Szarlotka

Szarlotka is the word my mother used for (apple) crumble.

In some parts of Poland szarlotka is the word used for an apple cake.

I wanted to create a cake that was cross between a cake and a crumble.

I have used half the quantity from my apple cake (jabłecznik) recipe as the base and then used a drier crumble type mixture – called kruszonka in Polish – for the top.

I have already done this  for a rhubarb cake, so I have revisted this recipe.

I have adjusted the recipe to use just one type of flour (plain) and one type of sugar (granulated) to make it  easier.

Apple Filling

You can use an apple filling with just apples and sugar with the addition of cinnamon.

Sometimes in Poland raisins or sultanas are added to the apples.

As I had some homemade, fruit mincemeat left from last year to use up (made from Delia Smith’s recipe but without nuts) before I made this year’s batch,  I added some of this to the apples.

Ingredients

4 to 6 Bramley Apples

Granulated Sugar to taste – keep it slightly tart

A little water

4 tablespoons of mincemeat

Method

Make the apple filling first, even the day beforehand as it needs to be cold before you use it.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into thick slices.

Stew the apples gently with some sugar and very little water. You can make this in a saucepan on the stove or place the apples and sugar in a dish in the oven.

Do not add a lot of sugar at the beginning as it does not want to be too sweet, you can adjust the sweetness at the end.

Do not make it too much of a purée, cook it so that you have some soft apples but with some harder less cooked chunks as well.

Leave this to be completely cool.

Mix in the mincemeat.

 

Note

When I have lots of apples, I cook a large amount and portion this up and keep them in the freezer –  add the mincemeat when making the cake.

Base

150g  flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

100g butter or block margarine

40g granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or water.

Topping (kruszonka)

120g plain flour

90g butter or block margarine

60g granulated sugar

Method

Base

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.

Pre heat the oven to GM 4 – 180ºC.

Make the dough into a rough flat circle and press it into the base of the tin

Topping

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

Put the  apple mixture on top of the base – it wants to be quite a thick layer.

Sprinkle the topping crumbs over the apple mixture.

 

Bake in the oven for around 1 hour.

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.

 

 

Teaset here is  Woodside by Royal Grafton, 1940 – 1959

 

 

Polish Apple Cake – Jabłecznik

Apple trees (Genus –  Malus) originated in Central Asia and then spread to Northern Europe.  In the 17th century they were taken to North America.

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Apple Blossom Buds

Worldwide, measured in tonnes, China is the top apple producer, the United States of America coming second.

Poland is the largest apple producer in Europe.

In Poland in the countryside and even in the towns most houses have at least one fruit tree in the garden – often more – with apple, plum and cherry  being the favourites.

In my garden there are two Bramley apple trees.

Jabłko is the Polish for apple –  jabłecznik is an apple cake.

Some people use the word szarlotka – but my mother used that word for apple crumble.

Apple cake is made with tart cooking apples – Antonówki are very popular in Poland –  these are similar to Bramley apples and the apple filling is kept slightly tart so that the sweetness in the cake gives a lovely contrast.

I think there are as many variations of this cake as cooks in Poland.

This is my mother’s version which I think this is the very best.

Apple Filling

Ingredients

3 to 4 Bramley Apples

Granulated Sugar to taste – keep it slightly tart

A little water

1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Method

Make the apple filling first, even the day beforehand as it needs to be cold before you use it.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into thick slices.

Stew the apples gently with some sugar and very little water. You can make this in a saucepan on the stove or place the apples and sugar in a dish in the oven.

Do not add a lot of sugar at the beginning as it does not want to be too sweet, you can adjust the sweetness at the end.

Do not make it too much of a purée, cook so that you have some soft apples but with some harder less cooked chunks as well.

Leave the mixture to cool and then add the ground cinnamon.  The mixture should look quite brown.

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Note

When I have lots of apples, I cook a large amount and portion this up and keep them in the freezer – better to leave out the cinnamon if freezing and add this fresh when making the cake.

Cake

Ingredients

300g self-raising flour

200g butter or block baking margarine

75g caster sugar

1egg yolk (save the white for the topping)

2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or water

Method

You need a round tin with a loose base or a spring form tin or you will not be able to get the cake out.  I always use an anodised aluminium tin, 22cm in diameter and 8 cm deep, which does not rust.

Grease the tin well.

Rub the butter into the flour to make fine crumbs and add the sugar.

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Add the egg yolk and the lemon juice to and mix together to make a soft “dough” (try not to add more flour),  handle it as little as possible.

Leave it to chill for about ½ an hour as this makes it easier to handle.

Pre heat the oven to GM5 – 190oC.

Take slightly more than half the dough and press it into the cake tin.

Spoon the apple mixture on top of this.

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The rest of the dough will go on top of the apple mixture.  I use a rolling pin to make a circle that is smaller than the tin diameter and then place this on top.  Do not worry if the dough falls apart, just place it on with the breaks nearly touching.

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Topping

Ingredients

1 egg white and caster sugar

Slightly beat the egg white with a fork and brush this over the top of the dough.  You will not need it all.

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Liberally sprinkle caster sugar over the egg white.

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Bake for around 50 minutes until the top is a golden brown.

I tend to check the cake at 40 minutes and will cover the top with greaseproof if it starts to brown but is not yet cooked through.

Leave to cool before getting the cake out of the tin. I use a tin can and put the cake tin on this and slide the side of the cake tin down.

Do not put the cake in a air-tight covered container as the apples absorb moisture and you loose the crispness of the cake.

I hardly ever have any left anyway as I seem to get visitors as soon as they know I am baking this cake.

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Tea plates are Stardust by Colclough from the 1950s or early 1960s.