Semi French? Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 2

There are two similarly named pastries in Polish cookery:

  • Ciasto francuskie  – translates as French pastry – this is puff pastry.
  • Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie  – translates as half or  semi French pastry.

I have seen ciasto pȯłfrancuskie described as rough  puff pastry  – but it  is not – rough puff is a slightly easier and quicker version of puff pastry.

I have seen many different recipes for this semi-French pastry and they fall into three broad categories:

  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – śmietanowe – dough  made with some soured cream. 
  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – serowe  –  dough made with twaróg – curd cheese.
  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – drożdźowe – dough made with yeast.

Ciasto  pȯłfrancuskie 2 – with curd cheese – twaróg

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g butter
  • 225g twaróg – curd cheese or yoghurt cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of soured cream – maybe needed – depends on dampness of the cheese

Note as you use equal parts of the three main ingredients, you can make an amount suited to you needs – I usually go by how much yoghurt cheese I have.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220ºC
  • Grease several baking sheets.
  • You need to get the curd cheese as dry as possible, if you are using homemade then allow this to strain as long as possible.
  • Put the flour into a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and with a knife chop it up roughly.
  • Then with your finger tips rub the butter in until you have fine breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in the curd cheese and bring the dough together, adding as much soured cream as is needed.
  • When using my own yoghurt cheese I often do not need any soured cream.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and leave in a cool place for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4 and work with each quarter at a time, leaving the rest in a cool place .
  • Roll the dough out thinly
  • Cut into  circles using a 7cm cutter.
  • Add around a teaspoon of filling* see below and fold the circle into half.
  • Pinch the edges together carefully.
  • Place the pastries on the greased baking sheets.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
  • For ones with sweet fillings dust with icing sugar whilst still warm.

Fillings

You can use lots of savoury or sweet fillings – here are a few suggestions:

  • Date
  • Poppy seed mixture
  • Walnut
  • Hazelnut

All filling must be cool before using.

Date

  • Chop 200g of dried dates.
  • Place in a small saucepan and cover with water (and you can add a little lemon juice).
  • Heat gently and stir.
  • Cook until you have a soft pulp.

 

Poppy Seed Mixture

 

See instructions in an earlier post – ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 1

Walnut

  • Grind 100g of chopped walnuts.
  • Add the nuts to around 3 tablespoons of apricot jam.
  • Mix well together.

 

You can do the same with hazelnuts.

Half French?- Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie 1

Ciasto  pȯłfrancuskie translates as half or semi French pastry.

Now this does not really mean anything to me!

I am going to start this post with a little introduction to two similarly named pastries frequently used in Polish cooking.

  • Ciasto francuskie  – translates as French pastry
  • Ciasto pȯłfrancuskie  – translates as half or semi French pastry.

They are both buttery, unsweetened pastry.

French pastry is puff pastry.

Now I do not intend to write about puff pastry as it is something I am really not inclined to make as it is so time consuming and you can buy ready made version both chilled and frozen which are okay.

Maybe in several years when short of topics I might give it a go!

I am going to write about ciasto pȯłfrancuskie. I  have seen this described as rough puff pastry  – but it  is not – rough puff is slightly easier and quicker than puff pastry  but once again I am not going to write about this.

I have seen many different recipes for this half-French pastry and they fall into three broad categories:

  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – śmietanowe – dough  made with some soured cream.
  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – serowe – dough made with twaróg – curd cheese.
  • ciasto pȯłfrancuskie – drożdźowe – dough made with yeast.

Ciasto  pȯłfrancuskie 1 – with soured cream

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 225g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of soured cream

Method

This dough should be left for around 12 hours in a cool place before using therefore I usually make this in the evening for the next morning.

  • Put the flour into a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and with a knife chop it up roughly.
  • Then with your finger tips rub the butter in until you have fine breadcrumbs.
  • Beat the egg and yolks together.
  • Stir in the egg and some of the soured cream.
  • Bring the dough together, adding as much soured cream as is needed to bring the dough together.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and leave covered in the bowl in a cool place for around 12 hours.
  • *** After 12 Hours ***
  • Preheat the oven to GM7 – 220ºC
  • Grease several baking sheets.
  • Divide the dough into 4 and work with each quarter at a time, leaving the rest in a cool place .
  • Roll the dough out thinly
  • The dough is cut into shapes and a teaspoon of filling added and the pastry sealed as appropriate.

Traditional shapes

  • Squares filled and folded into triangles and sealed
  • Triangles filled and rolled up and formed into crescents
  • Circles filled and folded over into semi-circles and sealed.

I found that the circles using a 7cm cutter were the easiest to handle and gave the best filling to to pastry ratio and am sticking to this size and shape.

 

Filling ideas

  • Jam – I found this often escapes from the pastry – lots of care  is needed.
  • Poppy Seed Mix  – * see below
  • Mincemeat – This English fruit mix would be recognised in Poland as bakalie -Balkan mix.

 

 

  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes till golden brown
  • Dust with icing sugar whilst still warm.

 

 

Poppy Seed Filling

I make this amount of  poppy seed filling and then divide it into 4 or 5 small batches and freeze them for later use.

Ingredients

  • 200g poppy seeds
  • 500ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 120 ml runny honey & 1 tablespoon
  • 25g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • optional 1 teaspoon of  rum

Method

  • Put the poppy seeds and milk into a saucepan and simmer then together for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop any sticking or burning. The aim is to cook the seeds and adsorb as much of the milk as possible. You need to watch this carefully and keep adjusting the heat to stop the mixture burning.
  • Using a fine sieve, strain the poppy seeds from the liquid – leave this for a while to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • The poppy seeds need to be crushed, I use a hand held blender for about 5 minutes which I find is the easiest way but you can use a pestle and mortar or a mincer.
  • Once crushed, place the poppy seeds back into a saucepan and add the ground almonds, the vanilla essence and the 120ml of honey and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the butter to the mixture and simmer gently for about 5 minutes and then leave this mixture to cool completely and then add the rum.
  • Whisk the 1 tablespoon of honey with the egg yolk until this is thick and creamy and then add this to the mixture.
  • Optional – add a teaspoon of rum.

 

Kopytka z serem- Cheesy Potato Dumplings

I wrote about kopytka – Polish potato dumplings a good while back.

Since then I have tried another version which uses cheese as well as potatoes.

Traditional recipes use twaróg – Polish curd cheese – I have found that crumbly, white, mild, English cheeses such as: Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale are also good.

Whilst looking at many recipes, I saw that the proportions of boiled potatoes to cheese varied greatly.

I have gone for roughly equal weights of boiled starchy potatoes to cheese.

The exact amounts are not critical but you must use starchy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper.

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Serve with either melted butter, à la Polonaise (buttered breadcrumbs) or skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) or a hot sauce such as mushroom.

Ingredients

  • 300g of boiled starchy potatoes
  • 300g of twaróg (curd cheese) or white, crumbly cheese such as Lancashire
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 160 – 200g of plain flour
  • Salt
  • Oil to add to water for boiling

Method

Use a large bowl and put the cold boiled potatoes into the bowl.

Crumble the cheese and add it to the potatoes and mash them both together.

Add the yolks to the mixture.

Add a little salt.

Weigh out the flour to give an idea of how much is needed; this will depend on the type of potato and the size of the eggs.  Add the flour and mix first with a wooden spoon and then by hand, you might not need all the flour or you may need more. Mix until you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough into quarters and using a floured board shape the dough and roll it with you hands until you have a long sausage about 3cm in diameter.  If the dough sticks to the board then you need to add more flour.

Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into pieces, make the first cut at a diagonal and make the thickness about 1 to 1.5cm. You will get a sort of oval shape.

Repeat this with the rest of the dough.

Fill a large pan with water, add some salt and bring this to the boil.

When the water is boiling, add the dumplings one by one, do not over fill the pan or they will stick together. I tend to do this in 4 batches.

As they cook they will float to the surface, give them about another minute and then remove them with a slotted  or a perforated spoon and put them in a colander. I have a colander sitting in an empty pan by the side of the large pan in which I am boiling the dumplings.

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I find that the maximum from putting  them into the water to taking them out will be 3 minutes, if you cook these too long they will start to fall apart.

Served on –

  • Royal Douton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • J & G Meakin – Topic – around 1967
  • Wedgwood – Chelsea garden – early 21st century.

Here served as suggested above with  melted butter, with skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) and a gulasz.

Not Quite a Cheesecake

For this recipe you can  use twaróg, curd cheese, cream cheese or yoghurt cheese but it is quite a bit different from my usual Polish baked cheesecake.

It is a more a ground almond cake with strawberries on top.

I used the last pickings of strawberries from my garden this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used my own yoghurt cheese and squeezed it out in a cloth to get rid of as much excess liquid (whey) as possible.

Ingredients

  • 115g Butter
  • 115g Caster sugar
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 2 tablespoons of cornflour or potato flour
  • 175g Ground almonds
  • 200g Twaróg , Curd cheese or Yoghurt Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Topping
  • Strawberries & 1/2 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • Optional – Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Line a 20cm in diameter loose bottomed cake tin with a bought paper cake liner.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 190°C
  • 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 in the egg whites into the cake mixture.
  • Put the cake mixture into the lined tin.
  • Slice the strawberries and place these on the top and sprinkle them with the sugar.
  • 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.

 

 

  • Served here on tea plates – Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

Variations

  • More strawberries on to top would have been okay.
  • Other red summer fruits such as raspberries, blackberries or whinberries (bilberries) would also work well.

Caraway & Dill & Parsley

When I think of Polish cooking three popular herbs which always spring to mind are caraway, dill and parsley.

They all  belong to the Apiaceae family which includes  carrot and celery. 

This family is also called  Umbelliferae (from the Latin – umbella  – for parasol or sunshade) – the flower heads consists of umbels  which have equal length flower stalks coming from a central point which forms a flattened head – rather like an umberella.

Carum carvi is caraway –  kminek – in Polish.

It  is native to  Europe,  North Africa & Western Asia.

Caraway – Drawing taken from Wikapedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway  fruits are often called seeds.

Caraway is thought to be an aid to digestion.

In 2011 Finland supplied over 25% of the world’s caraway.

 

 

 

Caraway is often added to rye bread, to dishes with sauerkraut and also many meat dishes,  especially pork, such as Sauerkraut & BaconPork & Prunes  and  Pork & Sauerkraut Gulasz.

Caraway  is often  added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese)

 

Anethum graveolens is dill – koperek  – in Polish.

Dill is grown for its leaves, which are fern like, and its seeds.

Dill leaves are  best when used fresh  (I never bother with dried dill).

 

 

 

 

 

Dill  leaves are used as a topping for many salads and for boiled new potatoes.

 

 

 


Dill leaves are added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese) and smetana (soured cream).

Dill leaves are used in sauces including ones served with fish.

 

 

Dill seeds are similar in flavour to caraway seeds.

Dill seeds are used in dill pickles –    – which are cucumbers preserved in brine – Ogórki – Gherkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name of the Polish astronomer  – Copernicus  in Polish is  Kopernik (so in Polish he is Mr Dill!)

Petroselinum crispum is flat leaf parsley – pietruszka –  in Polish

Flat Leaved Parsley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped flat leafed parsley  leaves are added as a garnish or topping for many salads and savoury dishes.

 

 

Petroselinum crispum tubersum

This is Parsley root or Hamburg parsley.

Flat leafed parsley is also grown for its white tap root which looks a lot like parsnip and is also used in  Polish cookery, often added to casseroles.

I have seen this for sale in Polish markets, you might find it in the larger Polish shops that have fresh produce.

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Parsley root grated with apple or pear and with added lemon juice is one suggestion for a fresh salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Pancakes

Daucus carota – the carrot – was cultivated from wild carrots in the countries we now know as Afghanistan & Iran and are mentioned there in the 10th century and by the 12th century they were mentioned in Europe.

These tap roots were originally white, yellow or purple in colour.

The orange colour that we recognise today was breed by growers in Europe in the 17th century especially in the Netherlands.  It is thought that this was in honour of Prince William of Orange-Nassau (Willem van Oranje) who had an orange stripe on his flag. Nowadays orange is thought of as the national colour for the Netherlands.

These pancakes made with carrots in Polish are called racuszki z marchwi.

They are small round pancakes like American pancakes or dropped scones and are served with sugar or sweetened soured cream.

Ingredients

450g carrots, peeled and finely grated

140g twaróg/cream cheese or yoghurt cheese

2 eggs separated

3 tablespoons of plain flour

1/2  teaspoon of baking powder

Sunflower oil for frying

To Serve

Caster sugar or soured cream sweetened with icing sugar.

Method

Whisk the whites until they are stiff.

In a small dish mix the baking powder with the flour.

In a large bowl mix together well the finely grated carrots, the cream (or yoghurt) cheese and the egg yolks.

Add the flour mixture.

Fold in the stiff egg whites.

Heat some sunflower oil in a cast iron frying pan or griddle.

Use 2 tablespoonfuls of the mixture for each pancake, cook on one side and then turn them over and cook on the other side.

Sprinkle with caster sugar or with a dollop of sweetened soured cream.

 

 

Served here on Wedgwood – Hathaway Rose – 1959 -1987.

Note

I have also tried them with maple syrup poured on them & these were also delicious.

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Beetroot & Chocolate Cake

I had a request from the 93 year old mother of one of my friends to make her a cake that included beetroot in the ingredients – maybe a red velvet cake.

Now I had never seen one of these cakes and certainly never made one and I did have doubts about it.

I did some research and found lots of recipes for red velvet cakes but nearly all of them used just red food colouring.

I then found a recipe for a cake using beetroot and tested it out and surprisingly it came out very, very well. The recipe uses sunflower oil and is an easy to make batter cake.

This is not a traditional Polish recipe at all but it does contain a favourite Polish vegetable – namely – beetroot.

Ingredients

250g cooked beetroots (I used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroots  – 1 pack is more than enough)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

300g caster sugar

250ml sunflower oil

3 eggs

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

Method

Grease and line a  21 x 31 cm baking tin.

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4 – 180ºC

Drain the beetroots from the water and place in a sieve for a while to ensure they are dry – you can dry them with some kitchen roll as well.

Purée the beetroots – using a food chopper or blender

In a large bowl combine the puréed beetroots, eggs, vanilla essence, oil and sugar.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa.

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Add the dry ingredients to the other bowl and beat well together.

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Pour the batter mixture into the prepared tin.

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Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Test if done with a cake tester or wooden skewer.

Leave to cool in the tin.

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The cake is delicious and moist – it has a slightly red tinge to the very dark nearly black colour.

Here I have just served it plain.

Served on Royal Doulton, Counterpoint, 1973 – 1987.

You can dust the top  with icing sugar if desired.

The cake is delicious on its own but many versions have a topping of some description.

I made one using butter, cream cheese ( or yoghurt cheese), icing sugar and lemon.

Ingredients for Topping

50g butter

100g of full fat cream cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

250 – 300g icing sugar

Method

The butter needs to be at room temperature.

Cream the butter, lemon rind, lemon juice and the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Slowly add the icing sugar and mix well in until it is smooth and firm enough to use as a topping.

You can make the topping ahead of time and keep it in a container in the fridge – topping the cake later when needed.

Take care not to get too many brown cake crumbs in the icing when spreading it on the cake.

Served on Colclough, Enchantment, tea plates from the 1960s

with Portmeirion, Crazy Daisy, pastry forks.

The cake was voted delicious!