I came across this recipe in the book my Polish friend, who lives in Leeds, bought for me in Poland this summer.
I thought it sounded interesting and I have adapted it slightly.
Piernik is a honey spice cake which has its origins in the 12th Century.
The spices used will have originaly been brought back by the Crusadors. I make up a mixture of equal parts of cinnamon, cloves and cardamon.
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 Mikołaj – December 6th – St Nicholas Day. This 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.
As it is Święty Mikołaj next week on December 6th – St Nicholas Day – I thought this was a good day to post this recipe.
The addition of chocolate to coat the piernik is more recent. Chocolate made by Wedel in Poland started in 1851.
Here the chocolate is grated or chopped finely and added to the cake mixture.
The result is delicious and I will certainly be adding this to my Wigilia (Christmas Eve) menu.
I found grating the chocolate hard work – it was easier for me to chop this amount into very small pieces, using a cleaver type knife.
250ml runny honey
230g granulated sugar
2 large eggs (or 3 medium)
1.5 teaspoons of piernik spices (cinnamon: cloves: cardamon in equal amounts so a half teaspoon of each).
350g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
100g dark chocolate – grated or finely chopped
100g chopped mixed peel
Icing Sugar to serve
Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C
Grease and line a 32cm x 22cm shallow Mermaid tin (use one sheet for the two long sides and the base).
Put the honey, eggs, sugar and the spices into a large bowl and whisk well together.
In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, chopped/grated chocolate and the mixed peel.
Gently fold the flour mixture into the honey mixture and then mix it all together.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for around 1 hour 10 minutes, check it after 40 minutes and cover if it is starting to catch.
Test with a cake tester to check it is done and then leave it in the oven for 10 minutes with the door slightly open.
Then put on a cake rack to cool.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Plates, cups & saucers are Lyndale by Royal Standard from the 1950s
Teapot is Café Culture by Maxwell Williams