Belgian Buns

  • These would be called ciasteczka belgijskie in Polish
  • This is a  recipe that was popular in the 19th century in Belgium.
  •  The mixture of spices is slightly different than in many Polish or English recipes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 80g blanched almonds
  • 85g butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125g icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g currants
  • 40g mixed peel
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • (a little milk maybe needed)
  • *
  • 1egg yolk & 1 tablespoon of milk for egg wash

METHOD

  • Pre-heat oven to GM3 – 160°C.
  • Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Chop the almonds into 4 and keep around 36 pieces back for the tops.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  • Rub in the butter until you have breadcrumbs.
  • Mix the icing sugar and the spices together.
  • Mix the sugar mixture into the flour mixture.
  • Mix the currants, almonds, peel and lemon zest together.
  • Mix the fruits with the other ingredients.
  • Add the eggs, mixing until you have a soft dough.
  • (You might have to add a dash of milk – depending on the size of the eggs.)
  • With floured hands divide the dough into 12 equal parts.
  • Form these into balls.
  • Space these out on the baking tray and flatten them slightly.
  • Brush the tops with the egg wash.
  • Put 3 pieces of almonds on the top of each.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden.
  • Leave to cool for a while on the tray before putting them on a wire rack.

Vintage cake plate on a chrome foot.

Ciasteczka – Francuskie

    • Ciasteczka -francuskie – means little French cakes
    • This recipe originated in France in the 17th century and they were first called financiers” and later “friands”.
    • They are small cakes baked in oval moulds.
    • These moulds are bigger than madeleine moulds.
    • These moulds can still be purchased nowadays.
    • You could use small tart tins and even small bun cases.
    • Friands have become very popular in Australia and New Zealand but it is not known when this started.
    • Alpine (wild) strawberries are used in this recipe and as I have lots of these in my garden I thought I would have a go!
    • This amount makes 6.

Ingredients

  • 70g ground almonds
  • 30g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 80g alpine strawberries
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Greased the moulds.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Mix almonds, flour, salt and sugar.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan and leave to cool.
  • Whisk whites till frothy but – not as stiff as for meringues.
  • Trickle butter into the dry mix.
  • Add ½ the whites and mix lightly.
  • Add the rest of of the whites until everything is mixed thoroughly.
  • Spoon the mixture into moulds.
  • Scatter the alpine strawberries on top.
  • Bake for 16-18  minutes.
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Option

If you do not have any alpine strawberries use fresh strawberries cut into quarters or slices or use raspberries.

Chocolate Cookies

  • I was given this recipe recently and it is amazing how the icing sugar comes out crinkled.
  • They are so chocolatey 
  • Cookies would be called ciasteczka in Poland.
  • After mixing up the ingredients you have to refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • I always mix this in the evening and leave it overnight.

Ingredients

  • 30g cocoa
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 65g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 30g walnuts – chopped
  • *
  • 2 -3 tablespoons icing sugar

Method

  • Mix the cocoa and sugar together
  • Add the oil, beaten egg and vanilla essence.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Mix the flour mixture with the cocoa mixture until combined.
  • Mix in the walnuts.
  • Cover the bowl and place in the fridge.
  • Leave overnight.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 150°C.
  • Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  • Put the icing sugar into a small/medium bowl.
  • Using a spoon divide the mixture into 12 even pieces.
  • Place these onto a large plate.
  • Drop 3 pieces into the icing sugar.
  • Roll them a little in the sugar to coat.
  • Pick each one up and roll in your palms to make an even ball.
  • Roll the ball in the icing sugar again.
  • This initial coating really works to stop the mixture sticking to your hands.
  • Place the ball on the baking sheet.
  • Leave space as these will spread.
  • Repeat with the other balls.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes.
  • They will be soft and firm up once they cool.
  • Leave them to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes.
  • Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Crown Staffordshire Serving Plate

Coconut Macaroons

  • I think coconut is a relatively new ingredient in Polish cookery.
  • I am sure my mother did not use it.
  • Most Polish recipes that I that I have seen are for cakes that are similar to sweets called  Raffaello  – introduced by Ferrero in 1990.
  • This recipe is the same  as Makaroniki  –  Almond Macaroons with coconut instead of almonds.
  • They are so easy to make and a good use for spare egg whites.
  • Did you know that botanically coconuts are not a nut but a drupe (stone fruit) similar to a plum or a peach?

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 egg whites
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g desiccated coconut

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C
  • Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper
  • Mix the sugar and coconut together.
  • Whisk the egg white till they form stiff peaks.
  • Fold in the coconut mixture carefully until well mixed.
  • Place tablespoons of the mixture on the baking sheets.
  • Flatten them down with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake for 20- 25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool slightly before removing them onto a wire rack.

Vintage Glass Dish

Ciasteczka

  • This recipe is based on an English recipe 19th century recipe for Rout Biscuits.
  • A rout is a large gathering or party and was often used to describe a card party.
  • They are intended to be eaten in one or two bites.
  • The original recipe was for around four times this amount as the baking was to cater for a large number of people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 90g granulated sugar
  • 110g currants
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • 2-3 tablespoons of brandy

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 220°C
  • Flour several baking trays.
  • Rub the butter into the flour.
  • Stir in the sugar, currants and the orange rind.
  • Stir in the egg and enough brandy to make a stiff dough.
  • With your hands make small balls from the dough and place them on the baking sheets.
  • Flatten then slightly.
  • They do not spread when cooking so they can be fairly close together.
  • Bake for 14 – 15 minutes.

Bay Biscuits

  • I came across this recipe for rich buttery biscuits flavoured with bay leaves, which sounded interesting.
  • You use dried bay leaves.
  • I think they are super.

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons of water (approx.)
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180ºC.
  • Grease some baking trays.
  • Take a tablespoon of sugar out of the 100g.
  • Grind with the bay leaves.
  • *
  • Rub the butter into the flour to get breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in the sugar and the bay leaves and sugar.
  • Slowly add the egg yolks and enough water to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll out thinly on a floured board.
  • Cut out circles using a 7.5cm round cutter.
  • Bake for around 12 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wired rack.

Ciasteczka with currants & peel

Ciasteczka is the nearest Polish word for biscuits. It can describe small soft cakes or crisper style biscuits or cookies.

At home we always spoke about biskwity and it was only when I first went to Poland that I realised this was NOT A POLISH WORD!

The word nearest to descripting English biscuits is herbatniki – these are biscuits to have with a cup of tea (herbata).

These are often petit beurre, morning coffee or rich tea type biscuits – plain thin biscuits.

These ciasteczka are quite a bit richer – variations of these I would have enjoyed cutting out with my mother.

Ingredients

  • 240g plain flour
  • 120 butter
  • 120g granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g currants
  • 30g mixed peel
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of milk – optional

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Grease 2 to 3 baking trays.
  • Rub the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients.
  • Add enough of the egg to make a soft dough.
  • You might need some of the milk.
  • Roll out the dough to 1cm thickness.
  • Cut out circles using a 7cm circular cutter.
  • Place on the baking trays.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes till lightly golden.
  • Leave to cool on a wire baking rack.