Kajmak

Kajmak (or Kaimak in my older books) is a speciality make from cream or milk cooked with sugar and then butter is added. It is very sweet and dense,  pliable at first and hardening over time.

It is similar to a creamy type of fudge and it can also be made from tinned condensed milk which has been boiled and so is very like dolce de leche.

In my American-Polish cookery book it is called Turkish Fudge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is used in a variety of cakes including mazurek.

 

Mazurek with kajmak – this recipe will be in a later post

 

Kajmak originated in Turkey and appeared in Poland in the 18th century in the reign of Stanisław II Augustus (1764–95).   Sugar was a luxury commodity then and this was originally just popular with the Polish nobility.

Kajmak

Ingredients

1/2 litre of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

400g of granulated sugar.

50g of butter

2 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Put the milk and sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently stirring most of the time to stop the mixture from catching and burning on the base.

Continue cooking and stirring until the volume has reduced to about half of the original and the mixture is thick – rather like jam in the spoon test.

Take the pan from the heat and add the butter and stir till it is incorporated.

Add the drops of vanilla essence and stir them in.

Use the kajmak straight away or pour into a glass bowl that you can heat over a water bath when you want to use it later.

 

 

 

 

Alternatively you can also pour it into a flat dish and cut it up as cubes or fingers of sweets later.

Kajmak is flavoured with a little bit of vanilla but can also have the following additions: caramel, chocolate or coffee

Caramel

In a frying pan heat 20g of granulated sugar until it just starts to turn light brown, then add 6 tablespoons of water and boil gently until you have a caramel syrup.

 

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter.

Salted caramel is very popular in England at the moment and you can add a teaspoon of cooking or table salt to the caramel kajmak.

Then once it is poured out you can sprinkle coarse ground or sea salt on the top.

 

 

Here the kajmak was poured into a rectangular dish.

Chocolate

50g of cocoa mixed with around 6 tablespoons of water

or

80g of melted dark chocolate

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter and reduce the liquid until the kajmak is the correct consistency.

 

 

Coffee

100 to 125 mls of strong coffee made from 20g of ground coffee.

 

 

Brew the coffee in a cup or jug, leave for around 10 minutes and then strain the liquid from the grounds.

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter and reduce the liquid until the kajmak is the correct consistency.

Quick Kajmak

In a recipe book I bought recently there is a recipe for kajmak using  krówki which are classic Polish sweets (krówka mleczna = milky cow) described as creamy fudge.

The recipe used 500g of the sweets which would have been two packets – I just used one packet to test them out.

Ingredients

250g of krówki

120ml of milk

1 tablespoon of butter.

Method

Unwrap the krówki and place them with the milk in a small saucepan.

Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sweets dissolve.

Add the butter and let it melt.

 

Use whilst it is warm.

Note

This worked very well & one packet could be enough – I must admit I prefer the original version but this is easier & quicker.

 

Mazurek

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).

 

 

 

Mazurek made with jam topping

I used ciasto kruche for these, using the versions in pastry-ciasto kruche

I liked the one using hard boiled eggs the best.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C

I used a Mermaid shallow tin, 31cm x 21cm, which I greased and lined – to make it easier to get the mazurek out of the tin.

Using around 1/2 to 2/3rds of the pastry dough, roll out a rectangle for the bottom of the tin – if it is too crumbly you might have to piece and press this in.

Using the rest of the dough make stripes about a finger thickness and place these around the edge of the tin.

Use a sharp knife to make a cut pattern in these strips.

 

 

Bake for 25 -30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Leave to cool completely.

Fill the mazurek hollow with jam.

You will need around a whole jar of jar and you can heat the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Make some icing with beaten egg white, lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle this over the jam.

Mazurek with blackcurrant jam

 

 

Served here on a bamboo board and  Las Palmas tea plates by Aynsley from the 1960s

Mazurek with raspberry jam

 

 

 

Served here on a bamboo board and tea plates with a violet design by Colclough from the 1930s.

 

 

Chocolate Babka

It has taken me a while to get to this recipe for a super chocolate babka .

I had bought an unused, still with stickers, Oneida babka tin in a charity shop and wanted to try it out.

20170114_080317 20170114_080302

I looked up several recipes and tried then out.

The first one was like rubber, the second was dry as dust but finally the third one turned out well.

I have adapted this recipe from one that is found in the older Be-Ro(flour) recipes books.

This recipe just uses cocoa powder.

20170204_064412

These books were ones I used as a child , they contain simple basic recipes for traditional British cakes & biscuits and are very easy to follow.

Cake Ingredients

400g self raising flour

450g caster sugar

1 teaspoon salt

50g cocoa powder

200g butter or block margarine

4 eggs

150ml evaporated milk

150ml water

2 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Grease the babka tin.

One tip I have learnt when using these tins is that it is best to brush them well with melted butter and then sprinkle dried breadcrumbs over the surface to prevent sticking  – I think this works better than flour.

Pre-heat the oven oven to GM 4  – 180°C

You need to use a large bowl for this cake mixture.

Rub the butter into the flour so that the mixture is like breadcrumbs.

Stir in the salt, sugar and cocoa powder.

Lightly beat the eggs and add the evaporated milk, the water and the drops of vanilla essence.

Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients mixing thoroughly to give a thick batter.

Pour the cake batter into the tin.

20170128_121607

Bake for around 40 to 45 minutes, checking it is baked with a cake tester or wooden skewer.

Leave to cool in the tin and then turn out the cake onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate Icing Ingredients

60g butter

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

3 tablespoons of hot milk

250g icing sugar

1-2 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Heat up some milk in a small pan (I use a bit more than is needed and measure it out after heating).

Melt the butter in a pan.

Blend in the cocoa powder.

Stir in the icing sugar, milk and essence (I add the sugar in stages -aiming  for a slightly runny icing) and beat until it is thick and smooth – adjusting with icing sugar and extra milk as necessary.

Try and dribble the icing over the cake first, rather than spread it on with a spatula.  Then use a spatula to even it out over the whole cake.

 

 

 

 

 

The cake stand & pastry forks are Crazy Daisy (21st Century design) by Portmeirion

The tea service is Lyndale, by Royal Standard from the 1950s.

The green teapot is Cafe Culture by Maxwell Williams.

If you have any left after serving, then this cake keeps well if kept in an air tight container.

I use a plastic cake saver from Morrisons Supermarket  which is really useful (however a cake stand on a foot is too high – you have to use a lower stand or plate).

 

The plate is Beechwood by Royal Adderley, 1955  to 1964.

Keks

Keks is the word for a light fruit cake which is baked in a loaf tin or even more so a long narrow rectangular tin.

I am not sure how or when the word keks came into the Polish language but I am certain it comes from the English word “cakes” –  however the word keks is singular in Polish and means cake, and the plural is  keksy which is cakes.

It is thought that the keks originated from recipes for cakes from ancient Rome with the cakes being baked with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and dried grapes and  using barley flour and then later in the middle ages honey was used and other fruits.

Keks is mentioned in a Polish cookery compendium from 1682 by Stanisław Czerniecki.

Nowadays keks is made using wheat flour and bakalie.

Bakalie is usually translated as dried fruits – however it has more varied fruits than the English version of dried grapes (raisins, sultanas, currants) & mixed peel.

Bakalie can be a mixture of the following:

  • Apricots
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Mixed peel
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Sultanas
  • Nuts – almonds, hazel & walnuts

Of course you can vary the mixture every time you make it.

The use of  sweet dried fruits came into use in Poland through the influence of Turkish cooking where most of these fruit and nuts grow.

Traditional keks is baked in a long narrow rectangular tin, however I also use the English style 2lb loaf tins especially as you can get greaseproof cake tin liners which make life a lot easier.

NOTE

I have tried these out several times and have found two things that you must do to make turn out well:

  1. Toss the fruit in flour so it does not all clump together.
  2. Bake the cake at a low temperature so it cooks through.

Keks

Ingredients -1

Amounts for a long narrow tin

300g butter or block baking margarine

300g granulated  sugar

6 eggs

2-3 drops vanilla essence

300g plain flour

80g potato flour

2 teaspoons  baking powder

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

400g  bakalie (dried fruit  & nuts – see above) & 1 tablespoon plain flour

butter & dried breadcrumbs to prepare the tin or greaseproof paper

Ingredients -2

Amounts scaled down amounts for a 2lb loaf tin

200g butter or block baking margarine

200g granulated  sugar

4 eggs

2-3 drops vanilla essence

200g plain flour

60g potato flour

1.5 teaspoons  baking powder

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

300g  bakalie (dried fruit  & nuts – see above) & 1 tablespoon plain flour

Butter & dried breadcrumbs to prepare the tin or greaseproof paper or liner

Method

Prepare the baking tin by either coating with butter & dried bread crumbs or cut a sheet of  greaseproof paper to line the long side and base of the loaf tin or use a liner where appropriate.

Pre heat the oven to GM 3 – 160º C

Prepare the bakalie (dried fruit & nuts) by chopping the larger fruits into smaller pieces.

Place them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of plain flour and mix thoroughly so all the fruit is coated.

20170212_055711

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip the coated fruit into a large sieve and shake well to remove excess flour.

20170212_060009

 

 

 

 

Mix the baking powder and cinnamon with the flours

20170216_072648

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy

Add the vanilla essence

Add the eggs one by one, each with a tablespoon of flour

Fold in the rest of the flour

20170216_074357

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carefully mix in the bakalie

20170215_065831

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and put in the oven

 

20170215_070044

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake for around 1 hour 30 minutes for the long tin & 1 hour 20 minutes for the smaller loaf tin

Check at around 1 hour & cover the top with greaseproof paper if it starts to brown on top too quickly

Test the cake with a cake tester or wooden skewer near the end of the cooking time to check that it is baked throughout

Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aynsley, Las Palmas from the 1960s

Colclough 4212, Art Deco 1930s, Blue Violets/Pansies

Keks – using fruit mincemeat

At Christmas time I make English fruit mincemeat using the recipe from Delia Smith but without the chopped nuts.

20170215_042413

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I have any mincemeat over after the Christmas period  when I make mince pies,  I make a fruit loaf which which is very much a keks.

I bake this in a 2lb loaf tin.

Note

You can also use 2 small 1lb loaf tins or even a round 22cm tin – adjusting the baking time.

Ingredients

150 butter

100g soft brown sugar

75g sultanas or currants  and mixed peel

225g self raising flour

450g jar of mincemeat (exact amount is not critical)

3 eggs

Optional 25g flaked almond to sprinkle on top

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM2- 150ºC

Prepare the loaf tin by greasing it, lining the long sides or using a greaseproof liner.

20170207_112805

 

 

 

 

Lightly cream the butter and sugar

Beat in the eggs, one by one

Stir in the mincemeat and the  extra dried fruit until it is an even consistency – a wooden spoon is good for this

Stir in the flour.

If the mixture seems a bit dry add a tablespoon of rum or similar

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top

Sprinkle nuts on top if using

Bake for around 1 hour 15 minutes

Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.

Polish Apple Cake – Jabłecznik

Apple trees (Genus –  Malus) originated in Central Asia and then spread to Northern Europe.  In the 17th century they were taken to North America.

IMG_20160507_183443894
Apple Blossom Buds

Worldwide, measured in tonnes, China is the top apple producer, the United States of America coming second.

Poland is the largest apple producer in Europe.

In Poland in the countryside and even in the towns most houses have at least one fruit tree in the garden – often more – with apple, plum and cherry  being the favourites.

In my garden there are two Bramley apple trees.

Jabłko is the Polish for apple –  jabłecznik is an apple cake.

Some people use the word szarlotka – but my mother used that word for apple crumble.

Apple cake is made with tart cooking apples – Antonówki are very popular in Poland –  these are similar to Bramley apples and the apple filling is kept slightly tart so that the sweetness in the cake gives a lovely contrast.

I think there are as many variations of this cake as cooks in Poland.

This is my mother’s version which I think this is the very best.

Apple Filling

Ingredients

3 to 4 Bramley Apples

Granulated Sugar to taste – keep it slightly tart

A little water

1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Method

Make the apple filling first, even the day beforehand as it needs to be cold before you use it.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into thick slices.

Stew the apples gently with some sugar and very little water. You can make this in a saucepan on the stove or place the apples and sugar in a dish in the oven.

Do not add a lot of sugar at the beginning as it does not want to be too sweet, you can adjust the sweetness at the end.

Do not make it too much of a purée, cook so that you have some soft apples but with some harder less cooked chunks as well.

Leave the mixture to cool and then add the ground cinnamon.  The mixture should look quite brown.

IMG_20151214_161143925

Note

When I have lots of apples, I cook a large amount and portion this up and keep them in the freezer – better to leave out the cinnamon if freezing and add this fresh when making the cake.

Cake

Ingredients

300g self-raising flour

200g butter or block baking margarine

75g caster sugar

1egg yolk (save the white for the topping)

2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or water

Method

You need a round tin with a loose base or a spring form tin or you will not be able to get the cake out.  I always use an anodised aluminium tin, 22cm in diameter and 8 cm deep, which does not rust.

Grease the tin well.

Rub the butter into the flour to make fine crumbs and add the sugar.

IMG_20151214_162018319

Add the egg yolk and the lemon juice to and mix together to make a soft “dough” (try not to add more flour),  handle it as little as possible.

Leave it to chill for about ½ an hour as this makes it easier to handle.

Pre heat the oven to GM5 – 190oC.

Take slightly more than half the dough and press it into the cake tin.

Spoon the apple mixture on top of this.

IMG_20151214_162527127

The rest of the dough will go on top of the apple mixture.  I use a rolling pin to make a circle that is smaller than the tin diameter and then place this on top.  Do not worry if the dough falls apart, just place it on with the breaks nearly touching.

IMG_20151214_162724024

Topping

Ingredients

1 egg white and caster sugar

Slightly beat the egg white with a fork and brush this over the top of the dough.  You will not need it all.

IMG_20151214_161201043

IMG_20151218_075301762

Liberally sprinkle caster sugar over the egg white.

IMG_20151214_162841673

Bake for around 50 minutes until the top is a golden brown.

I tend to check the cake at 40 minutes and will cover the top with greaseproof if it starts to brown but is not yet cooked through.

Leave to cool before getting the cake out of the tin. I use a tin can and put the cake tin on this and slide the side of the cake tin down.

Do not put the cake in a air-tight covered container as the apples absorb moisture and you loose the crispness of the cake.

I hardly ever have any left anyway as I seem to get visitors as soon as they know I am baking this cake.

IMG_20151214_193025987

Tea plates are Stardust by Colclough from the 1950s or early 1960s.

Bułeczki – Sweet Yeast Buns

Bułeczki  – this word can cause a little confusion as it can mean –  little white bread rolls or a more sweet yeast bun.

This recipe has been used to make round buns with a filling – it can be used for a variety of sweet buns – all of which are very popular in Poland.

A few reminders when using yeast in baking

  • Learn to be patient – you cannot control the timings exactly with yeast, it depends on the temperature of the room and the flour used and other variables.
  • Do yeast baking on a day you are planning to be in & have other things to do, but ones you can break off from when needed.
  • Heat the milk so it is at body temperature – use the finger test – too hot and you will kill the yeast – too cold is okay – it will just take longer.
  • An egg glaze often burns too quickly –  I have found an egg white or egg white & water glaze gives a better result.

The older Polish recipes use fresh yeast. I have used dried yeast and had very good results.  (I have not tried using easy bake yeast for this recipe).

Basic sweet dough recipe

Ingredients

Yeast starter

25g fresh yeast or 15g dried yeast

1 tablespoon of  sugar

250 milk – warmed

Rest of dough

3 yolks

100g granulated sugar

*******

500g plain flour

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon of salt

******

60g of melted butter

******

Egg or egg white to glaze (whole egg tends to brown very quickly).

Fillings

Jam – I used strawberry jam and also blackcurrant jam(made by my friend in Leeds) and I think the more tart blackcurrant jam goes better with the semi-sweet dough.

Mincemeat – I used my own mincemeat which is from the recipe by Delia Smith but without the chopped almonds. This of course in one way is very English, but it would be recognised in Poland if  described as bakalie –  which is a  mixture made of dried fruits(often with figs or dates), nuts and honey.

Method

Mix the yeast, sugar and warmed milk together and leave it till it doubles in size.

IMG_20160222_120503215

 

Whisk the yolks and sugar together until the mixture is pale and thick.

Put the flour into a large bowl, add the yeast starter, the yolks & sugar mix, vanilla essence, lemon zest and the salt.

Combine everything together and knead it together until the dough leaves the side of the bowl clean.

Add the melted butter and mix it in and then knead it well until you get a glossy smooth dough.

Place it back in the bowl and cover with a cloth and leave it until it doubles in size.

Grease 1 or 2 baking sheets to hold 16 buns.

Knead the dough again lightly, then cut in to half and half again and so on to give 16 pieces.

Roll each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten it and roll it out into a circle.

Put a small spoonful of filling onto each circle and then draw the edges of the dough circle together and pinch the dough to seal in the filling.

Turn the balls over so the seal is on the underside.

IMG_20160220_194430607

 

Place the buns on the baking sheets with room apart for them to double in size.

Cover the buns with a cloth and leave them to rise to double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190ºC

When the buns have doubled in size brush them with an egg or egg white wash.

IMG_20160220_210416121

I used whole egg in this case but since have found that egg white does not burn as quickly.

Bake the buns for around 15 minutes.

 

 

Leave to cool before serving.

 

 

Tea plates are Las Palmas  by Aynsley from the 1960s.

 

 

Babka – Polish Cake – Using Potato Flour

Potato flour is used in many Polish recipes for a variety of cakes.

This recipe is for a babka (click here for earlier post) using a mixture of wheat flour and potato flour and is adapted from a recipe in my old Polish cookery book.

IMG_20160130_192651306

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past potato flour was hard to find in England but now you should be able to find it in most Polish shops.

IMG_20151126_161842176
Potato Flour

One of my Polish friends in England said she had tried using cornflour in baking when she could not get  potato flour but she did not think it gave as good results.

Recently in a repeated radio programme on BBC Radio 4 Extra I heard the late Marguerite Patten  say  that cooks in Victorian England  used potato flour in cake baking on a regular basis.

 Ingredients

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

100g potato flour

200g butter or block margarine

4 eggs separated

200g icing sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

3 to 4 tablespoons of  soured cream or yoghurt – Full Fat-Greek style or home-made Yoghurt – click for earlier post)

(I have made this recipe with soured cream and then with my own yoghurt – both turned our super)

IMG_20150707_200527058

Fine Grater – Microplane Graters are Super For Lemon Zest.

Microplane Professional Series

Method

Grease and flour a large babka tin.

IMG_20151210_071931092

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Mix the flours together with the baking powder and leave to one side.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the icing sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Beat in the egg yolks – one by one.

Then beat in the lemon zest and juice.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs white until they are stiff.

Fold the egg whites into the creamed mixture.

Gently fold the whites in the flour mixture.

Place the mixture into the prepared babka tin.

Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for around 30 – 40 minutes.

Check with a cake tester.

Remove from the oven and let the cake cool a little.

IMG_20150902_131105650

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150902_131036540

 

 

 

 

When cooled –  remove carefully from the tin – this is easiest when the cake is nearly cold.

Dust the cake with icing sugar or pour over it a runny icing glaze.

 

IMG_20150902_165350657 IMG_20150902_165339825

IMG_20150902_165420273

IMG_20150902_165334611
Silver Rose – Duchess 1950s & 1960s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions for those who do not have a babka tin

At the moment (February 2016) Marks & Spencer are selling babka tins at a reasonable price – I bought one to add to my collection!

IMG_20151210_071926550
Tin from Marks & Spencer

However if you do not want to go to the expensive but want to try out the cake I have made the cake using 2 types of loaf tins with good results

IMG_20160222_085342694

 

 

 

 

First using a long narrow tin

IMG_20160222_085422673

 

 

 

 

and secondly a 2lb loaf tin.

IMG_20160222_085433454

 

 

 

 

You need to grease and line the tins or use loaf tin liners – I discovered these recently and think they are a boon. You can get them in 2 loaf sizes.  They are available in many stores but also you should also be able to find them in the cheaper discount stores.

IMG_20151120_073255217

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150907_100000771

The cake takes 40 -45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at GM4 – 180°C

IMG_20150907_111020286

IMG_20150907_111214502

Dust the top with icing sugar

IMG_20150907_165858105

IMG_20150907_165908046

IMG_20150907_170256852 IMG_20150907_170224421

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colclough Longton Bone China ..... Around 1930s
Colclough Longton Bone China …..
Around 1930s