

Method

  • Put 50g of the flour into a bowl.
  • Add the yeast and sugar.
  • Add enough of the milk to make the mixture like double cream.
  • Leave in a warm place to bubble and froth up.
  • Place the rest of the flour into a bowl.
  • Add the salt and mix.
  • Lightly beat the whole egg  and the yolk together.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour.
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour.
  • Start to mix together using a wooden spoon.
  • Slowly add as much milk as needed.
  • Bring the dough together using your hands until it leaves the side of the bowl.
  • Knead the dough lightly until it is smooth.
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangle.
  • Slowly pour on the butter and fold over the dough.
  • Keep kneading the buttery dough until it is all incorporated.
  • Knead a little longer until you have a nice glossy ball.
  • Put the dough back into a bowl.
  • Cover with a cloth or cling film and leave to rise in a warm place.
  • ***********************
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220 °C.
  • Grease several baking trays.
  • Take the pastry and shape into a rough rectangle.
  • Roll out thinly into a large rectangle.
  • Cut the rectangle into two lengthwise so you have two long thin rectangles.
  • Place the cold filling in the centre lengthwise.
  • Fold the two long sides over the filling so the pastry just meets and is not too thick.
  • Turn the roll over so the seam is underneath.
  • Cut the roll into diagonal slices about 5cm thick.
  • Place the pieces on the baking trays.
  • Glaze the pieces with beaten egg white.
  • Leave for around 30 minutes.
  • Bake for 14-15 minutes.
  • Allow to cool a little and then remove from the tray and place on a cooling rack.

Served on Royal Worcester  – Evesham – tea plates –  a design from 1961

Fillings

A variety of  fillings can be used such as ones that you would use for pierogi – Polish filled pasta, for example mushroom or sauerkraut & mushroom or you can  use pre-cooked vegetables, meats and also include hard boiled eggs.

All fillings should be cold when used.

Below are two fillings that I made for my paszteciki.

Fresh Cabbage & Mushroom Filling

Ingredients

  • Small head of white cabbage or sweetheart cabbage.
  • 150-200g of mushrooms (I used the chestnut ones)
  • 1 large onion
  • 100g of butter
  • 2 or more hard boiled eggs
  • Salt & pepper to taste

 

Method

  • Shred and then chop the cabbage into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Chop the mushrooms into small pieces.
  • Melt the half the butter in a large deep frying pan.
  • Slowly cook the onions and the cabbage but do not brown.
  • Cover with a lid and let them simmer till they are both soft.
  • Stir occasionally – you might need to add a little hot water.
  • In another pan melt the rest of the butter and fry the mushrooms.
  • Add the mushrooms to the cabbage and onion mixture and mix well.
  • Heat gently together to remove all the excess liquid.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • Rough chop the hard boiled eggs and add them to the mixture.
  • Season to taste.

Notethis might be more filling than you need – you can always freeze what is left.

Mushroom Filling

This is a new filling for me using just fresh mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 250 -300g mushrooms(I used chestnut)
  • 1 onion
  • Around 50g  of butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons of soured cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

Method

  • Slice and chop the mushrooms into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion in butter till they are soft – do not brown.
  • Add the mushrooms and fry together.
  • Keep stirring and cook gently till the mushrooms are soft.
  • Add the soured cream and stir together.
  • Heat for a little while to remove excess liquid.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • Season to taste.

Notethis might be more filling than you need – you can always freeze what is left.

 

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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Gypsy Soup

Zupa cygańska is Gypsy soup and is so called  because it contains red peppers.  I think the smoky meats may also evoke the idea of camp fires.

Ingredients

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 red or orange peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 100g smoked bacon – chopped into small pieces
  • 200g of Polish sausage – sliced and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 grains of allspice
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • a little sunflower oil for frying
  • Chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve

Method

  • Use boiling water to skin the tomatoes and leave to cool.
  • Chop the tomatoes into quarters.
  • De-seed the peppers.
  • Chop the peppers into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion gently for a few minutes in a large frying pan.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes & peppers.
  • Fry gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the bacon & sausage and mix.
  • Cover the mixture with water and cover with a lid.
  • Cook gently for around 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the ingredients to a large saucepan.
  • Add the bay leaves, all-spice and peppercorns.
  • Add around 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer gently for around 30 minutes.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into large “cubes”.
  • Add the potatoes to the soup and cook gently until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Serve with chopped flat-leaved parsley.

Note

Do not let the potatoes disintegrate into a pulp.

 

 

Served in Royal Stafford – Blossom Time from the 1950s.

Note

If you do not have the fresh ingredients  you could use tinned tomatoes and bottled peppers.