Placek

Placek is a low flat cake and can be  round or rectangular in shape.

I made two using  each of the recipes in  ciasto półkruche  – a type of shortcrust pastry – with jam fillings and both turned out well.

Placek with jam

Grease and line a 33 x 23 tin

Pre-heat the oven  GM5 – 190°C

Use half the dough and roll it out to fit the tin.

Spread the dough with jam – you will need around a jar.

Cover the top with the rest of the dough rolled out.

Bake for around 30 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar as soon as you take it out of the oven and leave to cool.

Placek with Blackcurrant Jam

 

Served on – Colclough – Enchantment-  1950 – 1960s

Placek with Sour Cherry Jam

 

Served on – Duchess – Bramble Rose – 1960s

 

 

 

Mazurek with Oranges

This mazurek is one my mother used to make. She used the peanut butter base for sernik as the base.

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This quantity of pastry is enough for a small tin – 26cm x 16cm.

Grease and line the tin.

Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190ºC

Press the pastry into the tin and prick the surface of the pastry

 

 

 

Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Leave the base to cool completely.

The original recipe used a sweet orange jam/sauce  which you made from sweet eating oranges. After a while my mother improvised and used English orange marmalade to which she added a little water and some sugar and heated this up for a few minutes.

Use the orange/marmalade  mixture whilst it is still slightly warm and pour this onto the base.

I have now found a jam from IKEA which is orange & elderflower , this has a really nice flavour – warm this slightly so it is easy to spread onto the base.

You need 3-4 tablespoons of jam.

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Leave the orange jam to cool completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the orange jam is then poured a chocolate topping.

I have used the one from Mazurek – Using Yeast Dough yeast dough.

Chocolate topping

Ingredients

50g butter

30g of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa

2 tablespoons of water

Method

In a small saucepan gently melt the butter and sugar .

Add the cocoa and water and mix it till it is all blended together.

Heat this on a low heat – stirring all the while.

Allow to cool slightly and then pour this over the jam.

 

 

 

 

Tea plates Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 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.

 

Mazurek – Using Yeast Dough

I came across this recipe for  a yeast dough mazurek in this little recipe book and was very intrigued by the method which is quite different from the usual yeast doughs and thought I would give it a go!

It turned out very well.

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Ingredients

450g plain flour

100g granulated sugar

200g butter or block margarine

50g fresh yeast or 25g of dried yeast

190 ml of milk

3 eggs

200g of bakalie (dried fruits including currants, raisins, peel, figs, dates, prunes etc)

Method

Warm the milk to hand heat and mix in the yeast.

Melt the butter on a gently heat.

In a bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until they are light and fluffy.

Add the melted butter.

Add the milk and yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.

Leave in a warm place for 8 hours!

Grease and line a large baking tray 33cm x 24cm

Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C

Mix the bakalie(dried fruits) with the flour.

Mix the flour and fruits with the yeast mixture.

 

Place the dough into the tin – spreading it out evenly.

Place the dough onto the tray and put in the oven.

Bake for around 25 – 30 minutes.

Prick the surface of the cake with a fork in several places.

Leave it to cool in the tin for a while and then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

Pour the hot chocolate topping over the top.

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Topping Ingredients

50g butter

30g of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa

2 – 3 tablespoons of water

Note

You could double this amount if you want to it to cover all over and be a bit thicker.

Method

In a small saucepan gently melt the butter and sugar .

Add the cocoa and water and mix it till it is all blended together.

 

Note

You can decorate the top with dried fruit and nuts – you would really need to do double the topping ingredients for this,

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton – Counterpoint  – 1973 – 1987

Mazurek – With Kajmak

Mazurek is the name of a Polish cake which often uses a type of pastry similar to shortcrust  or shortcake.  It is usually made in a square or rectangular shape.

Bake a mazurek base using one of the ciasto kruche  –  pastry recipes and allow it to cool.

Fill the hollow with kajmak.

Mazurek with kajmak

You can decorate the top with nuts and / or dried fruit – this gives you an opportunity to be creative with the decorations.

 

Alleluja is often written on top at Easter time.

Here served on tea plates by Colclough – Stardust 1950s – 1960s

 

Mazurek with kajmak and jam

As a contrast to the sweetness of the kajmak you can use a tart jam such blackcurrant or sour cherry jam.

Bake a mazurek base and allow it to cool.

Cover the hollow created with a thin layer of jam.

 

 

 

 

Blackcurrant jam was used here.

Cover the jam with a layer of kajmak.

Decorate the top of the mazurek with nuts or dried fruits.

 

Kajmak

Kajmak (or kaimak in my older books) is a speciality make from cream or milk cooked with sugar and then butter is added. It is very sweet and dense,  pliable at first and hardening over time.

It is similar to a creamy type of fudge and it can also be made from tinned condensed milk which has been boiled and so is very like dolce de leche.

In my American-Polish cookery book it is called Turkish Fudge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is used in a variety of cakes including mazurek.

 

Mazurek with kajmak – this recipe will be in a later post

 

Kajmak originated in Turkey and appeared in Poland in the 18th century in the reign of Stanisław II Augustus (1764–95).   Sugar was a luxury commodity then and this was originally just popular with the Polish nobility.

Kajmak

Ingredients

1/2 litre of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

400g of granulated sugar.

50g of butter

2 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Put the milk and sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently stirring most of the time to stop the mixture from catching and burning on the base.

Continue cooking and stirring until the volume has reduced to about half of the original and the mixture is thick – rather like jam in the spoon test.

Take the pan from the heat and add the butter and stir till it is incorporated.

Add the drops of vanilla essence and stir them in.

Use the kajmak straight away or pour into a glass bowl that you can heat over a water bath when you want to use it later.

 

 

 

 

Alternatively you can also pour it into a flat dish and cut it up as cubes or fingers of sweets later.

Kajmak is flavoured with a little bit of vanilla but can also have the following additions: caramel, chocolate or coffee

Caramel

In a frying pan heat 20g of granulated sugar until it just starts to turn light brown, then add 6 tablespoons of water and boil gently until you have a caramel syrup.

 

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter.

Salted caramel is very popular in England at the moment and you can add a teaspoon of cooking or table salt to the caramel kajmak.

Then once it is poured out you can sprinkle coarse ground or sea salt on the top.

 

 

Here the kajmak was poured into a rectangular dish.

Chocolate

50g of cocoa mixed with around 6 tablespoons of water

or

80g of melted dark chocolate

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter and reduce the liquid until the kajmak is the correct consistency.

 

 

Coffee

100 to 125 mls of strong coffee made from 20g of ground coffee.

 

 

Brew the coffee in a cup or jug, leave for around 10 minutes and then strain the liquid from the grounds.

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter and reduce the liquid until the kajmak is the correct consistency.

Quick Kajmak

In a recipe book I bought recently there is a recipe for kajmak using  krówki which are classic Polish sweets (krówka mleczna = milky cow) described as creamy fudge.

The recipe used 500g of the sweets which would have been two packets – I just used one packet to test them out.

Ingredients

250g of krówki

120ml of milk

1 tablespoon of butter.

Method

Unwrap the krówki and place them with the milk in a small saucepan.

Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sweets dissolve.

Add the butter and let it melt.

 

Use whilst it is warm.

Note

This worked very well & one packet could be enough – I must admit I prefer the original version but this is easier & quicker.

 

Mazurek

Most people know that a mazurek (mazurka in English)  is a Polish folk dance. It is also the word for someone or something from Mazur (the region known as Mazowsze in Polish) in North Central Poland.

A tasty meaning of mazurek, is a flat Polish cake made with different bases and toppings. The varieties are seemingly endless and vary from region to region and family to family. They can be made with yeast doughs, crumbly shortbread-like doughs  (ciasto kruche) or flaky, puff-pastry-like doughs.

The mazurek is usually baked in a rectangular or square shape.

The topping varieties include: almond paste, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, meringues, kajmak, jam or poppy seed paste.

There is often an icing of some sort poured over the topping.

A mazurek is  rarely over 2.5 cm (1 inch) in height.

It is thought  that  the mazurek, was inspired by sweet Turkish desserts that came to Poland via the spice trade routes from Turkey in the early 17th century .

Mazurek  is traditionally served at Easter when it is considered an Easter treat after 40 days of fasting for Lent and this is maybe why this cake is so sweet.

Another reason is that Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, is a busy one in a Polish household as the interior and exterior of the house is cleaned from top to bottom so any baking  that could be prepared well in advance of Easter Sunday without getting stale was good and the mazurek, often made with an over-abundance of dried fruits to keep it moist  is well suited to this.

When the top of an Easter mazurek is  iced , it typically is emblazoned with the words “Alleluja” or “Wesołego Alleluja (Happy  Alleluja or Happy Easter).

 

 

 

Mazurek made with jam topping

I used ciasto kruche for these, using the versions in pastry-ciasto kruche

I liked the one using hard boiled eggs the best.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C

I used a Mermaid shallow tin, 31cm x 21cm, which I greased and lined – to make it easier to get the mazurek out of the tin.

Using around 1/2 to 2/3rds of the pastry dough, roll out a rectangle for the bottom of the tin – if it is too crumbly you might have to piece and press this in.

Using the rest of the dough make stripes about a finger thickness and place these around the edge of the tin.

Use a sharp knife to make a cut pattern in these strips.

 

 

Bake for 25 -30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Leave to cool completely.

Fill the mazurek hollow with jam.

You will need around a whole jar of jar and you can heat the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Make some icing with beaten egg white, lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle this over the jam.

Mazurek with blackcurrant jam

 

 

Served here on a bamboo board and  Las Palmas tea plates by Aynsley from the 1960s

Mazurek with raspberry jam

 

 

 

Served here on a bamboo board and tea plates with a violet design by Colclough from the 1930s.