ETHNIC PIES, PASTRIES, AND DESSERTS
True Polish Doughnuts (Paczki)
Every ethnic group has its splurge food for Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras.
Lithuanians feast on doughnuts known as spurgos, while Ukrainians devour nalysnyky, crepe-like pancakes. Serbians and Croatians call their Fat Tuesday pancakes palachinke and their doughnuts krofne.
Poles love their paczki, which literally means "packages" for Paczki Day. They're fried rounds of yeast dough that can be filled with prune, apricot, strawberry, raspberry paste or cheese filling, or left unfilled. My busia made them without filling and dusted them with granulated sugar.
Makes about 2 dozen Polish Paczki
Preparation: Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in whole egg, then egg yolks one at a time.
Add brandy, dissolved yeast and salt. Beat until well mixed.
If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook attachment and add flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead for about 10 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour, or follow this Quick Tip to cut the rise time.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Remove scraps and re-roll and re-cut. Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
Heat oil to 375 degrees in large pot or Dutch oven. Fry "paczki" a few at a time 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Drain "paczki" on paper towels and sprinkle with granulated sugar while still warm. Note: You can poke a hole in the side of the "paczki" and, using a pastry bag squeeze in a dollop of the filling of choice. Then dust filled "paczki" with granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar or glaze.
"Paczki" don't keep well, so gobble them up the same day you make them or freeze.
Note: Always use caution when working with hot oil, especially around children. Have a fire extinguisher designed for grease fires at the ready.
APPLE STRUDEL (German)
Crust: Makes 2. Cut margarine in flour until crumbly, not fine. Combine water and egg yolk thoroughly. Add to flour mixture with a fork. Knead a few seconds till dough is smooth. Pat to flatten, divide into ½, wrap in plastic and refrigerate a few hours or over night. When dough has been chilled, rolled each piece of dough on pastry cloth to at least 12" x 6" or more.
Apple Strudel Filling
Once dough has been roiled out to 12" x 6", place into pie tins and pat crumbs over dough. Divide the remaining ingredients evenly between the two pie tins, making sure to spread the butter and other ingredients evenly throughout the whole pie tin. Roll like a jelly roll. Seal edges with water. Put sealed edged under when you place the rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for approximately 25-30 minutes. When cool sprinkle with sugar (preferably confectioners').
BLUEBERRY KUCHEN (German)
Preheat oven to 400°. In medium bowl mix 1 cup flour, salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cut in margarine until particles resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with vinegar. Shape into dough and with slightly floured fingers press into 8-inch spring form ungreased pan, approximately ¼" thick on bottom and up 1" around sides. Delicately toss 3 cups blueberries with 2 tablespoons flour, remaining 2/3 cups sugar, and cinnamon. Add this to spring form pan. Bake on lowest rack in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until crust is browned and the filling bubbles. As soon as blueberries are removed from the oven, add the remaining 2 cups of blueberries. Cool and serve with whipped topping. Remove rim of spring form pan to cut into serving portions. Recipe Notes. Hint: During blueberry season throw [unwashed] blueberries into freezer bags. When ready to use, place desired amount of blueberries in a colander and rinse under cold water. Defrost until ready for baking. This way you can enjoy blueberry recipes all year long!
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Place by heaping tablespoons in to leaf.
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Place by heaping tablespoons into leaf.
Form batter with 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, ¼ teaspoon melted vegetable shortening or oil. Add 12 ounces of water or milk, mix well. Heat a frying pan and moisten with shortening. Pour enough batter to cover bottom of pan. This produces a circular dough leaf. Cook leaf until dry and remove from pan. Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling into the leaf. Shape filler into an oblong and fold ends of leaf inward, then roll. Place blintzes in frying pan containing vegetable shortening heated to 300°. Brown blintz on both sides and serve. Serves 4.
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Fill leaf by the tablespoon. Serve with sour cream.
CREPE BATTER AND FILLINGS
Place all ingredients in bowl and beat until smooth. Let stand for 1 or 2 hours. Grease non-stick pan with butter and place 2 tablespoons batter on pan. Tilt pan so that batter covers the pan. These should be very thin. Brown 1 side only. Makes 16 crepes.
Cottage Cheese Crepe Filling
Combine all ingredients, except for butter, Mix well. Spread heaping tablespoonful on each crepe. Roll up. Place in a buttered casserole. Drizzle ¼ cup melted butter over crepes. Bake 30 minutes at 325°. Nice for brunch.
Fruit Crepe Filling
Combine cheese, sour cream and sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread 1 tablespoon over open crepe. Then spread 1 heaping tablespoon pie filling on each crepe. Roll up. Place in buttered casserole. Bake 15-20 minutes at 325° (or 3 minutes in microwave). Serve with small scoop of ice cream on each serving. Garnish with nuts.
EASY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE (French)
In a bowl, with electric mixer, combine eggs until slightly foamy (approximately 30 seconds). In a 2 qt. nonstick pot, combine the chocolate chips and milk and heat over medium temperature. Stirring occasionally with wooden spoon, cook until the chips are melted. [DO NOT BOIL.] Slowly pour the melted chips into eggs, mixing with electric mixer until uniform. Pour into cookie crust and refrigerate overnight. Decorate with Cool Whip, and top with any sliced berries, fruit or grated chocolate. Takes about 5 minutes to make and tastes wonderful.