Recently I have been watching my box set of Fawlty Towers DVDs, which is still so amusing after all these years.
Whilst watching the episode with the American guest and the Waldorf salad – when famously Basil Fawlty says “I think we’re just out of waldorfs” – I thought – I have never actually had that -must look it up and make it!
Waldorf salad was created by Oscar Tschirky, a Swiss-American, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1896.
The original was made with celery, apple and grapes – nuts were added a bit later.
Either use green skinned apples for an all green look or red skinned for a nice contrast.
Toasted walnuts are delicious – just take care and watch them so you do not burn them!
6 sticks of celery
2 eating apples – Braeburn are good
100g walnuts – toasted
100 -150g of seedless green grapes
2-3 tablespoons of full fat mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
Crispy lettuce leaves to serve
Trim the celery and cut into small slices.
Core the apples and chop into small pieces
Chop the toasted walnut into small pieces
Cut the grapes into halves
Mix the celery, apples, nuts and grapes together
Mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice
Mix the dressing with the salad
Hand shred the lettuce leaves and put them in the bottom of a shallow bowl
Heap the salad on top of the lettuce
For individual servings put one or two lettuce leaves per person in a small dish and spoon some salad in the middle.
So I have decided on this Polish classic with a new twist – one I will certainly be making again.
Last Easter time I was in Gdańsk and I got to eat many old favourites and several new dishes.
I tried pierogi in several restaurants, choosing some unusual fillings and have written about some of these already such as pierogi with duck.
I did find that some of the meaty ones were too big – I use a 7cm diameter cutter, which for me gives a better filling to pasta ratio.
On one menu I noticed a filling of chicken, raisins and walnuts. I did not get the chance to eat these but decided that this was a must to try out.
150 -200g of cooked chicken or thighs – roasted or poached – amounts are not critical.
50g of raisins
30-50g of walnuts
Pepper to taste
Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water.
Leave for an hour till they swell up.
Place them into a small saucepan heat them slowly and simmer stirring with a wooden spoon.
Once you have a pulp of the raisins leave them to go cold.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
Chop or mince the chicken.
Mix the ingredients together.
Season with pepper.
Use this filling for the pierogi – instructions for the dough are given below.
Serve with melted butter.
I have written much previously about pierogi – but have included the instructions for the dough again below to save you looking it up.
Ingredients – Dough
250g pasta flour or strong flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
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.
Cut the dough into quarters.
On a floured board roll out a quarter at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
Now prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
Have a large surface such as a tray covered with a cotton or linen cloth which has been lightly floured ready and place the sealed pierogi on this until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
I cut them out using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
Around a half tablespoon of filling is put on each circle and then they are folded over and the edges pinched 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 to me 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.
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 8 at a time.
As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put them into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain.
Continue boiling batches in the same water.
If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get a large shallow dish and put melted butter into the dish.
Keep the dish warm in a low oven.
As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the dish, mix them with the butter to prevent them sticking.
Keep on adding more as they cook and keep shaking the dish to coat and mix them.
All the butter coated pierogi that are not eaten can be fried up later – equally delicious!
Any that are not eaten should be spread out so that they cool with the melted butter around them.
Later, you can then fry them up gently so they are golden in parts.
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.
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
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.