Krystyna’s Plum Cake

I have very fond memories of the first time I tasted this cake, it was a very warm, late summer’s day in the land of a thousand lakes in North East Poland – the Mazurian Lakes.

 

 

My cousin Krystyna went outside and came back in with one basket of eggs she had collected and another of ripe plums from one of the trees outside.  We set to and made this cake to her recipe, calling in the other cousins to eat it as soon as it was cool enough!

The contrasts between the texture of the cake and cooked plums and also the sweetness of the cake and the slight tartness of the plums make this a cake to remember.

The use of oil means this is a relevantly modern recipe & it is so easy to make.

The original recipe was made using metric cups but I have converted it to weights as I am happier using these.

I make this using Victoria Plums.

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Ingredients

350 – 400g of plums  –  small plums are best

4 eggs

170g granulated sugar

200g self raising flour

60ml sunflower oil

Icing sugar – to dust

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas mark 4 – 1800C

Take a roasting tin around 22cm by 31 cm and use one piece of greaseproof paper to line the 2 long sides and the base.

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Cut the plums into quarters and take out the stones.

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Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy.

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Add the oil and the flour and lightly beat everything together to make a thick batter.

Pour the batter into the roasting tin.

Place the cut plums, skin side down in rows on the batter until the top is full – they will start to sink – do not worry.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar when it has cooled slightly.

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Cut into squares to serve.

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Tea plates are Counterpoint (1973 – 1987) by  Royal Doulton.

Note

If you have any cake left, it is better not to cover it with too airtight a cover as it will go soggy.

 

 

Measure For Measure

I love collecting recipes & getting cookery books & magazines.

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A Selection of Polish Cookbooks

 

 

 

 

I have recipes from Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America as well as from other countries that I have visited & from some I have not.

I write up recipes on cards for many of my favourite recipes as I find it hard to remember all the details and amounts.

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The hardest thing I find is getting the measurements right.

When trying to get a recipe from my mother she would say in Polish things like “ just add enough flour until it is the consistency you want” or ” add the milk until it is right”.

I used to find this so hard, however now I find I say similar things especially when writing for this blog.  It is difficult as there are so many variables that all make a difference, such as the type of flour, the temperature & humidity in the kitchen and so on.

At least you can be sure with weights & measures!

Well sadly  – not always – hence this post.

For many recipes the exact amounts do not matter that much however with cakes & pastries the correct proportions do matter .

Let me start with weights.

I used to use pounds & ounces – especially when this was how everything in England was sold & how it was written in books.

Many years ago  I bought some balance scales and a set of metric weights.

Balance scales I think are more accurate than the ones with just one top pan especially for small weights & I love the way they work.

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I know the new electronic scales are good especially as you can zero the bowl and add ingredients – I just love using the balance scales – there is a sense of symmetry that just appeals to me.

Well going totally metric has not happened in England but recipe books & magazines tend to be in metric and imperial  –  I just stick to the metric.

At least I thought I am safe with my Polish books as they use metric weights!

How wrong I was!

Some of my Polish cookery books are written using grams & kilograms – but not all of them and especially not my favourite old book – which was also my first.

Kuchnia Polska - Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery
Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

In this book the weights are given in dekagrams (decagrams) – abbreviated to dkg  (deka is from  Greek and means 10 – so  1 dekagram is 10grams.

When I went to Poland I found that when shopping for food my cousins all talked in deko or deka and they would ask for 20 deka of  sausage when I would have asked for 200grams.

So not too big an adjustment to make when using a recipe however my biggest problem was not concentrating and half way through I would forget and when seeing for example 25dkg of something – I would add 25g!

I did have a few disasters!

Now I always write out the weights in grams – usually on post it notes & leave these in the book – especially for recipes I use often. This is a useful hint for recipes that you want to halve as well – as lack of concentration halfway through can also  have disastrous results.

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So is it any easier using volume?

Measuring in pints or litres should be easy if you have a jug with graduated markings but there is a little problem as UK pints and American pints are different. An American pint is 16 fluid ounces & a UK pint is 20 fluid ounces.

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In American recipes the quart which is 2 pints  is often used – but the American quart is smaller than a UK quart.  My auntie in America was correct when she said a quart was near enough the same as a litre.

In many American recipe books you will often find that volume measurements in are given in cups.

If you use the same cup as someone else then it is no problem in measuring and not much of a problem with liquids, with solids then it does make a difference in how tightly you pack in the ingredient and how level or heaped is the top.

So no wonder there are charts published which give the weight equivalents for cup volumes of different foodstuffs.

All this then begs the following question

What is a cup?

or in Poland

What is a szklanka (glass/tumbler)?

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A szklanka in Poland is 250ml – a quarter of a litre – this is a metric cup.

An America cup is  is 8 fluid ounces (half an American pint) and approximately 240ml.

There is an Imperial cup which is  10 fluid ounces (half a UK pint) and approximately  284ml  – you might find this in older UK cookery books.

I had a look at some of my cups and found that only 2 of them held the equivalent of an American cup – whereas 2 of my tumblers held 250ml – so definitely a Polish szklanka.

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I found that some of my mugs were the old Imperil cup – half a UK pint

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I looked at my bought measuring cups and saw that they were different  – one was an American cup the other a metric cup  – I must remember that when I use them next.

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What size is your spoon?

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In Europe certainly before 1700 it was common practice to have your own spoon with you when you went travelling.  Just as now when you would rarely leave the house without your wallet, mobile phone and keys, then having our own knife and spoon was very common.  Indeed the English expression ” being born with a silver spoon in your mouth” – refers to this – as well as being rich.

In later times and especially with the introduction of the new invention from Italy of the fork it became more common for households to have sets of cutlery for guests.

Sizes of spoons evolved for different uses but now  in recipes there are mainly 3 sizes used for measuring –  teaspoondessert spoon and  table spoon with  1 tablespoon being  3 teaspoons & 1 dessert spoon being 2 teaspoons.

The sizes of these spoons are different in the UK, in the USA and in Europe with the ones in the USA being nearly the same as the metric ones.

In the UK a teaspoon is nearly 6ml and a table spoon is just under 18ml.

In Europe a teaspoon is 5ml and a tablespoon is 15ml whilst in the USA the teaspoon is just slightly less than 5ml and a tablespoon is just slightly less than 15ml   – so for practical purposes they are the same.

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I have some measuring spoons which have both the UK and metric sizes on them but I have noticed that ones for sale now just have the metric sizes on them.

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Note

I have not covered the variations that are to be found in Australia & Canada & other countries.

In Conclusion

Just be aware of differences in measurements if you are using recipes from other countries.

Make notes & keep them with your recipes, or even rewrite your recipes on cards so you do not forget any changes you make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Racuszki – A Kind of Pancake

A racuch – according  to my dictionary is  a kind of pancake.

Racuszki or racuchy are plural words for them- used much more as you never have just one!  They are small thick pancakes similar to dropped scones, Scotch pancakes or American style pancakes.

In my old Polish recipe book, the recipe uses soured milk, but as I do not have this, I use my own thick yoghurt instead.

Racuszki

1 egg

250ml yoghurt

200g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

large pinch salt.

Method

In a large bowl mix the flour, pinch of salt, the egg and some of the yoghurt, mix it with a wooden spoon. I found my new one with a hole in it which I bought in The Netherlands very good for this.

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Keep adding the yoghurt (and some water if needed) and mix till you get a batter which is thick and then beat it more till it is smooth and glossy.

Then add the bicarbonate of soda and give this a final mix.

Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on the frying pan and cook until the base is set and golden then turn them over and cook the other side.

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They are traditionally served warm with jam or thick fruit syrup – caster sugar also goes well.

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With Sour Cherry Jam

Yoghurt Cheese Pancakes

I have recently been to The Netherlands to stay with my friend and was looking at the local newspaper and saw a recipe for pancakes using qwark  (I can manage enough Dutch words to  figure out some recipes – especially if there is  a photograph!)

I thought they sounded very much like racuszki, so I jotted the recipe down and when I came home I adapted it slightly by using self raising flour, adding a little vanilla essence and used my own yoghurt cheese instead of qwark.

In the original recipe they served them warm with yoghurt & honey, I also tried them with melted butter & sugar, and with maple syrup – from the large bottle I got from my friend who lives in Canada.

 

 

They were super and ones I had left could be easily reheated and were still soft and not rubbery – I will be using this recipe lots from now on.

Ingredients

2 eggs separated

2 tablespoons sugar

250g yoghurt cheese

200ml milk (you might not need it all)

125g self raising flour

Pinch salt

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff – I tend to do this first so you can use the beaters for the rest of the recipe – without having to wash them to remove the grease.

In a large bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar, yoghurt cheese, flour, pinch of salt, vanilla essence and around half the milk.

Keep adding more milk and mix well until you have a thick batter – like double cream.

With a metal spoon fold in the stiff egg whites.

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Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on the frying pan and cook until the base is set and golden then turn them over and cook the other side.

 

Ciocia* Pola’s Apple Racuszki 

*Aunty

Many years ago I went to stay with my one of mother’s sisters (Apolonia) who lived in the area called mazury – the Masurian Lake District in North East Poland.

With apples from the garden she made  racuszki – using a thick yeast risen batter and roughly chopped apples – a cross between a pancake and a fritter. They were delicious.

I have made them here many times using her recipe. Whilst researching and checking other  variations I saw that several recipes used grated apples – these came out stodgy  with little taste of the apple – you need to keep the pieces fairly large.

Ingredients

125 ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

25g caster sugar and 1 teaspoon

10g  fresh yeast or 5g  dried yeast

25g  butter

1 egg

125g plain flour

pinch of salt

2 Bramley apples

Icing sugar, caster sugar or cinnamon  sugar to dust.

Method

Warm half the milk and add a teaspoon of caster sugar and the yeast and mix it all together and leave it to froth up.

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Melt the butter and leave it to cool.

Whisk the egg with the sugar until it is thick and creamy.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Use a wooden spoon (one with a hole works really well) and beat in the yeast mixture, the egg & sugar mixture and then the melted butter.

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Slowly add the rest of the milk, mixing until the mixture has the consistency of double cream.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave this to rise.

Peel, core and quarter the apples and cut them into small chunks or slices cut in half.

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Add the apples to the risen batter and mix them well in to coat them.

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Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place large tablespoons of apple and batter onto the pan and cook them so that they are golden brown on both sides.

 

Remove them from the pan and dust them with icing sugar, caster sugar or cinnamon sugar.

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Eat them whilst they are hot & as they say in Poland – Smacznego! (may they be delicious!)

Buckwheat, Bliny & More

Buckwheat

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum) is used very much in Polish cookery as the plant grows well in a cold climate.  Buckwheat requires a well drained soil but without too much fertiliser  –  lots of fertiliser reduces the yield.  It is not in fact a grass or cereal crop but the flour is used in much the same way as wheat.

Buckwheat is related to sorrel and rhubarb and has small triangular seeds. The plant originated in South East Asia and then was brought to Europe.

I have read that it came to Poland via Manchuria and Siberia but the Polish word for buckwheat –  gryka indicates that it came from the Greeks – I have also read that the plant was brought to areas of what are now  Eastern Poland, Russia & the Ukraine in the 7th century by Byzantine Greeks. 

Another regional word used in Polish for buckwheat is hreczka – this again suggests a Greek origin.

Photographs from the book Kuchnia Polska by Maciej Kuroń

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The triangular seeds have a strong scent which is quite distinctive and the flour is grey/speckled black in colour.  It is mixed with wheat flour to make pancakes and bliny.

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Bliny are popular in Eastern Poland and in the  area called Kresy – the Eastern Borderlands –  from where both my parents came as well as in the Ukraine and Russia.

The word bliny is plural – I doubt very much if the singular blin is much used!

Bliny are best cooked on a griddle or a cast iron frying pan.

Bliny are small risen pancakes made using yeast  they are  in the American style of pancake.

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Bliny can be served warm or cold – I much prefer them warm!

Bliny

Ingredients

80g plain flour

80g buckwheat flour

1 egg

125 ml warm milk (full or semi-skimmed)

125 ml warm water

25g fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dried yeast

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of melted butter

Pinch of salt

Method

Put the yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl and leave to rise. (You can place this over bowl of warm water).

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Wheat Flour & Buckwheat Flour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a large bowl mix the flours together and add yeast mixture and then the beaten egg.

Add the water bit by bit until the mixture is like pouring cream, you might not need it all.

Add the pinch of salt and the melted butter then cover with a cloth and leave to rise.

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Use the risen batter to make small pancakes by using 1 large tablespoon per pancake –  I make 3 or 4 at a time in my  lightly greased cast iron pan.

Once you get the pan hot, lower the heat to a steady low so as not to burn the bliny.

Once they are cooked on one side, turn then over using a spatula and cook for a few minutes more.

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Serving suggestions

Serve the bliny with any of the following: melted butter, soured cream, twaróg, yoghurt cheese or cream cheese,  smoked salmon,  pickled herrings or even caviar,  gherkins, fried onions, skwarki (crispy bacon bits) fried mushrooms and one of my favourites a fried egg.

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Served With Yoghurt Cheese and Chopped Parsley

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Served with Melted Butter

 

 

Buckwheat Pancakes

These are thin pancakes and are also very popular in Northern France where they are called gallettes de sarrasin.

The French for buckwheat is  sarrasin or blé noir.

Many years ago whilst on holiday in France I bought and brought home a very large French pancake pan.

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However on my gas stove it is too large for a good distribution of heat – you get a hot spot in the centre which tends to burn that part – so I use my smaller pancake pan.

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Last week whilst in a department store in Leeds I saw the following – An Electric Crêpe Pan – It might be good.

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Ingredients

75g buckwheat flour

25g plain flour

2 eggs

120ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

120ml of water

25g of  melted butter

pinch of salt

Some extra milk might be needed.

Method

Make these in the same way as standard pancakes adding the melted butter after the batter has been standing for about an hour.

I think these pancakes are best with savoury fillings and my favourite is in fact French in origin, Breton style with a slice of good ham, grated Gruyère cheese and a soft fried egg.

The fillings are put on the cooked pancake and the sides are folded over but with the filling still showing in the centre. (You can put this back on the pan to heat it a little more.)

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Melted Butter & Grated Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Melted Butter, Grated Cheese & Fried Egg

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Poffertjes

These mini buckwheat pancakes are Dutch in origin and it was only as I was trying out the recipes again that I realised how similar they are to bliny – but these are not served with savoury toppings but with icing sugar.

(The Dutch for buckwheat is boekweit)

Several decades ago when on a visit to The Netherlands I bought a special cast iron pan which is used for making poffertjes .

It was in the days before cheap flights & just hand luggage and  I had travelled there by car – not as easy to bring home without.

If you do not have access to the authentic pan  you can make them on a frying pan – my cast iron pan works very well.

 

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Cast Iron Proffertje Pan with 19 Indentations

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Poffertjes

Ingredients

10g dried yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

125g buckwheat flour

125 plain flour

Pinch of salt

1 egg

350ml of full fat or semi-skimmed milk – warmed slightly

1 tablespoon of  butter – melted

Icing sugar to serve.

Method

In a small bowl or jug dissolve the sugar, the yeast and around 50 ml of the milk.

Leave for around 10 minutes or so as  it froths up.

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In a separate bowl, combine the  buckwheat and wheat flours, salt, egg, yeast mixture and half the remaining milk and mix well.

Now add the remaining milk  until the mixture is like double cream – you might not need all the milk.

Add the melted butter.

Cover the bowl and leave for around 1 hour until the mixture has bubbled and risen.

Lightly grease the pan and heat the pan – keep it the pan warm but not too hot or you will burn the poffertjes.

Using a teaspoon fill each indentation in the pan – you need around 2 teaspoons for each.

Turn the poffertjes around as soon as the bottom has set, using two forks.

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Dredge the poffertjes with lots of icing sugar.

 

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Using a Cast Iron Frying pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Canadian Alternative!

One of my friends who now lives in Canada brought me a large bottle of maple syrup on her last visit and I tried this over the poffertjes instead of the icing sugar – they were delicious.

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Another Cheesecake!

I had not planned to write about cheesecakes again so soon but recently I had made lots of yoghurt cheese and I decided to make a baked cheesecake for my visitors.

There are so many variations you can make of baked cheesecakes – here is one with a chocolate and an orangey twist.

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I had a packet of milk chocolate digestive biscuits already opened and  I thought I would try  a variation on my usual recipe.

Ingredients for the base

100- 150g of chocolate digestive digestive biscuits (milk or dark)

50 – 75g of butter

A few chunks of dark chocolate

Method

Grease a spring-form or loose bottomed tin with melted butter. (You can use a 7.5cm, 8cm or 8.5cm tin – adjust the amounts of the base ingredients to suit.)

Crush the biscuits in a bowl.

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat then add the chocolate and let it melt.

Add the butter & chocolate mix to the biscuits and mix them all together.

Press the mixture into the base of the tin and leave it to cool completely.

Once cool you can put it the tin into the fridge whilst you make the yoghurt cheese mixture.

Ingredients for yoghurt cheese mixture

Around 450g of yoghurt cheese (or use cream cheese)

3 eggs separated

80g of caster sugar

60g of chopped mixed peel (I use the peel from Marks & Spencer)

2 tablespoons of custard powder

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The custard powder helps as the yoghurt cheese is often quite “wet” – this is a tip I got from the book   Eat Well  The Yochee Way   by Nikki & David Goldbeck.

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Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 150ºC.

Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar till they are pale and fluffy.

Lightly whisk in the yoghurt cheese and the custard powder till it is all well combined.

Mix in the mixed peel.

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold them into the mixture with a metal spoon.

Pour the mixture onto on the biscuit base.

 

 

Bake in the oven for  50 minutes.

When the cake is ready switch off the oven and leave it in there for at least 40 minutes.

Take out the cake to cool.

Once it is cold – take the cake out of the tin by loosening the outer ring or placing the cake tin with the loose bottom on a tin can and sliding the cake tin down.

Dust the cake with icing sugar before serving.

I think this cake is best made the day before you want to serve it – so it is well cooled and set.

 

The blue & white table cloth is a new 100% cotton one from Ikea.

The tea plate is Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

Madeleine Cakes

I was in Marks & Spencer’s and saw these lovely tins and thought   “I must try these“.

I bought 2 tins and then the following week I got another and after trying out some recipes I bought a 4th.

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Madeleines are very small sponge cakes baked in tins with shell-shaped depressions.

Of course you can make then in small bun tins if you want to see if you like them before investing in the tins.

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They originated from the Lorraine region in France.

When looking for recipes I thought that these did not have a Polish connection but in fact they do!

The exiled king of Poland, Stanisław  Leszczyński (1677 – 1766), was the Duke of Lorraine from 1737 -1766  and his daughter Maria was married to Louis XV of France.

Madeleine Paulmier was the cook for the exiled king and the story goes that these little cakes were named after her.

Marcel Proust  (1871 – 1922) the French author described them as “a little shell of a cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating…” in his book  À la recherche du temps perdu  – In Search of Lost Time.

I have tried out many different recipes all with varying  quantities – my head was spinning trying to sort them all out.

The following three are I ones I liked best.

They are all based on variations of the Genoise Sponge in which you use melted butter.

For ALL the recipes you must grease the tins well – I have found that using melted butter & a pastry brush is very effective.

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Madeleines 1

This mixture made over 30 Madeleines.

Ingredients

65g Butter (plus extra for greasing the pans)

65g Icing sugar

2 eggs

65g Self-raising flour

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Grease the tins.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180ºC

In a small pan melt the butter and leave it to cool.

Whisk the icing sugar, eggs and vanilla essence together until the mixture is thick and creamy.

Gently fold in the self-raising flour using a metal spoon.

Gently fold in the melted butter using a metal spoon.

Divide the mixture between the tins.

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Bake for around 10minutes till golden.

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Leave them to cool slightly in the tins and then remove them onto a wire rack.

Dredge them liberally with icing sugar.

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Madeleines  2 – With Ground Almonds

This mixture made around 30 Madeleines

Ingredients

65g Butter (plus extra for greasing the pans)

65g Icing sugar

2 eggs

65g Self-raising flour

65g Ground almonds

2-3 drops of vanilla or almond essence.

Method

Grease the tins.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180ºC

In a small pan melt the butter and leave it to cool.

Whisk the icing sugar, eggs and vanilla or almond essence together until the mixture is thick and creamy.

Mix the self-raising flour and ground almonds together.

Gently  fold in the flour and almond mixture using a metal spoon.

Gently fold in the melted butter using a metal spoon.

Divide the mixture between the pans.

Bake for around 10 minutes till golden

Leave them to cool slightly in the tins and then remove them onto a wire rack.

Dredge them liberally with icing sugar.

Madeleines  3 – With Ground Almonds & Honey

This recipe is based on a updated recipe from Mrs Beeton  in  How To Cook – 220 Classic Recipes For The Modern Kitchen – 2011.

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This mixture made 36 Madeleines.

Ingredients

120g butter (plus extra for greasing the pans)

50g runny honey

3 eggs

100g caster sugar

100g self raising flour

25g ground almonds.

Method

Place the butter in a small pan to melt over a medium-high heat and allow it to cook until it starts to brown lightly.

Remove then pan from from the heat and add the honey and stir it in well.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly.

Whisk the icing sugar and eggs together until the mixture is thick and creamy.

Mix the self-raising flour and ground almonds together.

Gently  fold in the flour and almond mixture using a metal spoon.

 

Gently fold in the cooled  butter and honey mixture using a metal spoon until fully incorporated.

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Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Grease the tins.

Divide the mixture between the tins.

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Let them rest for 10 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3- 160ºC

Bake for around 10 minutes till golden.

Keep an eye on them as the honey in them tends to brown quickly.

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Leave them to cool slightly in the tins and then remove them onto a wire rack.

Dredge them liberally with icing sugar.

Seler – Celeriac – Celery

Today,  4 July 2016, is the first Anniversary of my blog!

What an interesting year it has been for me with all the reading & research, cooking & photographing  and the writing.

I do hope you are all enjoying reading my posts & God willing this is the start of another interesting year.

This will be my 58th post &  I am going to  write about  a  very popular vegetable in Poland.

Seler – Celeriac – Celery

The word seler in Polish is used for both celeriac and celery and in fact celeriac is a just a variety of celery (Apium graveolens).

Celeriac is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey where it is called selinon.

Now for a little plant biology – in English the stems of the plant are known as celery and they  are long with leaves at the top.

Whereas in the variety known as celeriac – it is the hypocotyl – the swollen enlarged stem above the root and below the leaves  – which is eaten. The leaves come off the top of this swollen stem. (Celeriac is often classed as a root vegetable but it is not the root.)

Celeriac has not been around in the shops in England for that long and last week I bought one in Marks & Spencer’s and it had a label on it saying “NEW“.

Years ago when I looked at my Polish cookery book and it talked about grating seler – celery I used to think oh, how very odd – I wonder how that comes out – I now realise  that they  were referring to grating celeriac.

In Poland you are much more likely to be served celeriac than celery  and it is a very popular vegetable which can be eaten both raw and cooked and is used in a variety of salads.

I have been trying out some salads both with raw & cooked celeriac including some old favourites.  Celeriac has a delicate flavour and easily picks up the flavours of the other ingredients.

Dressings for the salads include mayonnaise, soured cream, natural thick yoghurt & my favourite grated horseradish (I use a bought sauce.)

I have given details of the dressing I have used in the following recipes but they are easily interchangeable.

Salads Using Raw Celeriac

For the following recipes you will need to peel the celeriac – use a peeler if you can as using a knife can take too much off. You then need to grate the celeriac.

Lemon juice is needed to prevent the grated celeriac discolouring.

 

 

Simple Celeriac Salad

Ingredients

Grated celeriac – around half of one

Juice of 1 lemon

2 small tart apples such as Granny Smith – grated

Mayonnaise

Soured cream

Method

Make the dressing by mixing mayonnaise and soured cream together, I tend to use equal amounts.

Mix the grated celeriac & grated apple together.

Pour the lemon juice over them.

 

 

Add the dressing bit by bit – you want to coat the ingredients but not have lots of excess dressing.

Celeriac with Raisins & Walnuts Salad

Grated celeriac – around half of one

Juice of 1 lemon

2 small tart apples such as Granny Smith – grated

Raisins – approx 1/2 a cup

Chopped walnuts – approx 1/2 a cup

Mayonnaise

Soured cream

Horseradish sauce

Method

Make the dressing by mixing mayonnaise and soured cream together – equal amounts – and then add 1 to 2 large tablespoonfuls of horseradish sauce.

Mix the grated celeriac & grated apple together.

Pour the lemon juice over them.

Add the raisins & the chopped walnuts

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Add the dressing bit by bit – you want to coat the ingredients but not have lots of excess dressing.

 

 

Celeriac & Orange Salad

Grated celeriac – around half of one

Juice of 1 lemon

2 small tart apples such as Granny Smith – grated

Raisins – approx  1/3 of  a cup

2 oranges

Thick yoghurt

Soured cream

Horseradish sauce

Method

Squeeze the juice from 1 orange & pour this over the raisins.

Leave this for a couple of hours so that the raisins plump up.

 

 

Make the dressing by mixing equal amounts of yoghurt and soured cream together and then add 1 or 2 large tablespoons of horseradish sauce.

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Mix the grated celeriac & grated apple together.

Pour the lemon juice over them.

Peel & then chop the other orange and mix this with the soaked raisins.

Add the dressing bit by bit – you want to coat the ingredients but not have lots of excess dressing.

Salads Using Cooked Celeriac

You can cook the celeriac by boiling it in water but I have found that it is much easier to steam it.

If there is still any soil on the celeriac then wash this away with water first.

If your celeriac is large you might want to cut it in half and just use half & use the other half for something else.

Steam the celeriac – it will need at least 20 minutes.

You can use a cake tester to see if it is cooked.

Leave it to cool – I leave mine in the steaming pan with the lid on.

When it is cold peel away the outer “skin”

 

 

Chop the celeriac into rough cubes or chunks.

 

 

These cooked cubes are then the basis of many different salads.

You can use the cooked celeriac in many salads instead of boiled potatoes as in the classic  Polish Potato Salad with peas & carrots in mayonnaise.

 

The potatoes in the above salad can be replaced with celeriac.

Celeriac & Gherkin Salad

Ingredients

Chopped cooked celeriac  –  around half of one

1  tart apple such as Granny Smith – grated

Lemon juice

1 chopped gherkin

1 chopped onion – red looks good.

Mayonnaise

Method

Mix the chopped cooked celeriac and the grated apple together and some lemon juice.

Add the chopped gherkin and onion.

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Add a couple of large tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix it all together.

 

Celeriac Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs

Ingredients

Chopped cooked celeriac  –  around half of one

1  tart apple such as Granny Smith – grated

Lemon juice

2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs chopped

Large handful of raisins or sultanas

1 chopped onion – red looks good.

Thick yoghurt

Horseradish sauce.

Method

Mix the chopped cooked celeriac and the grated apple together and some lemon juice.

Add the chopped onion.

Add the raisins (or sultanas)

Add  the chopped hard boiled eggs.

Mix a dressing using 2 to 3 tablespoons of thick plain yoghurt  and 1 or 2 tablespoons of horseradish sauces and mix the other ingredients.

Leave this for around half and hour so that the flavours can mingle.

 

NOTE

If you hard boil very fresh eggs they are very difficult to peel -it is easier to use older eggs.

Celery, Peanut & Sultana Salad

This recipe is one I got for one of my sisters many years ago and although this is not a traditional Polish salad it has become one of my trusty recipes as it is so easy and as it is best  to make it sometime ahead there is no last minute stress when making it.

Ingredients

4 long celery stalks

Around 1/3 cup of salted peanuts

Around 1/3 cup of sultanas

Mayonnaise

Method

Chop the celery into fine slices.

Mix with the peanut and sultanas.

Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise.

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Leave for at least  half an hour before serving – I usually make this several hours beforehand.

 

 

Now for a little science to explain why the dressing taste so sweet  and is more runny than when it started.

Osmosis is the movement of water across a semi-permeable membrane from an area of high water concentration to an area of low water concentration to try to equalise the concentrations on both sides.

Cells in the plant ingredients have semi-permeable membrane.

The salt on the peanuts causes water to leave the celery and go into the mayonnaise, this water then enters the sultanas causing them to plump up.

The above is true when you mix many salads but especially here with the salt on the peanuts and the dried fruit.