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.

 

Herbata – Tea

Legend has it that in nearly 3,000 years BC the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung, was sitting outside when leaves from the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis fell into some boiling water which he then tasted – and so tea was born!

Traders from the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie)(VOC)  first brought tea from China to Holland at the beginning of the 17th century where it became very popular & it was Dutch traders that brought tea to Poland.

Tea is mentioned in the mid 17th century by King Jan Kazimierz II (1609-1672) in a letter to his wife Ludowika Maria(1611-1667) and the drink became very popular with the nobility.

Tea in Polish is herbata which comes from the Dutch Herba thee  & which earlier may have been from the Latin Herba thea.

Cza (cha) – is a Chinese word for tea and in Polish the word for a teapot is czajnik.

Poland – a country of tea drinkers

I think tea could be classed as Poland’s national drink and per capita per annum the Polish consumption is the 4th in Europe (figures from 2014) following Ireland, the UK and Russia & in 9th place globally, ahead of Japan and Saudi Arabia.

A typical Pole drinks a glass of tea for breakfast, lunch, dinner & supper and in between as well.

Serving Tea in Poland

Tea is served as “black” tea – though in fact it is very light weak tea – it is never served with milk. It is served on its own or with slices of lemon or  a small amount of fruit syrup  such as cherry or raspberry.

The syrup  in the photographs below is raspberry malina 

Tea was often served with honey although nowadays it is more likely to be served with sugar.  However I usually  drink my  tea without sweetness, except when I  add some fruit syrup.

Polish honey from the lime tree also know as the linden tree.

Note

The Polish for July is lipiec  – meaning the month of the linden blossom – many Polish cities have parks and avenues with linden trees & in July the air is heady with the scent.

 

Porcelain lidded sugar bowl by TCM Germany – bought in a second hand shop in Krakòw

 

 

 

 

 

The tradition way is to brew  a  very strong solution of tea  called  esencja (essence) and this is poured into a glass or cup and boiling water added to make a very light coloured – weak tea.

Often a samowar was used  with the  strong essence of tea kept in the little teapot (often this could be a little enamel pot) and the samowar is used to boil the water and keep the essence warm.

Samo means by itself  …. war means to heat or to boil.

The photographs are of my samowar which is electric – It was made in the 1980s.

My father talked about their samowar in Poland which had a tube in the centre into which you put hot charcoal to heat the water.

Tea Bags

Nowadays tea bags are often used and a very popular brand is Yellow Label from Unilever Polska – Liptons .

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Thomas Lipton(1848-1931) was from Glasgow, Scotland and Lipton Yellow Label has been sold since 1890 when the first version of the Yellow pack with a red Lipton shield was used.

Strangely enough this brand of tea is not marketed in the UK – I used to bring it back from Poland – now I can buy it in all the Polish shops.

Tea Glasses

Tea was always served in tall glasses often with a holder of metal or straw .  Many years ago I had a big clear out and got rid of my straw holders – I so regret that now!

Images below from photos on the World Wide Web

 

 

Last Saturday, I went to the second hand market in Huddersfield and found 2 pairs of tea glass holders, 1 pair in stainless steel & 1 pair in silver plate.   They have cleaned up very well – I am so pleased I found them.

Glass handled mugs are a substitute.

 

China cups and saucers are also used on many occasions –

Herbata & Sernik (Polish Cheesecake)

Royal Albert  tea set – Primulette from the 1950s

Tea is often used in baking, it can be used to soak dried fruits before making a cake or as part of a poncz (punch) to drizzle over a cake such as a yeast babka.

 

Tea & Chocolate babka

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.

 

 

Yeast Babka – Polish Yeast Cake

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.

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Book title

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.

  1. You have to use ordinary plain flour not strong flour.
  2. The mixture is a batter – you do not knead it.
  3. You have to have lots of patience – the yeast can take hours and hours to rise.
  4. The yeast will rise even in a coldish kitchen – it just takes a long time – even overnight or in the fridge.

Note

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.

Ingredients

Starter

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

Method

First make the starter

Mix toIMG_20151210_072305828gether the yeast and sugar.

Add this to the milk and flour.

Leave in to bubble and rise to around double its size.

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Grease and flour a babka tin

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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.

Easter babka

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.)

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Weak Black Tea

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.