I came across this recipe for a yeast dough mazurek in this little recipe book and was very intrigued by the method which is quite different from the usual yeast doughs and thought I would give it a go!
It turned out very well.
450g plain flour
100g granulated sugar
200g butter or block margarine
50g fresh yeast or 25g of dried yeast
190 ml of milk
200g of bakalie (dried fruits including currants, raisins, peel, figs, dates, prunes etc)
Warm the milk to hand heat and mix in the yeast.
Melt the butter on a gently heat.
In a bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until they are light and fluffy.
Add the melted butter.
Add the milk and yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.
Leave in a warm place for 8 hours!
Grease and line a large baking tray 33cm x 24cm
Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C
Mix the bakalie(dried fruits) with the flour.
Mix the flour and fruits with the yeast mixture.
Place the dough into the tin – spreading it out evenly.
Place the dough onto the tray and put in the oven.
Bake for around 25 – 30 minutes.
Prick the surface of the cake with a fork in several places.
Leave it to cool in the tin for a while and then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
Pour the hot chocolate topping over the top.
30g of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of cocoa
2 – 3 tablespoons of water
You could double this amount if you want to it to cover all over and be a bit thicker.
In a small saucepan gently melt the butter and sugar .
Add the cocoa and water and mix it till it is all blended together.
You can decorate the top with dried fruit and nuts – you would really need to do double the topping ingredients for this,
Served on Royal Doulton – Counterpoint – 1973 – 1987
Most people know that a mazurek (mazurka in English) is a Polish folk dance. It is also the word for someone or something from Mazur (the region known as Mazowsze in Polish) in North Central Poland.
A tasty meaning of mazurek, is a flat Polish cake made with different bases and toppings. The varieties are seemingly endless and vary from region to region and family to family. They can be made with yeast doughs, crumbly shortbread-like doughs (ciasto kruche) or flaky, puff-pastry-like doughs.
The mazurek is usually baked in a rectangular or square shape.
The topping varieties include: almond paste, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, meringues, kajmak, jam or poppy seed paste.
There is often an icing of some sort poured over the topping.
A mazurek is rarely over 2.5 cm (1 inch) in height.
It is thought that the mazurek, was inspired by sweet Turkish desserts that came to Poland via the spice trade routes from Turkey in the early 17th century .
Mazurek is traditionally served at Easter when it is considered an Easter treat after 40 days of fasting for Lent and this is maybe why this cake is so sweet.
Another reason is that Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, is a busy one in a Polish household as the interior and exterior of the house is cleaned from top to bottom so any baking that could be prepared well in advance of Easter Sunday without getting stale was good and the mazurek, often made with an over-abundance of dried fruits to keep it moist is well suited to this.
When the top of an Easter mazurek is iced , it typically is emblazoned with the words “Alleluja” or “Wesołego Alleluja“ (Happy Alleluja or Happy Easter).
Legend has it that in nearly 3,000 years BC the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung, was sitting outside when leaves from the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis fell into some boiling water which he then tasted – and so tea was born!
Traders from the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie)(VOC) first brought tea from China to Holland at the beginning of the 17th century where it became very popular & it was Dutch traders that brought tea to Poland.
Tea is mentioned in the mid 17th century by King Jan Kazimierz II (1609-1672) in a letter to his wife Ludowika Maria(1611-1667) and the drink became very popular with the nobility.
Tea in Polish is herbata which comes from the Dutch Herba thee & which earlier may have been from the Latin Herba thea.
Cza (cha) – is a Chinese word for tea and in Polish the word for a teapot is czajnik.
Poland – a country of tea drinkers
I think tea could be classed as Poland’s national drink and per capita per annum the Polish consumption is the 4th in Europe (figures from 2014) following Ireland, the UK and Russia & in 9th place globally, ahead of Japan and Saudi Arabia.
A typical Pole drinks a glass of tea for breakfast, lunch, dinner & supper and in between as well.
Serving Tea in Poland
Tea is served as “black” tea – though in fact it is very light weak tea – it is never served with milk. It is served on its own or with slices of lemon or a small amount of fruit syrup such as cherry or raspberry.
The syrup in the photographs below is raspberry – malina
Tea was often served with honey although nowadays it is more likely to be served with sugar. However I usually drink my tea without sweetness, except when I add some fruit syrup.
Polish honey from the lime tree also know as the linden tree.
The Polish for July is lipiec – meaning the month of the linden blossom – many Polish cities have parks and avenues with linden trees & in July the air is heady with the scent.
Porcelain lidded sugar bowl by TCM Germany – bought in a second hand shop in Krakòw
The tradition way is to brew a very strong solution of tea called esencja (essence) and this is poured into a glass or cup and boiling water added to make a very light coloured – weak tea.
Often a samowar was used with the strong essence of tea kept in the little teapot (often this could be a little enamel pot) and the samowar is used to boil the water and keep the essence warm.
Samo means by itself …. war means to heat or to boil.
The photographs are of my samowar which is electric – It was made in the 1980s.
My father talked about their samowar in Poland which had a tube in the centre into which you put hot charcoal to heat the water.
Nowadays tea bags are often used and a very popular brand is Yellow Label from Unilever Polska – Liptons .
Thomas Lipton(1848-1931) was from Glasgow, Scotland and Lipton Yellow Label has been sold since 1890 when the first version of the Yellow pack with a red Lipton shield was used.
Strangely enough this brand of tea is not marketed in the UK – I used to bring it back from Poland – now I can buy it in all the Polish shops.
Tea was always served in tall glasses often with a holder of metal or straw . Many years ago I had a big clear out and got rid of my straw holders – I so regret that now!
Images below from photos on the World Wide Web
Last Saturday, I went to the second hand market in Huddersfield and found 2 pairs of tea glass holders, 1 pair in stainless steel & 1 pair in silver plate. They have cleaned up very well – I am so pleased I found them.
Glass handled mugs are a substitute.
China cups and saucers are also used on many occasions –
These biscuits are not at all Polish in origin – I like to think of them as a Scottish & Polish Alliance!
Cranberries & Lingonberries
Cranberries and lingonberries grow wild in acidic bogs around many forests in Poland and especially in the countryside where my father lived, in what was North East Poland before the war.
Cranberries & Lingonberries belong to the genus Vaccinium and the plants are small, low growing, evergreen shrubs
Cranberries in central and northern Europe are Vaccinium oxycoccos , whilst Vaccinium microcarpum or Vaccinium macrocarpon are to be found in the USA.
Lingonberries are Vaccinium vitis-idaea .
The berries of the cranberry are larger and oval.
The berries of the lingonberry are round and much smaller than the cranberry, about a third or quarter of the size.
Image of lingonberries taken from Wikipedia
The Polish for cranberry is żurawina, the word comes from żuraw which means a crane – so the same as the English word, as parts of the plant reminded people of the bird.
The Polish for lingonberry is borówka or borowina, both these names contain the part bor which means (from) the forest.
1 -There are dozens of different names in English for lingonberry which in facts comes from the Swedish name.
2- The commercially grown dried cranberries used in this recipe were grown in the USA.
Oats (Avena sativa) – owiec in Polish, are grown in Poland but for this recipe I have considered them Scottish!
Royal Scottish – Polish Alliance!
The mother of Bonnie Prince Charlie(1720-1788) was – Maria Klementyna Sobieska(1702-1735) – she was the granddaughter of the Polish King Jan III Sobieski(1629-1696) and she married James Stuart(1688-1766), The Pretender.
In March 2016, The Scotsman printed an article titled
Scotland and Poland a 500 year relationship.
Some of the facts & figures below are taken from this.
More Polish nationals now live in Scotland than any other group from outside the UK and the two countries share a rich history.
The links were forged back in the late 1400s when trade agreements were established between Aberdeen and the old Baltic seaport of Gdańsk.
Under King Stefan Batory(1533-1586), Scottish merchants became suppliers to the royal court in Kraków and grain and timber from Poland was traded with Scotland.
Many Scots moved to Poland to seize new business opportunities and buried in St John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw is Alexander Chalmers (written as Czamer) , from Dyce near Aberdeen, a judge and four times mayor of Warsaw between 1691 and 1703.
There are many surnames in Poland which are Scottish in origin such as: Machlejd(MacLeod), Makolroys(MacElroy) and Szynklers(Sinclaire).
Around 38,000 Polish soldiers were stationed in Scotland after the fall of Poland in WW2 and many of those who were unable to return to their homeland after the end of the war stayed and it is estimated that around 2,500 Polish-Scottish marriages took place around this period.
There was a wave of immigration in the 1980s with the declaration of Martial Law in Poland and then again after 2004 when Poland joined the European Union.
One of the most popular brands of tea sold in Poland is Yellow label which was created by Sir Thomas Lipton( 1848-1931) who was from Glasgow, Scotland.
Since 1995 Krakòw has been twinned with Edinburgh.
100g butter or block margarine
100g granulated sugar
5ml of golden syrup
5ml of boiling water
100g of self raising flour
100g of rolled oats
50g of dried cranberries
Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
Grease at least 2 baking trays – (you will have to take the biscuits off when they are cooked and re-grease these tins.)
Place the butter or margarine in a pan with the granulated sugar and heat slowly so that the butter is melted.
Add the teaspoon of golden syrup and then the teaspoon of boiling water and mix well together.
Take the pan off the heat, add the flour and oats and mix this together.
Then mix in the cranberries.
Using your hands, make small balls and place them on the trays, leaving space around them as they will spread.
Place in the oven and bake for around 8 – 10 minutes, watch them carefully as they suddenly seem to catch & burn.
I often look at them half way through and flatten them with a spatula.
Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool a little before you use a spatula to take them of the trays and leave them to fully cool on a wire cooling rack.
Plate is by Royal Grafton – no pattern name – made in England