Keks is the word for a light fruit cake which is baked in a loaf tin or more often in a long narrow rectangular tin.
I am not sure how or when the word keks came into the Polish language but I am certain it comes from the English word “cakes” – however the word keks is singular in Polish and means cake, and the plural is keksy which is cakes.
Keks are make with bakalie, which is usually translated as dried fruits – however it has more varied fruits than the English version of dried grapes (raisins, sultanas, currants) and mixed peel and can include: apricots, dates, figs, prunes and nuts.
Keks – using fruit mincemeat
At Christmas time I make English fruit mincemeat using the recipe from Delia Smith but without the chopped nuts.
If I have any mincemeat left over after the Christmas period I make a fruit loaf which which is very much a keks.
This is my second version of a keks with mincemeat.
- 150 butter
- 150g dark brown sugar
- Grated zest of an orange
- Grated zest of a lemon
- 3 eggs
- 450g jar of mincemeat (exact amount is not critical)
- 175g mixture of sultanas, raisins, currants & mixed peel
- 50g of chopped walnuts
- 225g spelt flour
- 3 level teaspoons of baking powder
- Preheat the oven to GM3 – 160ºC
- Prepare the long loaf tin by greasing it and lining the long sides using one piece of greaseproof paper.
- Lightly cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the grated zest of the lemon and the orange.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one.
- Stir in the mincemeat, the dried fruits and walnuts until it is an even consistency – a wooden spoon is good for this.
- Mix the spelt flour with the baking powder.
- Stir in the flour mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for around 60 minutes – check after 50 minutes and cover the top if necessary to prevent burning.
- Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.
Served here on hand painted Paragon octagonal tea plates.
Rogaliki – Crescent Rolls
Rogaliki means little horns and these rolls are made into a crescent shape which look like horns.
This amount of dough makes 16 rolls and you will need 2 greased baking sheets.
Many Polish yeast recipes make a rozczyn – a leaven in the form of a batter or starter to begin with – I have liked using this method very much.
Older Polish recipes use fresh yeast. I tend to use dried yeast and had very good results. I like using the little measured out sealed packets of dried yeast, which are sufficient for up to 500g of flour and are equivalent to 25g of fresh yeast.
I have two earlier post:
Bułeczki – bread rolls
Here I made a bread roll version of rogaliki.
Kołaczyki – little wheels
Here I made a Basic sweet yeast dough – version 2.
Now this could be Basic sweet yeast dough version 3 – I keep refining the recipe and this now has to be the very best yet!
Leaven – Starter
- 150g plain flour
- 200ml warm milk
- 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 pkt of dried yeast (= 1 tablespoon)
Rest of Ingredients
- 300g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 2 yolks
- a little more milk might be needed
- Egg white to glaze
- Icing sugar to dust
- Mix the yeast and sugar into the hand hot milk.
- Put the 150g of flour into a bowl and mix in the milk mixture until it is like double cream.
- Cover the bowl and leave it to rise.
- Rub the butter into the 300g of flour until it is like breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and the yeast starter.
- Mix till you get a soft dough – you might need to add a tablespoon or so of milk – depends on the flour.
- Knead the dough till you have a nice smooth ball.
- Leave in a bowl, covered, to rise and double in size.
- Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C
- Grease two baking sheets.
- Knead the risen dough lightly for a few minutes.
- Divide the dough into two.
- Roll the dough out to make a circle/oval.
- With a knife or pizza cutter divide the dough into 8 (nearly) triangles.
- Place a teaspoon of filling at the fat end.
- Roll up the triangle from the fat end to get the horn shape.
- You can curve it slightly.
- Place them on a baking sheet – as far apart as possible.
- Brush the tops with egg white.
- Cover loosely and leave for about 15 minutes.
- Bake for around 14 – 15 minutes.
- Leave to cool slightly and then dust with icing sugar.
The tiered cake stand is by Laura Ashley & the tea plates are Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.
You can use half plain flour & half spelt flour – this also gives good results.
You can use a whole range of fillings with the easiest to prepare being jam (though sometimes this is the hardest to keep in the pastry!). Traditional Poppy seed mix and sweet cheese mix as in many of my previous posts are often used.
Here are just a few new ones ….
- Make some very strong Earl Grey tea.
- Chop up around 200g of pitted prunes.
- Place the prunes into a bowl and cover with the warm tea.
- Leave for a few hours to plump up the prunes.
- Add the grated rind of a lemon.
- Simmer the prunes gently.
- Keep stirring & heating to drive off the any liquid – you want a thick pulp.
- Leave to go cold completely before using.
- Grind 100g of chopped walnuts.
- Add the nuts to around 3 tablespoons of apricot jam.
- Mix well together.
Ground Almond Filling
- 100g of ground almond.
- Add the nuts to around 3 tablespoons of apricot jam.
- Mix well together
- Chop 200g of dried dates.
- Place in a small saucepan and cover with water – you can add a little lemon juice as well.
- Heat gently and stir.
- Cook until you have a soft pulp.
….. and of course you can try many more ……