Fruit Soups

Fruit soups are very popular in Poland especially in summer.

Many may think they seem rather strange, however once tasted, I hope, like me you will think that they are “nectar from the gods!”

Just like other soups they are served as a first course.

They are eaten – hot or warm, at room temperature or chilled. – This can vary with the time of the year and people’s preferences.

  • Many are served with a variety of soup accompaniments such as cooked pasta or croutons – either from white rolls or rye bread.  Sponge fingers or little biscuits are also often served with them.
  • They can be made from fresh (or frozen) fruit or bottled fruit and also from dried fruit.
  • Most recipes are for single single fruit versions but you can use mixed fruits depending on what is available but try to keep to just 2 or 3 fruits.
  • These soups should not be over sweet.
  • Potato flour is usually used as a thickening agent but you could substitute cornflour for this.
  • Some recipes had soured cream added, sometimes before serving.

I am going to look at 3 different summer fruit flavours in this post:

  • Rhubarb
  • Sour cherry
  • Strawberry

Later I will look at others including using dried fruits, which are more for the winter time and would usually be served warm or hot.

Rhubarb Soup

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of potato flour
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 125 ml of soured cream

Method

  • Cut the rhubarb into small chunks.
  • Put the rhubarb and spices into a large saucepan.
  • Add the water, bring to the boil then simmer till the rhubarb is falling apart.
  • Sieve to remove the pulp.
  • Add the sugar to the liquid.
  • Mix the potato flour with the soured cream.
  • Add this to the soup.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
  • Serve hot or warm with rye bread croutons or cold cooked pasta.
  • or add a few fresh strawberries or alpine strawberries to each portion.

Sour Cherry Soup

I have never seen fresh soured cherries for sale in England, so my recipe is based on using bottled soured cherries, which works very well and can be made all year round.

Ingredients

  • 500 -600g of bottled cherries
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4- 6 cloves
  • Strips of peel from 1 lemon
  • Water to make the juice amount  up to 1.5 litres
  • 1½ tablespoons of potato flour
  • *
  • I did not add any extra sugar to the bottled cherries

Method

  • Depending on the jar of cherries – you may have to stone them.
  • Put the cherries, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel into a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, with a lid on, until the cherries are very soft.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • Remove the spices and lemon peel.
  • Blend the cherries to a pulp.
  • Mix the potato flour and a little of the liquid in a small dish.
  • Add the potato flour mixture to the blended cherries.
  • Bring up to the boil gently, stirring often.
  • Simmer and stir until the soup thickens.
  • *
  • Serve hot or chilled with cold pasta.
  • *
  • I like this best hot – even on a warm day.

 

Strawberry Soup

  • This is best eaten chilled – the strawberries are not cooked.
  • If you prefer a tangier taste add the juice of a lemon at the end.

Ingredients

  • 450-500g  strawberries
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of potato flour
  • 1 litre of water
  • 250ml of soured cream

Method

  • Add the sugar to the water and bring this to the boil.
  • Mix the potato flour with a small amount of water.
  • Add this to the sugar water.
  • Heat and stir till it thickens.
  • Leave to chill.
  • Add the soured cream and mix together.
  • Remove any leaves and stalks from the strawberries.
  • Gently wash the strawberries.
  • Blend the strawberries to a pulp.
  • Stir the strawberry pulp into the chilled thickened sugar – cream mixture.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with sponge fingers or sponge drops.

 

Served in –

  • Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • Midwinter – Spanish Garden – 1966 – 1982

Meringue Cake with Rhubarb

Tort Bezowy is a meringue cake.

Meringues are popular in Poland and often made because lots of other dishes contain many egg yolks so there are egg whites needed to be used rather than wasted.

A little tip – freeze two egg whites at a time in a little container – then you have them ready for use later – bring them back to room temperature first.

The meringue that is used here has the addition of potato or cornflour and a little vinegar which gives a soft marshmallow centre to the meringue.

This style of meringue dish was named in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pawlowa (Pavlova) after her tour of Australia in 1926.

It is made up of 3 parts

  • 1 Pavlova style meringue
  • 2 Budyń (Custard)
  • 3 Rhubarb compote

Pavlova style meringue

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of potato flour or cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Use the loose base of a baking tin 25cm in diameter.
  • Lightly grease the circle.
  • Cut a 25cm circle of greaseproof and stick it on the metal circle.
  • Place the circle on a large baking tray – one without sides is best.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the potato or corn flour, the vinegar and vanilla essence.
  • Using up to ½ of the mixture cover the circle on the tin.
  • Using the rest of the meringue put spoonfuls around the edge.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and leave to cool completely before filling.

Budyń  (Custard) 

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 400ml of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Put 250ml of the milk, the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, stirring all the time.
  • Bring to the boil and then take off the heat.
  • Blend together the rest of the milk (150ml), the egg yolks and the potato or corn starch.
  • Add some of the boiled mixture and stir well.
  • Add this to the rest of the boiled mixture and stir well.
  • Put the pan back on the heat and gently bring back to boiling point and keep stirring.
  • Keep on the heat  – stirring for 1 minute.
  • Pour into a glass or china dish and cover with a circle of grease-proof paper.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.

Rhubarb Compote

Ingredients

  • 250g fresh rhubarb*
  • 75g granulated sugar

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C
  • Cut the rhubarb into 4cm chunks.
  • Put the cut rhubarb into a small roasting dish.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the top.
  • Cover with a piece of foil.
  • Place in the oven for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to go cold before using.

*You might want to roast more rhubarb for other uses and just use some for this dish.

Assembling the Pavlova

All three parts must be cold.

  • Place the meringue nest on a large serving plate or stand.
  • Using a tablespoon – pile the budyń (custard) into the centre.
  • Arrange the rhubarb chunks and some of the syrup over the custard.

Lead Crystal cake stand  – Tortenplatte – Venus  by Nachtmann(Germany).

Plates – Lavender by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

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.

Rhubarb & Date Cake

As I have rhubarb growing in the garden I am always on the lookout for recipes  for  rhubarb cakes and have tried many from English, American & Polish recipe books and magazines.

Some recipes just used 1 or 2 stalks of rhubarb – as I have lots of rhubarb – I wanted a recipe that used more.

I was talking with my old school friend who lives in Leeds and she told me her husband makes a lovely rhubarb cake with the rhubarb they have growing on their allotment.

So, I tried it out and it was indeed lovely!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 340g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 170g  butter
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 450g rhubarb, chopped into small cubes
  • 230g stoned dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk (either whole or semi skimmed)
  • Optional – extra sugar to sprinkle on top – (I would not bother with this next time)

 

 

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C
  • Line the base of a 26cm round spring-form or loose bottomed tin with baking paper. (You can use a 23cm tin)
  • Place the chopped rhubarb and dates into a bowl.
  • Place the flour and baking powder into another bowl.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Stir the chopped rhubarb and dates into the mixture.
  • Combine the eggs and milk in a jug and beat a little.
  • Stir into the cake mix until well combined.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
  • If using, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on the top of the cake.
  • Bake for approximately 1 – 1 & 1/4  hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean – best check on it after an hour and cover top if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack until the tin is cool enough to safely handle.
  • Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely on the wire rack

Although the cake keeps well, I think it is best eaten when fresh as then the rhubarb taste is strong and the cake delicious.

Crown china tea plates – no pattern named.

Note

The rhubarb season is now over in my garden as it has just past July – next year I am going to try some variations on this cake eg – without the dates or with raisins etc.

Pork with Rhubarb

Having made pork with sour plums, I thought, why not do something similar with the rhubarb that is growing in the garden?

I was cooking the rhubarb for a cake as well and chopped up the rhubarb and placed it in a large roasting dish with some sugar – not too much –  it does not want to be too sweet – keep it tart.

I placed this into a low oven GM2 -150°C for around 45 – 60 minutes – you want it soft but not totally disintegrated.

 

After roasting a loin of pork, I placed some of the rhubarb and juices into a saucepan and heated it through – adjusting the sugar if necessary.

You could just grill or pan fry pork chops rather than do a roast.

Serve the rhubarb hot with the pork.

 

Served here with new potatoes and carrots on Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1981 -1998.

Rhubarb Cake

Rheum rhabarbarum is the Latin name for rhubarb   –  in Polish  it is rabarbar.

It is a plant that has its origins in China, Mongolia & Siberia – its roots survive the cold!

Rhubarb roots have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

The plant arrived in Europe via Venice in the 14th century  having been brought  from China  along the Silk Road.

The leaves are poisonous  to humans as they contain large quantities of oxalic acid and other toxins.

The stems however can be eaten safely, although they do contain a little oxalic acid but their tartness is due mainly  to malic acid which is also found in sour green apples.

Rhubarb stems were first eaten in England in the 17th century.

In 1820 the rhubarb plant was taken over to the USA.

I live in West Yorkshire –  just outside what is called the Rhubarb Triangle  of Wakefield, Leeds & Morley   – where rhubarb is grown in forcing sheds (in darkness) on a commercial scale.

I have rhubarb growing in my garden.

I have used the rhubarb to make rhubarb crumble but over the last few years I have been trying to find recipes for a rhubarb cake and have tried many from English, American & Polish recipe books and magazines.

Some recipes just used 1 or 2 stalks of rhubarb – as I have lots of rhubarb – I wanted a recipe that used more.

Some recipes used the raw stalks in a cake – I found that none of these were to my liking.

I tried using my best Polish apple cake recipe with stewed rhubarb  instead of apple but found that it just did not come out very well.  The cake was  too soggy and raw in places because of the amount of liquid in the stewed rhubarb.

Finally after more trial and error – I came up with a recipe which I am happy to make for people and to share.

Preparing The Rhubarb

This I have found to be the most important part to making a successful rhubarb cake.

You need to prepare the rhubarb the day before you want to make cake.

I tend to make a large amount and if I do not use it all I freeze the rest.

You need around 8 large stalks if not more.

Trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks and then chop the stalk  into pieces around 7cm in length.

Put the pieces into an oven proof dish and add granulated sugar – try not to use large amounts – it is better slightly tart.

Put the covered dish into a low oven –  GM 2 for around an hour or so – you want it soft but not totally disintegrated.

Allow this to cool.

 

 

Now comes the part I found to be the most important – I strain the cooked rhubarb from the juice & syrup.

Put the rhubarb into a colander over a bowl and leave this for several hours or even overnight.

 

The juice and sugar syrup can  be used to flavour yoghurt, diluted with water to make  a drink or even added to pork in a slow cook recipe.

Now by just using this strained rhubarb  I have found that a cake adapted from my apple cake comes out very well.  I have used half the quantity from my apple cake recipe as the base and then used a drier crumble type mixture – called kruszonka in Polish – for the top.

Cake Ingredients

Base

150g self raising flour

100g butter or block margarine

40g caster sugar

1 egg yolk and 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or water.

Topping

120g plain flour

90g butter or block margarine

60g icing sugar.

Method

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. Leave the dough in a cool place for about half an hour so it is easier to handle.

Pre heat the oven to GM 4 – 180ºC.

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

Press the dough into the base of the tin.

 

Cover the base with the strained rhubarb.

Evenly sprinkle all the topping over the rhubarb.

Bake in the oven for around 1 hour to 1 hour & 10 minutes.

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.

If you find the cake is not sweet enough – you can sprinkle the pieces  with icing sugar – I rarely due – I like the fruit to be tart.

 

Tea plates are Counterpoint by Royal Doulton 1973 – 1987

Do not put the cake into an airtight plastic box as it will get soggy – better to cover it with a mesh cover.

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