Tea Soaked Fruit Cake

This cake recipe is one I came across recently and I like it because it uses tea – a drink well loved in Poland.

It is similar to a keks which is usually made in a loaf tin but I like to make this one in a round tin.

The recipe uses 8 tea bags and I think Earl Grey,  Lady Grey & Empress Grey tea bags are really good. (If you do not have tea bags then use 8 teaspoons of loose tea, but have it in a muslin bag as you do not want the tea leaves in the cake.)

I have used dried fruits consisting just of currants, raisins, sultanas & peel.

You could make it more Polish by using a bakalie mixture which also has chopped dates, figs & prunes, however I would not add nuts – or if you want to use them – add them after the overnight soaking.

Ingredients

500g mixed dried fruit

8 tea bags (Earl Grey, Lady Grey or Empress Grey)

300ml boiling water

500g self-raising flour

325g butter or block margarine

1 teaspoon mixed spice

pinch of salt

5 eggs

Method

Place the teabags in a large bowl and add the boiling water and stir to make a very strong tea.

Add the dried fruit and stir well.

Leave the fruit to soak overnight.

 

Pre-heat your oven to GM 3 ,  150°C.

Grease and line a 23cm loose bottom or a spring-form tin.

Place the flour and butter or margarine into a large bowl and use your finger tips to rub in the fat until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

In a bowl mix the sugar, salt & mixed spice thoroughly.

Add the sugar mixture to the flour & butter mixture and stir well.

Add the eggs and the soaked fruit and all the remaining liquid and stir well.

 

Pour the mixture into the baking tin and level the top.

Bake in the  oven for 1 hour 40 minutes.

Check after an hour and place a piece of foil or greaseproof  paper on the top if it is beginning to burn.

Check to see if the cake is done with a cake tester or skewer.

NoteThis cake is large and you run the risk of having it underdone in the middle – make sure it is cooked in the middle when testing.

Leave to cool in the tin.

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Served on tea plates – Greenway  Hostess – design by John Russell, 1960 – 1979.

Smaller Sized Cake

This cake is large so I thought I would have a go at making a smaller version.

There are 5 eggs in the original recipe so I  decided to do a 3 egg version.

To make it more Polish, I used a bakalie mixture which had chopped dates, figs, peel & prunes as well as the currants, raisins & sultanas.

Ingredients

300g bakalie or dried mixed fruit

5 tea bags (Earl Grey, Lady Grey or Empress Grey)

200ml boiling water

300g self-raising flour

200g butter or block margarine

1 teaspoon mixed spice

pinch of salt

3 eggs

 

Method

As above – using a 20cm tin.

Bake for around 1 hour 20 minutes – checking after 50 minutes and covering if necessary with a piece of greaseproof paper to stop the top burning.

Note

Maybe because of the different dried fruits I thought it came out drier than the large one & I served it sliced with some butter.

However I have found that if you wrap the cake in aluminium foil for a day or two – it improves – becoming  more moist.

 

Served on tea plates – La prune – by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

Sponge with Sour Cherry Jam

Wiśnie  is the Polish for sour cherries  which I have described in More Duck.

Having made sponge with sweet orange jam I thought I would try this with sour cherry jam – the one I used is from Lidl and is very good with a sharp sour taste. The taste goes really well with the  dark chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made an English style sponge for ease.

Ingredients

2 eggs

75g caster sugar

75g self raising flour

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Grease and line the base of  a round 18cm diameter  baking tin.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.

Gently fold in the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.

 

You will need around 3 to 4 tablespoons of jam.

Warm the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Sandwich the cake halves together with the jam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a dark chocolate glaze as in mazurek  using yeast dough  and again in mazurek with oranges.

 

Here served on Royal Doulton – Counterpoint  1973 – 1987.

 

 

 

Sponge with Sweet Orange Jam

This cake was inspired firstly by mazurek with oranges and also by the very British Jaffa cakes.

Jaffa cakes were first made in 1927 by McVitie & Price (Established in Edinburgh in 1830)  – little sponges with orange jelly and a chocolate topping – named after the port (now called Tel Aviv) from where the Victorians and Edwardians imported oranges).

A fat-free sponge cake is cut in half and sandwiched together with a sweet orange jam and then covered  with a chocolate glaze or icing.

I have tried out several versions – and made a fat-free sponge using  the recipe with  potato flour   this time using a round 19cm baking tin which has been greased and lined with a circle of greaseproof paper on the base and baked for 20 – 25 minutes at GM4 – 180°C

 

A quicker version is to use a more English sponge recipe ( this has slightly less volume so a smaller baking tin is used).

Ingredients

2 eggs

75g caster sugar

75g self raising flour

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Grease and line the base of  a round 18cm diameter  baking tin.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.

Gently fold in the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.

 

 

Leave to cool and cut the sponge in half

 

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Orange & Elderflower Jam from IKEA

Warm the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Sandwich the cake halves together with the jam.

 

Chocolate glaze – using the one from Mazurek – with Yeast Dough

 

 

 

Served on Bramble Rose by Duchess from the 1960s

 

The more milk chocolate icing below is the one from chocolate babka.

 

 

Served here on tea plates by Spencer Stevenson Co Ltd 1948 – 1960, design name not known.

 

Sernik Base with Peanut Butter

My mother often used this base when she made her sernik (baked cheesecake)  – it is a recipe she used in later years as the use of peanut butter is not at all traditionally Polish!

Ingredients

110g butter or block margarine

90g caster sugar

175g plain flour

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon of peanut butter (I prefer to use crunchy)

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Method

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

Add the lemon rind, egg yolk  and peanut butter and cream again.

Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon and then using your hand bring this all together to form a soft dough.

Place the dough in a fridge for several hours.

 

 

 

Pre-heat the over to GM5 – 190°C

Use a loose bottom tin (or spring-form tin)  22cm or 20 cm in diameter.

Grease the base and sides of the tin.

Press the dough onto the base of the tin.

Prick the surface of the dough with a fork.

Bake for around 15 – 20 minutes until the top is golden.

Let the base cool completely before using it.

 

 

 

 

Using The Base

The base must be thoroughly cooled before use.

The base can be stored on the tin base for later use if needed – wrapped in foil or in an airtight container.

Sernik

Make your sernik (cheesecake) mixture and pour this onto the base and bake as per your recipe.

I used around 450 – 500g of yoghurt cheese with the addition of  mixed peel as in my another cheesecake recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great cake lifter from Lakeland Plastics.

 

 

 

Cake is on a Lead Crystal cake stand

Cake forks are Crazy Daisy by Portmeirion designed by Sophie Conran in 2009.

Tea plates are Enchantment by Colclough from the mid 1950s – 1960s.

 

Hazelnut – Tort

Corylus avellana is the hazelnut, also known as  cobnut or filbert nut.  In Polish it is orzech laskowy  – which translates as nut of the forest and as its name implies hazel trees or bushes grow abundantly in Poland.

Turkey is the largest commercial producer of hazelnuts followed by Italy.

Ferrero SpA  – makers of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella use 25% of the global supply of hazelnuts per annum.

Tort is a layer cake (in England the French word gateaux is used) – the layers of cake being sandwiched together with a butter cream (Sweet whipped cream was hardly known in Poland – with soured cream being the norm).

The word tort is originally from the Latin torta – flat cake or round loaf of bread.

A tort can be round or in a block shape – it often has very decorative piping  – my decorations tend to be more simple!

A tort is often made for celebrations and is often very large – I have recipes which call for a dozen or more eggs!

The following recipe only uses 6 eggs!

This tort recipe uses hazelnuts which have been roasted and then ground.

I often buy my hazelnuts from a  dried fruit & nut stall in Leeds Kirkgate Market.  This the largest covered market in Europe and was founded in 1875 and has around 100,000 visitors per week.

On this stall you can buy : whole hazel nuts, roasted hazel nuts and ground roasted hazel nuts.

I use either roasted hazel nuts and grind them myself or roast the hazel nuts myself and then grind them.

Roasting Hazel Nuts

To roast hazelnuts put the shelled nuts on a baking tray and put them in an oven at GM 5 – 190°C for around 10 to 15 minutes – keep checking as it is easy to burn them.

Once they are done, leave them to cool and then rub off the papery skins between your fingers and discard them.

 

 

I use an electric grinder which is very useful.

 

 

 

Ingredients

6 eggs

225g  caster sugar

225g roasted & ground hazelnuts

2 sponge fingers – crushed

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C

Grease and line a 23cm x 32cm baking tray.

 

 

 

 

Mix together the ground hazelnuts and crushed sponge fingers.

 

 

 

 

Whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and fluffy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold in the nut mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the baking tray and bake for  around 20 minutes until it is golden on top.

 

 

Take out and leave it to cool on a cooling tray.

Measure the length of the cake and cut it into 3 equal pieces.

 

 

 

 

A poncz (sweet punch for moistening the cake) is used on each layer.

I used one made from 150ml of weak black tea, 45 ml of rum and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Rum Butter Cream

Ingredients

120g butter

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of rum

300g icing sugar ( approximate amount)

Method

Cream together the butter and egg yolks.

Add the rum and cream again.

Mix in the icing sugar till you have a smooth butter cream

 

 

Using a spatulas layer up the cake first with poncz on each layer and then the butter cream.

Cover the top and sides with the butter cream.

Make fancy patterns with spatulas (or you can do fancy piping if you wish).

 

 

Little spatulas for decorating with icing.

 

 

 

Tea plates are Silver Rose by Duchess from the 1950s & 1960s.

The cake slice is Water Garden by Portmeirion.

Round Tort

The same quantities and method as above can be used for two 18m diameter cake tins.

Here the poncz was made from 150ml weak black tea and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar & coffee butter cream was used.

Coffee Butter Cream

Ingredients

90g butter

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons of very strong coffee

250g of icing sugar (approximate amount)

 

 

 

Method

Cream the butter and egg yolk.

Add the coffee and cream again.

Mix in the icing sugar until you have a thick butter cream.

 

 

 

 

Use the poncz to moisten the cake & layer up and coat with the icing.

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Very useful cake lifter – from Lakeland Plastics – for moving the cake

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Another cake lifter

 

 

 

Tea set is by Spencer Stevenson Co Ltd, who manufactured in England  between 1948 and 1960.  The design name is not known.

Green Teapot is Café Culture by Maxwell Williams.

Other Cake Sizes

3 eggs with 110g of roasted hazel nuts & 110g of caster sugar for 1 – 18cm diameter cake tin.

4 eggs with 150g of roasted hazelnuts & 150g of caster sugar for 1  – 22cm diameter cake tin.

 

Courgettes – 3 Ways

Courgettes in Polish are cukini – so here is another vegetable that owes its name in Polish to Italian  – zucchini.

Courgettes belong to the cucurbitaceae family as do cucumbers which are very well loved in Poland

I have read that courgettes did not become popular in Poland until the 1970s although the larger marrow and pumpkins were often cooked and many recipes for these can be adapted for courgettes.

 

Here are 3 ways of cooking courgettes  – they all go well with grilled or roast meats such as pork or chicken.

Floured Courgettes

This is a very simple Polish way of cooking courgettes.

Ingredients

2 courgettes – sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Salt & Pepper

Sunflower oil & Butter for frying

Method

Slice the courgettes and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Put the plain flour in a dish and toss the slices of courgettes in the flour.

 

 

Fry them gently  on both sides in a mixture of sunflower oil and butter.

Place the cooked ones on some kitchen roll in a warm oven whilst you do the next batch.

 

Breaded Courgettes

Sliced rounds of courgette are coated with dried breadcrumbs – this recipe reminds me of vegetables served à la Polonaise.

Ingredients

2 Courgettes

2 beaten eggs

Plain flour

Dried Breadcrumbs

Salt & Pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Slice the courgettes and place them in a colander and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and leave them for 15 minutes.

 

 

Dry the courgettes with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.

 

 

Toss the courgettes in flour.

Dip them into the beaten egg.

Coat them with dried breadcrumbs.

 

 

Fry the slices, on both sides,  in hot sunflower oil.

 

Note

If you have any left, they are good with dips such as mayonnaise or salsa.

Buttery & Lemony Courgettes

I cannot remember where I got this recipe from but it is a method I have used for years.

Ingredients

2 courgettes – sliced

1 lemon – fine grated rind & juice

2- 3 tablespoons of butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Use a small saucepan or high sided frying pan

Put the lemon rind and juice into the pan.

Sprinkle salt & pepper on the courgette slices.

Add the courgette slices and heat gently for a few minutes and use the lid to keep in the liquid.

Add the butter and continue cooking gently.

 

 

 

Continue cooking until the slices are tender throughout and the lemon juice and butter have reduced to a buttery lemon coating.

 

Served in a dish by Alfred Meakin – Jayne – from the 1950s.

Pork Gulasz with Kohlrabi

A Polish gulasz (casserole) is often very simple and besides onions may just contain one other vegetable; however though simple they are very tasty!

This one is made with shoulder pork and kohlrabi and at the end I have given suggestions for several other similar vegetables which can be used instead.

 

Kohlrabi

 Ingredients

500g Pork shoulder

1 large or 2 small kohlrabi

2 medium onions

250ml chicken stock – can be from cube or concentrate

2 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

Salt & Black Pepper.

Oil for frying

Chopped dill or flat leafed parsley to serve

 

 

 Method

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need a lidded casserole dish.

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark  3 – 160°C

Roughly chop the onions.

Peel and chop the kohlrabi.

Cut the pork into cubes and coat the pieces in a mixture of flour, salt & ground black pepper.

In a frying pan heat the oil until it is hot and fry the pork until all the sides are sealed.

Add the chopped onions and fry them all together for a few minutes.

 

 

 

 

Place the pork and onions into the casserole dish.

Add the chopped kohlrabi and the stock and place the dish into the oven.

After 2 hours add the caraway seeds to the dish and stir.

Add more stock if you think it is evaporating too much.

You will need to cook this in the oven until the meat is tender which will be between 3 to 4 hours.

 

 

 

 

The serving dish is by Alfred Meakin with  a  lid with lovely blue cornflowers & wheat on it.  The pattern is called  Jayne and is from the 1950s.

The gulasz is here served with mashed potatoes on Carnation by Royal Doulton. 1982  – 1998

It also goes well with hefty style pasta, boiled rice or cooked buckwheat.

Tip

You can make this a day ahead and then re-heat the next day for at least one hour with extra stock if needed.

Alternatives to kohlrabi

You can use the following in place of the kohlrabi:

  • diced white turnip,
  • chopped parsnips,
  • chopped celeriac ,
  • whole radishes,
  • florets of cauliflower.