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).
Babka is the name of a Polish cake. The name means grandmother and it is thought to refer to the the shape of the cake which is round and dumpy or tall and tapered and looks like the full and pleated skirts found in Polish costumes.
A yeast babka is a classic Polish cake. It is usually made with the addition of some dried fruits or peel.
A yeast babka is traditional for Easter Sunday.
My mother never had much success with making yeast cakes and so abandoned the process.
In the past I have tried to make a yeast babka also without much success.
Once I started writing this blog I went back to my old Polish cookery book – “my bible”
Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery – 15th edition published in 1971.
I used one of the recipes from this book and the result was wonderful!
I have now realised where I was going wrong:
I had been treating this cake as if I was making bread and in fact the technique is quite different.
You have to use ordinary plain flour not strong flour.
The mixture is a batter – you do not knead it.
You have to have lots of patience – the yeast can take hours and hours to rise.
The yeast will rise even in a coldish kitchen – it just takes a long time – even overnight or in the fridge.
I used dried yeast for this recipe as that is easier for me and nearer to using fresh yeast.
I am sure you can adapt this to use the quick action yeast although I have not tried this myself.
100g plain flour
250 ml of milk
50g of fresh yeast or 25g of dried yeast
25g of granulated sugar
Rest of cake
5 egg yolks
150g of granulated sugar
400g of plain flour
pinch of salt
2 drops of vanilla essence
100g of melted butter or margarine
50g of raisins or sultanas
First make the starter
Mix together the yeast and sugar.
Add this to the milk and flour.
Leave in to bubble and rise to around double its size.
Grease and flour a babka tin
Pre-heat the oven to GM5
Place the egg yolks and the sugar in a bowl and whisk until they are pale and creamy.
Add the rest of the flour, the risen starter, the pinch of salt and the drops of vanilla essence and mix it all together.
Add the melted butter a little at a time, mixing it in after each addition.
Add the raisins or sultanas and mix them well in so you have a unified mixture.
Place the mixture in the prepared tin – it should fill around a 1/3rd of the tin.
Cover the tin with a clean tea towel and leave the mixture to rise and nearly fill the tin.
This can take several hours.
Bake in the oven for around 40 to 45 minutes.
Leave to cool and then carefully remove out of the tin.
Dust with icing sugar.
The tea plates are Greenway Hostess designed by John Russell 1960 – 1979.
The babka for Easter is normally glazed with a thin icing made with lemon juice & icing sugar or instead of lemon juice you can use vanilla essence and a little water or you can use rum.
Also prior to this glaze you can make a poncz (this word originates from the English word punch) and drizzle this over the babka.
A rum poncz can be made from around 150ml of weak black tea, 45 ml of rum, 1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. These are mixed together until the sugar has dissolved. (You can use tepid tea to dissolve the sugar but not too hot to evaporate the rum.)
A lemon poncz can be make from the juice of a lemon and around 2 tablespoons of icing sugar.
A yeast cake which is fresh will not absorb as much of the liquid poncz, so if you have time you can made this the day before you want add the poncz or wait for several hours at least.
I am hoping to make a yeast babka for Easter with a glaze and will include photos of this in my post for Easter.