FA Cup Final Day is traditionally a very masculine day. The culmination of the Football Season is celebrated with one great big event – so I invited the lads round. I asked people to bring booze and snacks, which they did and masculine snacks arrived to fit the occasion. Crisps, nuts, scotch eggs and pork pies were brought in plenty. Unfortunately my contribution was not quite as befitting as I delivered a Polish Christmas Cake.
I don’t often make cakes and usually leave it to Des to produce desserts. She is very good at it, so I tend to let her get on with it. It had been a while since I had attempted a sweet dish on the blog though so I thought I would bring one to the party.
Piernik is a very traditional Polish bread/cake and from what I understand it can come in different forms. The bulk is a semi sweet bread which is flavoured with either Ginger or Honey but it can then either be used as more of a bread and eaten with butter, or as I did sweetened and made into a cake using jam and a chocolate glaze.
I used Honey in my Piernik, but in retrospect I think Ginger might have worked even better as the honey flavour was lost whereas I don’t think the ginger would have been. The cake tasted great, but was wildly inappropriate for a football party. It is laced with tastes of Christmas (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon) and was extremely filling. I shut my eyes and tried to imagine eating a slice with a glass of port in December when there is snow on the ground and the flavours transported me there. I will definitely make it again and would highly recommend giving it a go instead of the traditional mince pies. The English have accepted Pannatoni into our Christmas snack options and why not Piernik. I will.
Writing this blog is getting harder for sure. My new working hours are quite brutal. I leave the house before 7am and rarely get home much before 8pm. Once I have changed and poured a drink there isn’t much time left in the evening so I have decided to cook at the weekends, which seems to work, but then becomes a bit anti-social when I sit down to write it up. I think I will find a way to make it work pretty soon but in the meantime I’ll try to still fit one in a week.
I decided this week that I’m going to have a party for when I reach 50 countries. I’ve nearly been blogging for a year now and I see 50 as a real milestone. With 39 countries under my belt now I can start to plan. What I don’t know is whether as a one-off I should actually choose the country I am going to do so I can plan it in advance or whether I should just continue with the random picking with my special spreadsheet which spits out a country with a button press. Any thoughts I would appreciate.
I also decided that from now I will pick the next country as I write-up the blog, so next week I be cooking…….North Korea!
Piernik Recipe (courtesy of http://biega.com/recipe1.html)
Piernik – Honey Cake
Set oven temperature to 350°F (175C) and preheat.
Grease three loaf pans.
Pour into saucepan:
- 1 cup (240ml) honey
- 1 cup strong coffee
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Mix together and bring to a boil. Then set aside and allow to cool down to a warm temperature.
In a mixing bowl, beat 3 large eggs with 1 cup (240ml) of brown sugar and 3 teaspoons (15ml) of baking powder.
Slowly add the warm liquid to the beaten eggs, mixing at slow speed.
Add 4 cups (950ml) of plain white flour (NOT self-raising), and mix thoroughly.
Pour the final mixture into the loaf pans and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Cut each loaf into 3 layers, spread jam (strawberry, raspberry or apricot) and then reassemble.
Prepare chocolate frosting as follows:
Place into saucepan
- 2½oz (70g) semi-sweet chocolate
- 3oz (80g) sweet (unsalted) butter
- 1/3 cup (80ml) water
- ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) white granulatd sugar
Stir the chocolate, butter, vanilla and water together, gradually adding sugar. Bring it slowly to a boil, stirring constantly. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
Let it cool until it becomes a thick mass, easily spreadable with a knife.
Place cakes with flat side down and spread chocolate frosting evenly on top and sides.
Cool completely in refrigerator, until the frosting is hard.
Wrap in aluminum foil, then in plastic. May be stored in refrigerator, or cold place for four weeks before serving