Szarlotka

Szarlotka is the word my mother used for (apple) crumble.

In some parts of Poland szarlotka is the word used for an apple cake.

I wanted to create a cake that was cross between a cake and a crumble.

I have used half the quantity from my apple cake (jabłecznik) recipe as the base and then used a drier crumble type mixture – called kruszonka in Polish – for the top.

I have already done this  for a rhubarb cake, so I have revisted this recipe.

I have adjusted the recipe to use just one type of flour (plain) and one type of sugar (granulated) to make it  easier.

Apple Filling

You can use an apple filling with just apples and sugar with the addition of cinnamon.

Sometimes in Poland raisins or sultanas are added to the apples.

As I had some homemade, fruit mincemeat left from last year to use up (made from Delia Smith’s recipe but without nuts) before I made this year’s batch,  I added some of this to the apples.

Ingredients

4 to 6 Bramley Apples

Granulated Sugar to taste – keep it slightly tart

A little water

4 tablespoons of mincemeat

Method

Make the apple filling first, even the day beforehand as it needs to be cold before you use it.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into thick slices.

Stew the apples gently with some sugar and very little water. You can make this in a saucepan on the stove or place the apples and sugar in a dish in the oven.

Do not add a lot of sugar at the beginning as it does not want to be too sweet, you can adjust the sweetness at the end.

Do not make it too much of a purée, cook it so that you have some soft apples but with some harder less cooked chunks as well.

Leave this to be completely cool.

Mix in the mincemeat.

 

Note

When I have lots of apples, I cook a large amount and portion this up and keep them in the freezer –  add the mincemeat when making the cake.

Base

150g  flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

100g butter or block margarine

40g granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or water.

Topping (kruszonka)

120g plain flour

90g butter or block margarine

60g granulated sugar

Method

Base

You have to use a loose bottom or spring-form tin or you will not be able to get the cake out.

I use a loose bottomed anodised aluminium cake tin which is 22cm in diameter and 8cm deep.

Grease the tin well.

First make the cake base by rubbing the butter into the flour to make crumbs, then stir in the sugar.

Add the yolk and lemon juice and bring the ingredients together to form a soft dough – do not handle the dough too much.

Pre heat the oven to GM 4 – 180ºC.

Make the dough into a rough flat circle and press it into the base of the tin

Topping

Make the topping by rubbing the butter into the flour to make crumbs and then stir in the sugar.

Put the  apple mixture on top of the base – it wants to be quite a thick layer.

Sprinkle the topping crumbs over the apple mixture.

 

Bake in the oven for around 1 hour.

Leave to cool in the tin.

Use a long metal spatula to ease the cake from the side of the tin, then place the cake on to the top of a tin can and slide the side down.

 

 

Teaset here is  Woodside by Royal Grafton, 1940 – 1959

 

 

Mince Pies

I think of these as very British – but we all love them and they have become part of our Christmas Day celebrations. Originally the pies were made with meat and this idea of meat and spices came from the Middle East and it is thought to have been the brought back by the Crusaders.

I make these with the pastry that I learnt from my mother  – a variation on kruche & półkruche,  pastry (a richer shortcrust pastry).  Using the proportion of 2 parts flour to 1 part butter.

Ingredients

Pastry

200g plain flour

100g butter or block margarine

1-2 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 egg yolk

Juice of 1 lemon (and maybe 1 tablespoon of cold water)

Glaze

Lightly beaten egg white

Caster sugar

Mincemeat

I always make my own mincemeat using the recipe in Delia Smith’s Christmas cookery book but without the chopped almonds (I do not like the crunch of the nuts).

 

 

 

 

 

When making the pies I add a little extra brandy or sherry to the mincemeat and stir it in.

My tins are anodised aluminium and have a gentle rounded shape, this I think make for the perfect balance between the pastry and the filling.

I put “tops” on my mince pies – but not fully covered ones.

The tops are brushed with beaten egg white and sprinkled with caster sugar.

 

Method for pastry

Rub the butter into the flour to make “breadcrumbs”.

Mix in the icing sugar.

First with a knife and then with your fingertips mix in the yolk & lemon juice (and  maybe a tablespoon of cold water.)

You are aiming to get a dough which is not wet.

Rest for about 10 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C

You need to grease the tins well in order to get the pies out successfully.

I often use the pastry in two halves.

2 sizes of cutters are needed – 1 – 7cm diameter, plain, for the base, 1 – 6cm diameter, crinkle edge for the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut out the bases and place them in the tins

Place around a tablespoonful of mincemeat on the pastry.

Place the smaller tops on.

Lightly beat the egg white and brush this on the tops

Sprinkle caster sugar over the egg white.

Bake for around 15 minutes – keeping an eye on them – so they do not burn.

Leave to cool slightly in the tins & carefully remove them onto a rack to fully cool.

 

Tea-plate is Stardust by Colclough from the 1960s.

 

Mince pies on buffet table

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Bułeczki – Sweet Yeast Buns

Bułeczki  – this word can cause a little confusion as it can mean –  little white bread rolls or a more sweet yeast bun.

This recipe has been used to make round buns with a filling – it can be used for a variety of sweet buns – all of which are very popular in Poland.

A few reminders when using yeast in baking

  • Learn to be patient – you cannot control the timings exactly with yeast, it depends on the temperature of the room and the flour used and other variables.
  • Do yeast baking on a day you are planning to be in & have other things to do, but ones you can break off from when needed.
  • Heat the milk so it is at body temperature – use the finger test – too hot and you will kill the yeast – too cold is okay – it will just take longer.
  • An egg glaze often burns too quickly –  I have found an egg white or egg white & water glaze gives a better result.

The older Polish recipes use fresh yeast. I have used dried yeast and had very good results.  (I have not tried using easy bake yeast for this recipe).

Basic sweet dough recipe

Ingredients

Yeast starter

25g fresh yeast or 15g dried yeast

1 tablespoon of  sugar

250ml  milk – warmed

Rest of dough

3 yolks

100g granulated sugar

*******

500g plain flour

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon of salt

******

60g of melted butter

******

Egg or egg white to glaze (whole egg tends to brown very quickly).

Fillings

Jam – I used strawberry jam and also blackcurrant jam (made by my friend in Leeds) and I think the more tart blackcurrant jam goes better with the semi-sweet dough.

Mincemeat – I used my own mincemeat which is from the recipe by Delia Smith but without the chopped almonds. This of course in one way is very English, but it would be recognised in Poland if  described as bakalie –  which is a  mixture made of dried fruits (often with figs or dates), nuts and honey.

Method

Mix the yeast, sugar and warmed milk together and leave it till it doubles in size.

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Whisk the yolks and sugar together until the mixture is pale and thick.

Put the flour into a large bowl, add the yeast starter, the yolks & sugar mix, vanilla essence, lemon zest and the salt.

Combine everything together and knead it together until the dough leaves the side of the bowl clean.

Add the melted butter and mix it in and then knead it well until you get a glossy smooth dough.

Place it back in the bowl and cover with a cloth and leave it until it doubles in size.

Grease 1 or 2 baking sheets to hold 16 buns.

Knead the dough again lightly, then cut in to half and half again and so on to give 16 pieces.

Roll each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten it and roll it out into a circle.

Put a small spoonful of filling onto each circle and then draw the edges of the dough circle together and pinch the dough to seal in the filling.

Turn the balls over so the seal is on the underside.

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Place the buns on the baking sheets with room apart for them to double in size.

Cover the buns with a cloth and leave them to rise to double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190ºC

When the buns have doubled in size brush them with an egg or egg white wash.

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I used whole egg in this case but since have found that egg white does not burn as quickly.

Bake the buns for around 15 minutes.

 

 

Leave to cool before serving.

 

 

Tea plates are Las Palmas  by Aynsley from the 1960s.