Apricot Placek

This is a variation on Prune placek (flat cake) which I posted recently, this time using dried apricots instead of prunes.

There is a base of short crust type pastry, a layer of softened apricots and a cake topping which contains oats and sesame seeds.

Ingredients

Base

175g plain flour

125g butter or margarine

50g caster sugar

Filling

225g soft dried apricots

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of cornflour

Topping

125g butter or margarine

75g caster sugar

1 tablespoon of honey

125g soft dried apricots

125g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

125g rolled oats

50g sesame seeds.

Method

Base

Grease and line a rectangular 20 x 27cm tin.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Rub the butter into the flour to made breadcrumbs.

Mix in the caster sugar.

Bring the mixture together to make a dough.

Press the dough into the tin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake the base for around 25 minutes until it is golden on top.

Leave till it is cold.

Filling

Chop the apricots into small pieces.

Put the apricot and sugar into a small pan and cover them with water

Simmer the apricots, sugar and water  for 10 minutes until you have a soft pulp – take care not to boil the mixture dry – add more water if needed.

Mix the cornflour with some water to form a paste and add this to the mixture and stir until it thickens.

Remove from the heat and leave it till it is cooled completely.

 

Spread the filling on top of the pastry base.

 

Note

I will chop the apricots into smaller pieces next time.

Topping

In a pan gently melt the butter, sugar and honey.

Leave to cool slighty.

Chop the apricots into small pieces.

Add the apricots to the butter mixture and mix .

In a bowl mix the flour, bi-carbonate of soda, oats and sesame seeds.

Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well in.

Spread this mixture over the apricot filling.

Sprinkle the reserved sesame seeds over the top.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden.

 

 

 

 

Cut into squares or rectangles to serve.

 

 

 

 

Tea plates are Bramble Rose by Duchess from the 1960s.

 

Prune Placek

This recipe was given to me by one of my cousins (British born like me) who lives in Wembley.

Although this is not a traditional Polish recipe it does reminds me of a Polish placek (flat cake) and contains prunes which are very popular and used in many recipes in Poland.

There is a base of  easy to make shortcrust type pastry, a layer of softened prunes and a cake topping which contains oats and sesame seeds.

Muscovado sugar is used – this is definitely not a Polish sugar as it is produced in the process of refining sugar cane whilst in Poland sugar is made from sugar beet.

Note

You can make the filling ahead of when  you need it as it has to be cold.  I often make the base and the filling in the evening and then finish the placek the next day.

Ingredients

Base

175g plain flour

125g butter or margarine

50g caster sugar

Filling

225g no-need-to-soak prunes

1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon of cornflour

Water

Topping

120g butter or margarine

60g caster sugar

1 tabelspoon of honey

125g no-need-to-soak prunes

100g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

100g rolled oats

50g sesame seeds (keeping  back 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on the top)

Method

Base

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Grease and line a rectangular 20 x 27cm tin.

Rub the butter into the flour to made breadcrumbs.

Mix in the caster sugar.

Bring the mixture together to make a dough.

Press the dough into the tin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake the base for around 25 minutes until it is golden on top.

Leave till it is cold.

Filling

Cover the prunes with water in a small pan and add the sugar.

Simmer the prunes, sugar and water  for 10 minutes until you have a soft pulp – take care not to boil the mixture dry – add more water if needed.

Mix the cornflour with some water to form a paste and add this to the mixture and stir until it thickens.

Remove from the heat and leave it till it is cooled completely.

Spread the filling on top of the pastry base.

Topping

In a pan gently melt the butter, sugar and honey.

Leave to cool slighty.

Chop the prunes into small pieces.

Add the prunes to the butter mixture and mix .

In a bowl mix the flour, bi-carbonate of soda, oats and sesame seeds.

Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well in.

Spread this mixture over the prune filling.

Sprinkle the reserved sesame seeds over the top.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden.

Cut into squares or rectangles to serve.

Variations

Other dried fruits can be used for the filling  – such as apricots, dates or figs.

 

 

The serving cake plate is a recent purchase from Leeds second hand market.

The design is Field Fare by James Cooper for Washington Pottery, Hanley, Staffordshire from around the 1950s.

The cups and saucers are another very recent purchase from a local car boot sale.

They are bone china by Colclough, pattern number 8266, from I think the 1970s.

The stoneware tea plate is Blue Mist, Burleigh Ware by Burges and Leigh Ltd  from the 1930s.

 

Pasztet – Pâté

Most Polish households have their own recipe for  pasztet.

Pasztet translates as pâté and is made with liver and other meats,  both cooked and uncooked, often with smoked bacon.  Left over cooked meats can be used.

Pasztet is a baked pâté – more a terrine & usually the sort of pâté you slice rather than spread. (A sort of liver based meat loaf).

 

 

Many recipes use rabbit but I have not included this as it is not as readily available but  I hope try this in the future.

Pork shoulder is good to use and this can be casseroled first in a chicken or vegetable stock or left over from a roast.

Cooked chicken can be roasted or poached once again in a chicken or vegetable stock.

It is good if you have a mincer to mince the meat, however I do not have one and have used a stick blender to blend the liver and a sharp knife to finely chop the cooked meat and bacon.

Pasztet is often cooked in a  loaf tin – but I thought my quantities looked too large for my tin and have used a rectangular Pyrex dish – 19 x 24 x 8cm.

The cooking times quoted are approximate  – it will depend on the amount of mixture and the depth in the dish.

Recipe 1

Country Style Pasztet

The original recipe used finely chopped shoulder pork – I used minced outdoor breed pork.

I used smoked streaky bacon as Polish bacon tends to be fatter than English bacon and this is the nearest.

The amounts of meats does not have to be exact.

Ingredients

500g minced pork

350 streaky bacon (rind removed)

350 – 450g of chicken livers

3 eggs

3 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs

2 cloves of garlic  – chopped fine

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

Salt – maybe a little but often the bacon is salty enough

Pepper

Butter for greasing the dish.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Chop the bacon into small squares.

Blend the chicken livers using a small blender or stick blender.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

 

 

Butter the dish well.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth down the top.

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 70 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

 

Decorated here with fresh bay leaves – you can use parsley or similar.

Recipe 2

Chicken Pasztet

Any poultry can be used here – this is good way to use up roast turkey – you can even freeze the cooked turkey meat for a pasztet in the future.

Ingredients

450g chicken livers

3 onions

6 tablespoons of butter

600 – 700g of cooked chicken meat (I used breast meat as that is what I had – but thigh meat  would or a mixture is also good)

Dilute vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

Salt and pepper

Method

Slice the onions and fry them till soften in the butter.

Add the chicken livers and cook them through.

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Leave to cool completely.

Blend the liver and onions – I used a stick blender.

Place the cooked chicken in a pan and cover with dilute vegetable stock and simmer gently , stirring often.

You want the meat to be soft and falling apart and the liquid to have been absorbed.

Leave to cool completely.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Chop the meat as finely as possible.

 

 

Mix the meat and liver together.

Add the eggs, Italian herbs & sweet paprika.

Add salt and pepper.

Butter the dish well.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth down the top.

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 1 hour.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

Served on a dish – Made in England by H & K Tunstall

Recipe 3

Pork Pasztet

600 – 700g cooked pork (from a casserole or roast)

Dilute vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder)

250g smoked bacon (rind removed)

250g pork, veal or chicken livers

1 large onion

4 tablespoons of butter & extra for greasing the dish.

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs & extra for the baking dish and top

250ml of milk

2 teaspoons of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

Salt & Pepper

Method

Place the cooked pork in a pan and cover with dilute vegetable stock and simmer gently, stirring often.

Chop the bacon into small squares and add to the pork and simmer for another 20 minutes.

You want the meat to be soft and falling apart and the liquid to have been absorbed.

Leave to cool completely.

Chop the meat as finely as possible.

Slice the onion and fry it till softened in the butter.

Add the liver and cook it through.

Sprinkle with salt.

Leave to cool completely.

Blend the liver and onion –  I used a stick blender.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

In a large bowl throughly mix all the ingredients together.

Butter the dish and sprinkle with dried breadcrumbs.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth the top with a spoon.

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 80 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

 

 

 

 

 

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

Served on a dish by Portmeirion – Dawn Chorus – designed by Sophie Conran in the 21st century.

Lovely Liver!

For many people  – liver is love it or loath it.

I think certainly for me and most Poles it is love it!

The Polish for liver is wątroba – which means “waste maker” – as the liver is the organ in the body where substances are broken down.

In Poland the most sought after livers  are calves liver & rabbit liver.

My aunty in Białystok- cooked some rabbit liver for me when I  was there last – I thought it was utterly delicious  –  but as far as I am aware it is not readily available to buy in England.

I  see calves liver for sale more and more here in England and I  buy this whenever I can.

My mother always cooked pigs’ liver, never ox liver.

I usually cook lambs liver if I cannot get calves liver.

I think liver is best lightly cooked, even slightly pinky,  it becomes hard and tough if over cooked.

There is a restaurant in Krakow called Dom Polonii ( House of the Poles) just off  Rynek Główny (Main Square) it serves very traditional dishes.

Rynek Główny (Main Square)

 

I like to eat there very much and can never make up my mind which dish I want the most. Their fried liver is super and I will have that at least once when I visit Kraków.

Liver is the main ingredient of  pâtés and similar dishes which are very popular in Poland –  I will look at these in future posts.

Cooking Liver

These recipes are all  variations on a simple theme.

I use calves or lamb’s liver for these recipes .

Preparing the liver

Depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher,  you might have to remove some veins or membranes.

Slice the liver into thin equal sized slices.

Dip each piece into a mixture of plain flour and ground black pepper.

 Simple Style Liver

Lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices)

 

 

 

 

Liver with Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the simple style but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Return to the heat  and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

Liver with Onions 1

In my old Polish cookery book  (my bible in many respects) this simple recipe (without the herbs) is called  …. po angielskiu  which means  …. English style!

Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

Fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden.

In a separate pan lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add the onions to the fried liver and mix together and serve.

 

Liver with Onions 2

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

In a pan, fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden. (You can fry a little longer to slightly char or caramelise them if you like)

In a separate pan, lightly fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

This will give a tasty sauce with the liver.

Place the fried onions on top and serve.

Liver with Mushrooms

Thinly slice mushrooms around 100g of button mushrooms

Fry them gently in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil.

Add the mushrooms to the fried liver as in the simple style above and mix together.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -4  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

Liver with Mushrooms & Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the Liver with Mushrooms but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Heat up slowly and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

 

Served here on Royal Doulton – Carnation, 1982-1998

Serving suggestions

Sprinkle liberally  with chopped parsley.

All of the above go well with boiled potatoes, creamy mashed potatoes, boiled rice, noodles or pasta such as tagliatelle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway Yeast Buns

Whilst doing some research on caraway,  I found that in 2011, Finland  produced over 25% of the worlds caraway.

So I thought why not a recipe from Finland!

This is a based on a recipe for pulla –  in Poland they would be called  bułeczki  – they are yeast buns and in Finland they are served with coffee.

These buns  are originally flavoured with crushed cardamon seeds – I have adapted this for caraway.

In Poland caraway is often added to rye bread but not usually added to wheat flour buns.

Ingredients

500g plain flour

50g butter

80g of granulated sugar

300ml tepid milk

1 teaspoon of dried yeast

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoonful of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon of salt

1 egg white, beaten, for glazing (does not burn as easily as whole egg).

Optional

Crushed sugar cubes.

Method

In a small dish start the yeast off with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until it is bubbling.

Rub the butter into the flour.

Add the salt, caraway seeds, sugar, yeast mixture, milk and egg.

Mix thouroughly with a wooden spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dough with clingfilm or a cloth and leave to rise.

I left mine over night in a cool cellar and then followed by a few hours in the morning in a warmer kitchen.

Grease 2 baking sheets.

Take the dough out of the bowl – a special dough scraper is very good for this.

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Divide the dough into 12 pieces  – a dough cutter is most useful for this  and shape each one into a ball using floured hands – do not over work the dough or add flour – keep the mix as soft as possible.

Place the balls on the sheets – leaving room for expansion.

Cover and leave to rise.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C

Brush the top of each bun with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the crushed sugar if desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden – brown.

 

Getting ready for morning coffee

 

 

Enamelled coffee pot by the Cathrineholm ironworks in Norway  –  Lotus – from the 1960s,

Coffee cups and saucers by Elizabethan  – Carnaby – from the 1970s

The buns are on a hand-decorated  cake stand made by Fairmont & Main who were established in Huddersfield in 1994.

The pattern is Carnival and this is a recent birthday present from one of my friends.

Note

As with all yeast buns these will go stale quickly – if I have any left – I cut them in half and pack into bags and freeze them.

On de-frosting I toast them and serve with butter.

Drożdżówka – Yeast Cake

The Polish word for yeast is drożdże and drożdżówka is any sweet cake or bun made using yeast.

Often the cake is a large flat cake ( placek) made in a large roasting tin.

This yeast cake is made with plain flour not strong flour and the mixture is mixed with a wooden spoon to form a soft mixture and is not kneaded.

My late father has two cousins living in Białystok, North East Poland, they are both wonderful cooks.

This yeast cake is based on a recipe given to me by one of these aunties.

As with any recipe made with yeast, timings are so unpredictable depending on many variables including the room temperature.

I always bake with yeast when I am at home for most of the day with other activities to do whilst waiting for the dough to rise etc.

Ingredients

Yeast Cake

400g plain flour

250ml of tepid milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

150g of raisins or sultanas

10g of fresh yeast or 5g of dried yeast

Crumble Topping

2 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Method

Mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and leave this till it starts bubbling.

In a bowl whisk together the egg  and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.

Add the oil and whisk again.

Add the milk and the raisins or sultanas and mix well.

Add the flour and mix this all together with a wooden spoon to form a very loose, soft dough.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a cloth and leave in a warm place to rise.

Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs and then stir in the sugar.

Grease and line a large roasting tin.

25cm x 34 cm or 22cm x 32cm.

Put the risen dough into the tin – use a spatula to spread it out.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top and leave to rise again.

 

 

Pre-heat the oven to  GM6 – 200°C.

Place the risen cake into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Then lower the temperature to GM5 – 190°C and bake for another 10 minutes – keeping an eye on this and cover with foil if it looks like it is burning.

You might want also want to move it down a shelf for the last 5  minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then take it out and remove from the greaeproof paper – so it does not go soggy on the base.

 

Served on Sonnet by Royal Doulton, 1971 – 1998.

As with most yeast cakes this is best eaten as soon as possible as it will soon go stale – you might need to invite round lots of friends and family!

If all is not eaten on the day of baking, I cut the cake into slices and pack into a plastic container and freeze – these are then toasted and served with butter at a later date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toasted and buttered yeast cake served on Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

Variations

The dried fruits added can be varied  and I have made this with raisins, mixed peel and 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.

 

 

 

 

Served on Counterpoint by Royal Doulton, 1973 – 1987.

Other dried fruit options can be used, such as apricots, cranberries, pears or prunes and so on,  chopping larger fruits into small pieces.

I made this with apricots, sultanas and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

 

The dried fruits add sweetness to the cake and I think the small amount of sugar works well – you can if you like add a few extra tablespoons of sugar.

 

 

 

 

Karpatka – Carpathian Mountain Cake

Karpatka – Carpathian Mountain Cake  – gets its name as the top looks like the rugged mountains and the icing sugar dusting looks like a fine covering of snow.

The Carpathian Mountains – Karpaty in Polish –  are a mountain range in an arc roughly 1,500 kilometres in central and eastern Europe; part of the range is in Southern Poland  and can be described as Alpine.

 

 

It is made with 2 layers of  choux pastry with vanilla pastry cream in between the layers and the top dusted with icing sugar.

Choux Pastry

This was invented by an Italian chef in the mid 16th century and soon became popular in France.  It gets its name from the French for cabbage as the little buns made from this pastry  looked like little cabbages.

It is made without any raising agent. It is the large water content in the dough which turns to steam in the high oven temperature which causes the pastry to rise.

I read loads of conflicting advice on how to make choux pastry. 

My first attempt came out more like a Yorkshire pudding.

After several attempts I  now have a recipe that works.

Ingredients

6 eggs

300ml of water

2 teaspoon of granulated sugar

200 g of plain flour or strong plain flour *

100g butter

pinch of salt

*Using strong flour gives a drier pastry whilst using plain flour gives a softer pastry.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM6 200°C

Grease 2 equal sized rectangular baking trays with sides or a large rectangular tin.

Put the water, pinch of salt, sugar  and the butter into a saucepan.

Heat gently so the butter melts and then slowly bring this to the boil.

 

 

Sift the flour.

Taking the pan off the heat add the flour, all in one go.

Return the pan to a gentle heat.

Using a wooden spoon blend this all  together until the dough forms a ball in the middle of the pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take the pan off the heat and put the dough into a bowl and leave till it is completely cold.

Add the eggs one by one, continually blending the mixture. You can use a wooden spoon to do this – I have found it easier to start with an electric whisk to begin with and then cahnge to a wooden spoon at the end.  You get a thick paste type mixture.

 

 

Divide the mixture between the two trays and spread it out to fill the tray – do not smooth down the top – you want to have rough peaks.

Bake for  10 minutes.

Increase the heat up GM7 and bake for another 10 minutes

Using a cake tester make holes in the top of the pastry to remove some of the steam.

Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.

The pastry should be ready now, test to see if it feels dry – if not return for a few more minutes.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Ingredients

Budyń made with 500ml of milk. (see previous post)

3 tablespoons  of granulated sugar

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

1 egg yolk

125g butter

Method

Cream together the butter, sugar and egg yolk till pale and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence and mix this in well.

Add the budyń, spoonful by spoonful, mixing it well in.

Assembling the Cake

Note

Whilst testing this recipe, I used half quantities of the choux pastry – ie just 1 tray – and cut this in half – the photographs – reflect this.

Great Cake Lifter

 

 

 

 

 

Place one piece of the baked pastry onto a serving board.

Cover the pastry with all the  pastry cream spreading it evenly  to the edges.

Place the second piece of pastry on top.

Dust the top lightly with icing sugar.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

Served on Las Palmas by Aynsley  from the 1960s.

Easier Option

Though not as authentic but easier you can just use the chilled budyń on its own as the filling.

Served here on  Greenaway by John Russell from the 1960s.