Pancakes with Sour Cherries

Sour cherries & sweet cherries  are related but in Polish they have completely different names.

  • Prunus cerasus  are wiśnie  –  sour cherries also known as morello cherries
  • Prunus avium are czereśnie –  sweet cherries.
  • *
  • Prunus cerasus originated in the Iranian plateau & Eastern Europe.
  • They feature greatly in Polish cooking.

United Nations Annual crop production figures for sour cherries in 2014:

  1. Russia 198,000 tonnes
  2. Ukraine 182,880 tonnes
  3. Turkey 182,577 tonnes
  4. Poland 176,545  tonnes
  5. USA 137,983 tonnes
  • For this recipe fresh sour cherries would have to be cooked with some sugar but  here in England I have never seen fresh sour cherries for sale so I use bottled ones.
  • Some brands still have the stones in them so you will have to stone them first.

Ingredients – Sour Cherry Sauce

  • Jar of part jar of sour cherries
  • 4 cloves
  • Small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of potato or cornflour

Method

  • Put the cherries and the juice into a saucepan.
  • Add the cloves and cinnamon.
  • Simmer gently for around 10 minutes.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Remove the spices.
  • Mix the potato or cornflour with a little of the juice.
  • Stir this into the cherries.
  • Bring up to the boil, stirring often.
  • The sauce should thicken.
  • Leave on a low heat.

 

Plate is La Prune by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

I have written lots of tips for The Perfect Pancake – below is a reminder of the basic recipe.

Ingredients – Pancakes

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk (full or semi-skimmed)
  • 200 ml water
  • pinch of salt

This amount makes around 8 pancakes – in my 20cm pancake pan.

  • I remember this recipe as it is all the 2’s for ease
  • Depending on the flour and the size of the eggs,
  • You might not use all the milk & water mixture
  • or sometimes you might just need a little more.

Method – Pancake

  • Beat the eggs and add then them first to the sifted flour.
  • Add the milk mixture to the egg and flour mix until you have a batter the consistency of pouring cream.
  • Leave the batter to stand for at least 1 hour in which time it will thicken, then add a little more liquid.
  • Use a special thin pan which you use just for pancakes, mine has a base diameter of 20 cm and is made of steel, once seasoned, just wipe it clean between uses with kitchen roll – never scour it or use detergent.
  • Work out how much batter you need for a pancake and find a measure which will then give you a consistent amount – I use a small ladle which holds 45ml.
  • Have a dish of melted butter or margarine and sunflower oil for frying so you can add just enough and tip some back if needed.
  • Using the ladle pour the mixture into the pan.
  • Tilt the pan so that the mixture covers the surface completely and evenly.
  • Cook the pancakes on one side and turn them over.
  • You can make them up one by one –
  • or stack then up with a piece of greaseproof paper in between them.
  • You can do this and leave then for later use.
  • *
  • Spread some of the cherries and sauce onto a pancake.
  • Pancakes with sweet fillings are normally folded into triangles – fan -shaped  by folding the pancake into half and half again.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.
  • *
  • You can make the filled pancakes in advance prior to dusting them with icing sugar and then heat them up on both sides – using the pancake pan again – maybe with the addition of a little butter.
  • Then dust them with icing sugar.

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*.

* Recipe will be posted soon.

Served in –

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

Pierogi with Red Fruits

Pierogi  are  little semicircular parcels of pasta which are made with a multitude of fillings.

I wrote a very large post about them over 4 years ago.

Pierogi with sweet fillings are made in just the same way as savoury ones.

Circles of dough have a filling placed on them.  The dough is folded over and pinched to make a semi circle and these are boiled in slightly salted water.

Once boiled, sweet pierogi are dredged with icing, granulated or caster sugar and are often served with soured cream.  They are best eaten straight away.

I must admit that when I was younger I did not really like sweet pierogi but now I think they are utterly delicious especially when served with soured cream.

Red Fruits

In the summer and early autumn in Poland, when all the fruits of the forests and the garden  are ripe, that is when these pierogi are at their best.  However bottled fruit is available all year round and I often make my sweet pierogi with these.

You can also use defrosted frozen fruit.

My favourite are:

  • Morello(sour) Cherries  – fresh ones are not usually available in England – I use bottled ones.
  • Whinberries (bilberries) –  these grew in Lancashire near my home and also could be bought in baskets imported from Poland.  (I think the larger American Blueberry is nowhere near as tasty.)
    When we went to pick these I know this always made my mother think of her childhood in Poland.

Some of the other options are:

  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • *
  • Depending on the size of the fruit, you need about 3 or 4 per circle.
  • Do not add sugar to fresh fruit as this will make too much liquid and the pierogi will not seal.
  • If using bottled fruit you need to strain as much juice away as possible.
  • If using defrosted frozen fruit dab away any excess water.
  • Drench the cooked pierogi in icing sugar and serve with sour cream. The sugar contrasts with tartness of the fruit.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.

 

  • Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • *
  • Cut the dough into half.
  • Prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean cotton or linen tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
  • On a floured board roll out the dough a half at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
  • Cut out circles using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
  • The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
  • Depending on the fruit and size place 3 to 4 on each circle.
  • Folded them over and pinch the edges together to make a good seal.
  • You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling.  Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens – even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.
  • Place the sealed pierogi on the prepared tray until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
  • *
  • To cook the pierogi, use a large pan of boiling water to which you have added some salt and a drizzle of oil.
  • Drop the pierogi in one by one and allow them to boil.  I usually do about 6 to 7 at a time.
  • As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve.
  • Continue boiling batches in the same water.
  • If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get some oven proof plates.
  • Keep the plates warm in a low oven.
  • As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the plates, trying not to make them touch.
  • Keep on adding more as they cook.

To Serve

Sprinkle with icing, granulated or caster sugar and some soured cream.

Pierogi with Sour Cherries

Served here on La prune by Jet for Ter Steege

Pierogi with Whinberries

Served on Royal Doulton – Carnation  1982 – 1998

Not Quite a Cheesecake – version 2

I posted Not Quite a Cheesecake in July of 2018.

I have made it several times since as a larger version when I have had lots of my own yoghurt cheese. For this version I used Morello cherries from a jar.

You can  use twaróg, curd cheese, cream cheese or yoghurt cheese, it is a bit different from my usual Polish baked cheesecake. as it does not have a cake/biscuit type base. Because of this you do need a one piece cake liner for your loose bottomed tin.

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 3 tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • 150g Ground almonds
  • 400 – 450g Twaróg , Curd cheese or Yoghurt Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Morello cherries from a 460g net weight jar
  • Optional Topping
  • Juice from the cherries
  • 1 tablespoon of potato or cornflour to thicken the juice.

Method

  • Line a 22cm diameter loose bottomed cake tin with a bought paper cake liner.

 

 

 

 

  • Preheat the oven to GM5 190°C
  • Drain the cherries from the juice – keep the juice for the topping.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until they are soft and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks one by one until you have a smooth mixture.
  • Add the vanilla essence and the salt and mix in.
  • Add the cornflour, ground almonds and the yoghurt cheese and mix together thoroughly.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.
  • Put the cake mixture into the lined tin.
  • Place around half the cherries on top of the mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to GM2 – 150°C and bake for around another 30 minutes.
  • Switch off the oven but leave the cake in there until it is cool.
  • Keep the cake in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature for serving.
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • ***
  • Make a runny sauce from the juice heated with a tablespoon of potato flour.
  • Serve portions with a few cherries on the side and some of the sauce poured on or next to it.

     

    Served here on tea plates from a coffee service by Midwinter – Queensbury from the 1970s.

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.

More Duck

Duck With Sour Cherries

After apples (see It’s Only A Bird!) one of the most popular ways of serving roast duck in Poland is with sour cherries.

Sour cherries & sweet cherries  are related but in Polish they have have completely different names

Prunus cerasus  are wiśnie  –  sour cherries also known as morello cherries  &  Prunus avium are czereśnie –  sweet cherries.

Prunus cerasus originated in the Iranian plateau & Eastern Europe.

Annual crop production figures for sour cherries in 2012  show:

1  – Turkey with over 187,000 tonnes

2  – Russia with over 183,000 tonnes &

3 –  Poland with over 175,000 tonnes

So the figure for Poland is high when you think of the size of the top two countries, especially when figures for the whole of the United States of America are only  around  38,000tonnes.

For this recipe fresh sour cherries would have to be cooked with some sugar but  here in England rather than fresh sour cherries you have to use bottled ones.

Previously I used to be able to buy bottled sour cherries produced by Krakus or PEK but recently went out shopping for these I could not find any shops that stocked them.

In one of the Polish shops I found some from the company EDMAL and I also found some in Lidl.

Both are good though personally  I preferred the taste of the EDMAL ones.

The Lidl ones are pitted whearas the EDMAL ones still have the stones in – you can remove the stones if you want or just warn people that the stones are still in.

Cherry Stoner

There is more liquid in the EDMAL jar as this is sold as a kompot.

Kompot is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage, that may be served hot or cold.

It is made by cooking fruit such as apples, rhubarb, gooseberries, or sour cherries in a large volume of water, together with sugar or raisins. Sometimes spices such cinnamon are added for additional flavour, especially in winter when kompot is usually served hot.

For this recipe you need to strain more liquid off from the kompot which you  can save and drink later.

A jar is easily enough for  4 people and could serve 6.

The sour cherries are cooked separately from the duck in this recipe.

 

 

Rather than using whole duck,  I use duck breasts, 1 per person, as this makes it easier for me especially when there are more than two people for dinner.

I am giving instructions for 2 different coatings for the duck here –  the rest of the instructions are the same.

Ingredients

Duck breasts – 1 per person

Jar of sour cherries.

Italian herbs or  ground allspice

Salt & pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least an hour.

or

Rub the duck breasts with allspice and salt and leave for at least an hour

Duck breast with Italian herbs, salt and pepper.

 

 

Duck breast with allspice and salt.

img_20161030_135738822

 

 

 

 

 

Allspice  is very popular in Polish cooking. It is the dried berry of the plant Pimenta diocia

Allspice in Polish is ziele angielskie  which translates as  herb English because it came to Poland from English traders who brought it from the West Indies in the 16th century.  I do not know why it is called herb (which indicates the  green part of a plant) as the word more often used for spice in Polish is zioła (indicating dried berries or roots etc).

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Put a baking tray in the oven for around 10 minutes to heat up.

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot –  you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the duck onto the heated baking tray.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

You can serve the duck breast as whole pieces or slice them up.

Whilst the duck is in the oven, put the strained cherries with some of the juice into a pan and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for around 5 minutes – do not let them boil dry – add extra juice if necessary.

Serve the cooked duck with the cherries, adding some of the juices as well as the fruit.

Duck with sour cherries served on Carnation (1982 -1998) by Royal Doulton