Hazelnut – Tort

Corylus avellana is the hazelnut, also known as  cobnut or filbert nut.  In Polish it is orzech laskowy  – which translates as nut of the forest and as its name implies hazel trees or bushes grow abundantly in Poland.

Turkey is the largest commercial producer of hazelnuts followed by Italy.

Ferrero SpA  – makers of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella use 25% of the global supply of hazelnuts per annum.

Tort is a layer cake (in England the French word gateaux is used) – the layers of cake being sandwiched together with a butter cream (Sweet whipped cream was hardly known in Poland – with soured cream being the norm).

The word tort is originally from the Latin torta – flat cake or round loaf of bread.

A tort can be round or in a block shape – it often has very decorative piping  – my decorations tend to be more simple!

A tort is often made for celebrations and is often very large – I have recipes which call for a dozen or more eggs!

The following recipe only uses 6 eggs!

This tort recipe uses hazelnuts which have been roasted and then ground.

I often buy my hazelnuts from a  dried fruit & nut stall in Leeds Kirkgate Market.  This the largest covered market in Europe and was founded in 1875 and has around 100,000 visitors per week.

On this stall you can buy : whole hazel nuts, roasted hazel nuts and ground roasted hazel nuts.

I use either roasted hazel nuts and grind them myself or roast the hazel nuts myself and then grind them.

Roasting Hazel Nuts

To roast hazelnuts put the shelled nuts on a baking tray and put them in an oven at GM 5 – 190°C for around 10 to 15 minutes – keep checking as it is easy to burn them.

Once they are done, leave them to cool and then rub off the papery skins between your fingers and discard them.

 

 

I use an electric grinder which is very useful.

 

 

 

Ingredients

6 eggs

225g  caster sugar

225g roasted & ground hazelnuts

2 sponge fingers – crushed

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C

Grease and line a 23cm x 32cm baking tray.

 

 

 

 

Mix together the ground hazelnuts and crushed sponge fingers.

 

 

 

 

Whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and fluffy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold in the nut mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the baking tray and bake for  around 20 minutes until it is golden on top.

 

 

Take out and leave it to cool on a cooling tray.

Measure the length of the cake and cut it into 3 equal pieces.

 

 

 

 

A poncz (sweet punch for moistening the cake) is used on each layer.

I used one made from 150ml of weak black tea, 45 ml of rum and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Rum Butter Cream

Ingredients

120g butter

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of rum

300g icing sugar ( approximate amount)

Method

Cream together the butter and egg yolks.

Add the rum and cream again.

Mix in the icing sugar till you have a smooth butter cream

 

 

Using a spatulas layer up the cake first with poncz on each layer and then the butter cream.

Cover the top and sides with the butter cream.

Make fancy patterns with spatulas (or you can do fancy piping if you wish).

 

 

Little spatulas for decorating with icing.

 

 

 

Tea plates are Silver Rose by Duchess from the 1950s & 1960s.

The cake slice is Water Garden by Portmeirion.

Round Tort

The same quantities and method as above can be used for two 18m diameter cake tins.

Here the poncz was made from 150ml weak black tea and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar & coffee butter cream was used.

Coffee Butter Cream

Ingredients

90g butter

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons of very strong coffee

250g of icing sugar (approximate amount)

 

 

 

Method

Cream the butter and egg yolk.

Add the coffee and cream again.

Mix in the icing sugar until you have a thick butter cream.

 

 

 

 

Use the poncz to moisten the cake & layer up and coat with the icing.

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Very useful cake lifter – from Lakeland Plastics – for moving the cake

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Another cake lifter

 

 

 

Tea set is by Spencer Stevenson Co Ltd, who manufactured in England  between 1948 and 1960.  The design name is not known.

Green Teapot is Café Culture by Maxwell Williams.

Other Cake Sizes

3 eggs with 110g of roasted hazel nuts & 110g of caster sugar for 1 – 18cm diameter cake tin.

4 eggs with 150g of roasted hazelnuts & 150g of caster sugar for 1  – 22cm diameter cake tin.

 

Mazurek – With Kajmak

Mazurek is the name of a Polish cake which often uses a type of pastry similar to shortcrust  or shortcake.  It is usually made in a square or rectangular shape.

Bake a mazurek base using one of the ciasto kruche  –  pastry recipes and allow it to cool.

Fill the hollow with kajmak.

Mazurek with kajmak

You can decorate the top with nuts and / or dried fruit – this gives you an opportunity to be creative with the decorations.

 

Alleluja is often written on top at Easter time.

Here served on tea plates by Colclough – Stardust 1950s – 1960s

 

Mazurek with kajmak and jam

As a contrast to the sweetness of the kajmak you can use a tart jam such blackcurrant or sour cherry jam.

Bake a mazurek base and allow it to cool.

Cover the hollow created with a thin layer of jam.

 

 

 

 

Blackcurrant jam was used here.

Cover the jam with a layer of kajmak.

Decorate the top of the mazurek with nuts or dried fruits.

 

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 & 1/2 teaspoons 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!

Biszkopt – Sponge Cake using Potato Flour

Biszkopt is a fat free sponge cake which means it does not have any butter, margarine or oil in it – just eggs, sugar & flour.

This recipe in my Polish cookery book is described as oszczędna which means economical and compared with many of the recipes which use 4 or more eggs it is.

I used this recipe to make  a cake which is very popular in Poland  –  rolada  which is a  roulade or roll.

I was really pleased with this  recipe & think I  will continue to use this the most.

Ingredients

40g potato flour

3 tablespoons of plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder.

2 eggs separated

65g icing sugar plus 1 tablespoon of icing sugar & extra for dusting.

2 tablespoons of boiling water

Also you need a tin 23 x 32cms & 3 sheets of greaseproof paper

Fillings

Jam

Lemon Curd – This is very English but I am sure it would be loved in Poland –

Marks & Spencer’s Sicilian lemon curd is superb!

 

Butter Cream filling of your choice – I used coffee & rum here.

Method

Pre-heat oven to GM 4 – 180°C

There are lots of steps in this recipe &  after several trials, I have given the steps in the order I found worked the best.

Grease and line a  23 x 32cms baking tin – you can also grease the paper on the upper side – I have found this does make it easier to remove the cake.

Mix together the potato flour, plain flour and the baking powder.

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff then add in 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and whisk again.

Whisk the egg yolks until they are pale then add the 2 tablespoons of boiling water and whisk again, add the icing sugar and whisk till the mixture is  pale and creamy.

Gently fold in the flour mixture.

Fold in the stiff whites.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan & bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and lightly dust with icing sugar then turn this out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper also dusted with icing sugar.

 

Place another piece of greaseproof on top of this and roll up the cake (starting with a short side) with the paper.

Leave this to cool.

Unroll the cake and spread with jam, lemon curd or a butter cream filling of your choice & then roll up the cake again.

Dust the cake  with icing sugar.

Rolada with lemon curd

 

 

Blue edged plates 1930s Allertons Ltd

Sandwich plate H&K Tunstall

Rolada with jam

 

Coffee & Rum Butter Cream

Ingredients

2 egg yolks

100g icing sugar

120g of butter

2 tablespoons of strong coffee

2 tablespoons of rum

Method

Make some strong coffee using 20g of ground coffee and boiling water and then strain it and leave to cool.

(You can of course use  instant coffee – my mother used Camp coffee years ago & it is still available)

 

 

Beat the egg yolks, butter & icing together

Add the coffee & rum and mix well in.

You can add a little more icing sugar  if you think the mixture is too soft.

 

 

Sandwich plate H&K Tunstall

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.

 

 

Rhubarb Cake

Rheum rhabarbarum is the Latin name for rhubarb   –  in Polish  it is rabarbar.

It is a plant that has its origins in China, Mongolia & Siberia – its roots survive the cold!

Rhubarb roots have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

The plant arrived in Europe via Venice in the 14th century  having been brought  from China  along the Silk Road.

The leaves are poisonous  to humans as they contain large quantities of oxalic acid and other toxins.

The stems however can be eaten safely, although they do contain a little oxalic acid but their tartness is due mainly  to malic acid which is also found in sour green apples.

Rhubarb stems were first eaten in England in the 17th century.

In 1820 the rhubarb plant was taken over to the USA.

I live in West Yorkshire –  just outside what is called the Rhubarb Triangle  of Wakefield, Leeds & Morley   – where rhubarb is grown in forcing sheds (in darkness) on a commercial scale.

I have rhubarb growing in my garden.

I have used the rhubarb to make rhubarb crumble but over the last few years I have been trying to find recipes for a rhubarb cake and have tried many from English, American & Polish recipe books and magazines.

Some recipes just used 1 or 2 stalks of rhubarb – as I have lots of rhubarb – I wanted a recipe that used more.

Some recipes used the raw stalks in a cake – I found that none of these were to my liking.

I tried using my best Polish apple cake recipe with stewed rhubarb  instead of apple but found that it just did not come out very well.  The cake was  too soggy and raw in places because of the amount of liquid in the stewed rhubarb.

Finally after more trial and error – I came up with a recipe which I am happy to make for people and to share.

Preparing The Rhubarb

This I have found to be the most important part to making a successful rhubarb cake.

You need to prepare the rhubarb the day before you want to make cake.

I tend to make a large amount and if I do not use it all I freeze the rest.

You need around 8 large stalks if not more.

Trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks and then chop the stalk  into pieces around 7cm in length.

Put the pieces into an oven proof dish and add granulated sugar – try not to use large amounts – it is better slightly tart.

Put the covered dish into a low oven –  GM 2 for around an hour or so – you want it soft but not totally disintegrated.

Allow this to cool.

 

 

Now comes the part I found to be the most important – I strain the cooked rhubarb from the juice & syrup.

Put the rhubarb into a colander over a bowl and leave this for several hours or even overnight.

 

The juice and sugar syrup can  be used to flavour yoghurt, diluted with water to make  a drink or even added to pork in a slow cook recipe.

Now by just using this strained rhubarb  I have found that a cake adapted from my apple cake comes out very well.  I have used half the quantity from my apple cake recipe as the base and then used a drier crumble type mixture – called kruszonka in Polish – for the top.

Cake Ingredients

Base

150g self raising flour

100g butter or block margarine

40g caster sugar

1 egg yolk and 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or water.

Topping

120g plain flour

90g butter or block margarine

60g icing sugar.

Method

You have to use a loose bottom or spring-form tin or you will not be able to get the cake out.

I use a loose bottomed anodised aluminium cake tin which is 22cm in diameter and 8cm deep.

Grease the tin well.

First make the cake base by rubbing the butter into the flour to make crumbs then stir in the sugar.

Add the yolk and lemon juice and bring the ingredients together to form a soft dough – do not handle the dough too much. Leave the dough in a cool place for about half an hour so it is easier to handle.

Pre heat the oven to GM 4 – 180ºC.

Make the topping by rubbing the butter into the flour to make crumbs and then stir in the sugar.

Press the dough into the base of the tin.

 

Cover the base with the strained rhubarb.

Evenly sprinkle all the topping over the rhubarb.

Bake in the oven for around 1 hour to 1 hour & 10 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin.

Use a long metal spatula to ease the cake from the side of the tin then place the cake on to the top of a  tin can and slide the side down.

If you find the cake is not sweet enough – you can sprinkle the pieces  with icing sugar – I rarely due – I like the fruit to be tart.

 

Tea plates are Counterpoint by Royal Doulton 1973 – 1987

Do not put the cake into an airtight plastic box as it will get soggy – better to cover it with a mesh cover.

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How Did My Sponge Become Sandy?

In Polish the word for a fat free sponge cake which is made with just eggs, sugar and flour is  biszkopt.

A sponge cake which uses butter or margarine which is creamed with the sugar is described as piaskowy – this adjective means sandy – hence the title of this post!

I have not managed to find an explanation as to why it is so described  but have found this term in all my Polish cookery books.

Pani Stasia’s Sponge Cake

This is a recipe which I learnt from my mother’s friend who we knew as pani Stasia*.

Pani Stasia made wonderful cakes but unfortunately I did not write many of them down – however I did for this one and it is the basis for many of my other cakes and buns.

This recipe is equivalent to the British cake –  Victoria Sponge – named after Queen Victoria in whose reign this became popular & who is said to have liked this cake very much.

Having been looking at recipes in my Polish cookery cooks I realise that pani Stasia adapted this recipe for England as self raising flour and caster sugar are not found in Polish shops.

(*Pani  translates as Madam, Lady or Mrs and is a polite form of address – it is like donna in Italian or for example  saying Miss Mary in the Southern States of America.

Stasia is the shortened form of the Polish name Stanisława. (The feminine form of Stanisław)

St Stanisław is the patron saint  of Kraków & Poland, he was a martyr, murdered by the Polish king Bolesław II the Bold in 1079 – a story which has much in common with St Thomas à Beckett and the English king Henry II  in 1170).

Ingredients

Eggs

Butter or Block Baking Margarine

Caster Sugar

Self Raising Flour

I usually use 3 or 4 eggs for this recipe – in the photographs below I have used 4 eggs to make 2 cakes which were then sandwiched together with jam and white chocolate butter cream.

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Method

Grease and line the base of 2 x 21.5cm  sandwich tins. – I find anodised aluminium tins are the best. (my old tins say 8 1/2 inch on the base – 21cm or 22cm would be OK)

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°c

The first thing you have to do is weigh your eggs – complete with their shells.

Weighing Eggs

You then weigh out the same amount of  butter or block margarine, caster sugar and self raising flour.

At first I thought this was very strange but now find that it gives a very good way of getting the right proportions no matter what size the eggs are.

I heard the late Marguerite Patten in an earlier recorded programme on the radio a few weeks ago saying that Victorian cooks often  used this method. 

Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one by one whisking again until the the mixture is light and fluffy again.

Fold in the flour with a metal spoon taking not to over mix the mixture and knock out all the air.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared tins.

Bake in the centre of the oven for around 25 to 30 minutes  – the cake should  be golden brown and be clean when a cake tester is used.

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Cakes cooling awaiting being sandwiched together

This cake is very versatile and here I have sandwiched it together with blackcurrant jam (given to me by my friend who had made it with fruit from her allotment) and white chocolate butter cream.

Sweet whipped cream is not found in Polish cookery – butter creams and similar are the standard fillings for layer cakes.

On the bottom cake first spread on the jam and then top this with the butter cream.

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This butter cream is sweet and needs the contrast of a tart jam, damson jam would be another alternative.

White Chocolate Butter Cream

Ingredients

60g White chocolate

40g Butter – unsalted is best

80g Sieved  icing sugar

 Method

Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water and allow to cool.

Cream the  butter and the icing sugar.

Beat in the cooled, melted chocolate.

Note

Take care  –  if the melted chocolate  is too hot then you will end up having to add more icing sugar and the  butter cream will be very sweet.

Dust the finished cake with icing sugar.

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Plates are Burleigh Ware – Burges & Leigh Ltd —– Blue Mist around 1930s

 

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