Placek with Prunes – 2

  • I have an earlier post –  prune placek, which is quite different from this one.
  • This placek – flat cake- has a filling of prunes.
  •  The pastry used is a variation on my Polish  kruche ciasto – shortcrust pastry.
  • Prunes often feature in Wigilia – Christmas Eve dishes.
  • A prune filling like this is used in a tart baked in Belgium and eaten on Ash Wednesday. (17 February in 2021)

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • *
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar to sprinkle

Ingredients – Filling

  • 300g of prunes – stoned
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon – grated rind and juice

Method – Filling

This filling needs to be cold – so make this first.

  • Put the prune, cinnamon stick and rosemary in a large bowl.
  • Cover these with boiling water.
  • Leave overnight.
  • *
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and rosemary.
  • Put the prunes and liquid  into a  pan.
  • Add the lemon rind and juice.
  • Heat gently  and stir occasionally until the prunes are soft and the water is adsorbed.
  • Use a stick blender to turn the prunes into a pulp.
  • You might have to heat gently again to make sure the pulp is thick.
  • Leave to go completely cold.

Method – Pastry

  • A rich pastry is made in the traditional rubbed in method with the ingredients listed above.
  • Chill the pastry for around 30 minutes.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Grease and line a shallow tray 21cm x 26cm.
  • Divide the pastry into two.
  • Roll out one piece to line the bottom of the tin.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the pastry – not quite to the edges.
  • Roll the second piece of pastry out and use to cover the filling.
  • Press the edges down to seal.
  • Make some diagonal slashes across the top.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares when cold.

Royal Doulton – Counterpoint tea plates – 1973-1987

Mincemeat – Squares

  • Fruit mincemeat pies I think of these as very British – but we all love them and they have become part of our Christmas Day and New Year celebrations.
  • I use my mother’s recipe for the pastry  –  kruche ciasto – shortcrust pastry.
  • I like the size and proportions of little mince pies, which seem to just jump of the plate into my hand!
  • However they are time consuming to make so I have come up with this easier version, which I make after the holidays.
  • Poles would say the mincemeat is a version of bakalie and this recipe is a placek – flat cake.

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 using the mincemeat I add a little extra brandy or sherry and stir it in.

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • *
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar to sprinkle

Method – Pastry

  • Rub the butter into the flour to make “breadcrumbs”.
  • Mix in the granulated sugar.
  • First with a knife and then with your fingertips mix in the yolks and  some of the water – until it comes together.
  • You are aiming to get a dough which is not wet.
  • Chill the pastry for around 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Grease and line a shallow tray 21cm x 26cm.
  • Divide the pastry into two.
  • Roll out one piece to line the bottom of the tin.
  • Spread the mincemeat evenly over the pastry – not quite to the edges.
  • Roll the second piece of pastry out and use to cover the filling.
  • Press the edges down to seal.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares when cold.

Tea plates by Queen Anne – unknown pattern name

 

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Placek with Figs

  • This placek – flat cake- has a filling of bakalie – dried fruit and nuts – there are lots of figs in this mixture, which make it extra delicious.
  •  The pastry used is a variation on my Polish  kruche ciasto – shortcrust pastry.

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • *
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar to sprinkle

Ingredients – Filling

  • 190g dried figs – chopped
  • 60g currants
  • 60g raisins
  • 60g walnuts – chopped
  • 60g soft dark brown sugar
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 125ml water

Method – Filling

This filling needs to be cold – so make this first.

  • Put all the ingredients into a small pan and heat gently.
  • Stir occasionally until the mixture is soft and the water is adsorbed.
  • A little more water might be needed and more heating.

Method – Pastry

  • A rich pastry is made in the traditional rubbed in method with the ingredients listed above.
  • Chill the pastry for around 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Grease and line a shallow tray 21cm x 26cm.
  • Divide the pastry into two.
  • Roll out one piece to line the bottom of the tin.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the pastry – not quite to the edges.
  • Roll the second piece of pastry out and use to cover the filling.
  • Press the edges down to seal.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares when cold.

Hand painted Paragon plates.

Friends who tried this said “Please make this again!”

Placek with Gooseberries

Ribes uva cripaagrest in Polish – gooseberries are related to black and red currants.

Gooseberries are the first soft fruits of the summer.  They grow well in cooler climates. These gooseberries were picked the evening before this placek was made.

This placek – flat-cake has the lovely contrast of the sweet cake against the tart fruit.

Ingredients

  • 400-450g of gooseberries
  • 250g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of yoghurt
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Grease and use one sheet of greaseproof to line two sides and base of a 32 x 22cm baking tin.
  • Top and tail the gooseberries.
  • Cream the butter and sugar
  • Add the eggs one by one and continue creaming.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Gently mix in the flour.
  • Add yoghurt to make a soft dough.
  • Lightly press the dough into the baking tin.
  • Scatter the gooseberries on top.
  • Bake for 45 – 50 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Grape Meringue Placek

This cake is a cross between my grape meringue cake and placek(flat cake) with rhubarb and meringue. 

There are two parts to this cake

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled
  • Grapes & Meringue topping.

Short pastry base

The base of this is made made from the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche.  

However as the topping is sweet, I used less sugar in the pastry – you might be able to omit all the sugar – I have not tried this.

Ingredients – Base

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter – chilled
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 4 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – Base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix them in
  • Bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in grease proof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm baking tin – use one long piece for sides and base – helps to take it out. 
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 sponge fingers  – crushed
  • *
  • 300g seedless green grapes

Method – Meringue

  • Preheat the oven to GM 2 -150°C.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add granulated sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the crushed sponge fingers.
  • *
  • Place 1/3 of the meringue over the cake base.
  • Place the grapes over the meringue.
  • Cover the grapes with the rest of the meringue
  • Put into the oven for 50 – 60 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Sonnet  1971-1998

Placek with Rhubarb & Meringue

This cake was inspired by my placek(flat cake) with sour cherries and meringue

There are three parts to this cake:

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled.
  • Rhubarb filling – cooked and left to go cold.
  • Meringue topping.

Three stages all take a bit of time but well worth the effort. It is delicious with a lovely balance of  sweetness against the tart rhubarb.

Short pastry base

The base of is made with a smaller amount of the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche. 

I could see out of my kitchen window that the rhubarb was beginning to grow.  As I still had one batch left frozen from last summer I to decided to use that up before the new crop and in time for you to try it.

Ingredients – base

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter – chilled
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix this in, then and bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 23 x 26 cm baking tin.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Rhubarb filling

  • 400g (approx) of rhubarb
  • 150g of granulated sugar (more may be needed)
  • 25g of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons of potato or corn flour

Method – rhubarb filling

  • This needs to be made ahead of time as it must be cold.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM2
  • Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and place in a baking dish
  • Add sugar.
  • Bake in the oven for around 1 hour – till soft.
  • Check for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary – but not too sweet.
  • Leave to cool a little.
  • *
  • I used cooked rhubarb that I had frozen from last year. 
  • *
  • Wizz the rhubarb up with a blender or chopper to get a purée.
  • Place this in a saucepan.
  • Heat slowly.
  • Mix the yolks with the potato or cornflour and add this to the rhubarb and heat till it thickens.
  • Add the butter and mix in.
  • Leave to go cold before use.

A few thoughts on the origin & history of meringues:

  • Meringue – a French word.
  • Swiss village of Meiringen.
  • Improved by Italian chef Gasparini.
  • From Polish word – marzynka – a day dream?
  • Made by the chef for the exiled king of Poland, Stanisław Leszczyński (1677 – 1766), Duke of Lorraine (1737 -1766).
  • His daughter, Maria, was married to Louis XV of France and she introduced them to the court.
  • In Polish – beza(sing)) bezy(pl) – link to – buzi kiss?
  • French meringue – whisk eggs till stiff – add sugar and whisk again.
  • Italian meringue – uses sugar syrup.
  • Swiss meringue – sugar and whites heated over a water bath.
  • Addition of cornflour – strengthens the egg white.

Meringue

  • I used 4 egg whites & 200g icing sugar.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add icing sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 1 -140°C.
  • Cover the base with the rhubarb filling and level it out.
  • Cover the rhubarb with the meringue and level it out
  • Put back into the oven for 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Counterpoint tea plates 1973 – 1987.

Placek-with sour cherries & meringue

The base of this placek  (flat cake) is made with  a recipe similar to  Ciasto kruche 2 – with cooked egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche.

The base is baked, apricot jam and bottled sour cherries are placed on top, this is topped with meringue and cooked again.

A few stages but well worth the effort. It is delicious with a lovely balance of  sweetness against the sour cherries.

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter – chilled
  • 100g  & 150g icing sugar
  • 3 eggs separated
  • pinch or two of salt
  • Fine grated rind of 1 lemon – optional
  • 250ml of apricot jam – approx
  • 1/2 – 3/4 of a jar of morello/sour cherries

Method

Cook the egg yolks

  • Separate the raw yolks from the whites.
  • Place the yolks  in a colander and cook over hot water.
  • Use a fork to break up the yolks into very small pieces.
  • Leave to go cold.

Make the base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the 100g of icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the broken up yolks and gently mix this in then and bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C.
  • Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm baking tin.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up the all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Toppings and meringue

  • Lower the oven to GM 1 -140°C
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add the 150g of icing sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Spread the jam thickly over the base
  • Drain the sour cherries and pat them dry.
  • Arrange the cherries over the jam.
  • Spread the meringue over the cherries taking it up to the edges.
  • Put back into the low heat oven for 45 to 60 minutes.

 

Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

 

Served here on Duchess  – Bramble Rose tea plates from the 1960s.

Placek with Almonds

I stayed in Derbyshire (home of the Bakewell Tart) in 2018 and I came across a recipe for a cake using yoghurt which I adapted and this was posted as PlacekDerbyshire Inspired.

This is a variation I tried out using almonds.

I used Greek style full fat yoghurt – If using my own yoghurt I would strain it a little so it becomes thicker.

Ingredients

  • 250g butter or block margarine
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 150ml of Greek style yoghurt (full fat)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of almond essence
  • 230g self raising flour
  • 50g of ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Sour cherry jam or other slightly tart jam
  • 50g of flaked almonds

Method

  • Grease and line 22 x 32 baking tin – use 1 piece of greaseproof to do the 2 long sides and base.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Place the flaked on a tray and pop them under the grill for a few minutes to toast them.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Mix together the yoghurt, eggs and almond essence
  • Mix together the flour, ground almonds and the baking powder.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar .
  • Add the yoghurt, egg and essence mixture and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat till you have a unified smooth mixture.
  • Using a big spoon and spatula put the mixture into the prepared tin.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully take the cake out of the oven and place large teaspoon ‘blobs’ of jam on the top – I did 12 teaspoons at even intervals.
  • Cover the top with the toasted almonds and quickly put it back in the oven.

 

 

  • Bake for around another 25 – 30 minutes.

 

 

  • Place on a cooking rack and leave until it is cold to take out of the tin.
  • Cut into squares or rectangles to serve.

 

 

Served on teaplates by Wedgwood, Hathaway Rose  – 1959 -1987

 

 

 

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
  • 50g caster sugar

Filling

  • 225g soft dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornflour

Topping

  • 125g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 125g soft dried apricots
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • ½ 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.

Topping

  • In a pan gently melt the butter, sugar and honey.
  • Leave to cool slightly.
  • Chop the 125g of 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.