Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Polish Food Series "Sweet Things"

114. "Sweet Things" are plentiful in Poland and our favorites were the delicious cakes.
"Sharlotka" is a lovely apple cake/pie/pastry you will see in many bakeries and restaurants. We came to understand that Sharlotka is as various as the bakers who make it. Everyone has their own recipe and will prepare or serve it differently. I learned that Sharlotka is actually a Russian dessert and means "Apple Pie or Cake". Because people are transient throughout Europe, many of the foods have been adapted into the Polish diet from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and other neighboring countries. These foods have taken on a variety of names and variations of preparation.
This is Sharlotka that we had in a yummy coffee shop called "i Coffee". It was a delicious mix of an apple pie and cake. In our motel restaurant the Sharlotka was served with chocolate sauce drizzled across the cake. Another restaurant served it with cream while yet another a small scoop of ice cream.

In a bakery in Zamosc we spotted this same dessert but look how very different it is. You will spot it in the bottom right corner and the name is "Szarlotkie".
The desserts are not super sweet like some American desserts can be.
While in Zamosc, we were excited to have ice cream.
There was a little shop off the square where they sold soft serve and hard ice cream.
The texture of the ice cream was more like smooth sorbet.
And the soft serve was creamy and delicious.
In the ice cream shop I decided to choose a pastry instead with a kawa.
I chose a cherry pastry. It was not very sweet but the dough tasted delicious!
I made Sharlotka when we returned home and it was so very different from what we had in Poland...but delicious. It is a very simple recipe. If you Google "Sharlotka" you will see the varied choices of recipes and types.


Recipe origin: Russia


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tart apples, such as Granny Smith


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, and eggs, beating well to completely dissolve the sugar.
  3. Wash the apples, peel and cut them into quarters, and cut away the core and seeds.
  4. Cut the apples into thin slices.
  5. Grease a round cake pan and dust it lightly with flour.
  6. Arrange all apple slices on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour the batter mixture over the apples, spreading it gently with a rubber spatula.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out dry and the cake is beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  9. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and place a serving plate over the pan. Invert the pan (turn the pan upside-down) onto the serving plate. May be served warm or at room temperature.
"Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits."
~ Henry David Thoreau

"If the only way we judged hunger was how full the stomach is, no one would ever have dessert."
~ Mark Friedman

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Polish Food Series "Favorite Meals"

113. A Polish meal is hardy, substantial and has cabbage involved somehow! Over our 10 day trip we enjoyed several of these robust meals. I realized how very similar these meals were to those growing up in my home. Though, there are faint memories of whining, "cabbage again!" or "I hate potato soup!"...each meal was delicious!
Our first meal consisted of pan sauteed pork, boiled potatoes and a fantastic cabbage, green apple, celery, corn and onion salad with a creamy dressing.
Soup is usually served each dinner meal before the entree. We had the opportunity to have "Zurek", a traditional soup to Poland. We had this soup in three separate restaurants, each was slightly different but all were fantastic. This soup had small pieces of kielbasa, chopped boiled egg and sometimes cubes of cheese.
Pierogi is a staple and one of my favorites!
We were told of a fantastic restaurant in the Old City in Warsaw called "Pod Samsonem" or "Under Samson"...we found it and loved it!
Sitting at our seat we looked around at others meals and wanted to go and sample everything we saw. Beet soup called "Borscht" is a favorite of mine and I determined to order this soup. I was delighted when my soup came to the table and floating in the ruby broth was tiny pierogi called "Ucho" or little ears. They were filled with meat and were about 2 inches in size. It was fantastic! I dropped a dollop of sour cream in the center and completely enjoyed every spoonful!
Yes, cabbage was part of this meal...three yummy salads...each one of them was so delicious.
We ordered "Pork with Mushroom Gravy" and Spatzele,
"Beef Knuckle" served with Sauerkraut and Boiled Potato, and
"Sauteed Pork" with Roasted Potato and Sauteed Mushroom and Cabbage
Everything tasted fantastic! Our waitress was so gracious and helped us with our menu choices.

The very end of our trip was epic! The meal that we experienced was like nothing you could ever imagine.
The Restaurant was called "Karczma BIDA" near Lublin, Poland. You have to check it out on-line! When we walked in the huge double doors we felt like we were transported in time back to another land. This restaurant is decorated in a Polish Highlander and Polish Folklore style and the waiters and waitresses were all in costume. Directly in front of the entrance was a huge wood fired grill.
Meat was hanging over the grill...ribs and roasts. Our waitress, who was dressed in traditional Folk dress, directed us upstairs to a larger room.
The tables and chairs were huge wood hewn pieces.
We were overwhelmed by the decor and everywhere you looked there were logs and animal skins, carved statues and Polish Folklore pieces.
We were seated at an incredible table...the chairs were so heavy you could hardly pull them or push up to the table.
We were told to sit back and enjoy...that the meal would be enough for 8 people. First the cabbage salads came...I am getting use to this daily dose of cabbage!
Then the fantastic sauerkraut and polish pickles.
And then the "Podglᾳd" came, a massive platter of flaming meat and potatoes!!! (They took sugar cubes and soaked them in alcohol and lit them on fire!) What a presentation!
The potatoes were roasted and layered the bottom. The meat was piled high including roasted pork, ribs, kielbasa, sausage, beef knuckle, and pork cutlet. WOW!!!!! It was delicious!
As we were leaving, I snapped one more picture and was told that pictures were not permitted...oops!

This food adventure was unforgettable! Poland is filled with marvelous food...every day and every meal was an experience!

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces -
just good food from fresh ingredients."
~Julia Child

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Polish Food Series "Kawa"

112. Before my trip to Poland, I took time visiting sites on line, talking to those who had visited the country previously and checking out books in our local library. While trying to familiarize myself with what to expect, I heard that the Poles don't drink coffee. "What!!! Who doesn't drink COFFEE!!!!" Now, if you don't know me very well, you wouldn't know about my sincere love for the dark, aromatic, soothing beverage called coffee...or in Polish "Kawa".

While packing for my trip, I made sure to pick up coffee bags, Senseo pods, which when dropped in hot water, have the same effect as a tea bag, delivering the coffee flavor without a coffee pot, grounds or even electric. I was confident that these little coffee pods would be my close friends throughout the trip. To think of going through a whole day without coffee...yes, it could be done, but it would make me crazy! The only time I recall fasting coffee was when I was expecting both my girls...and that was not the situation at hand!

The hotel we stayed in provided breakfast each morning. The first morning we
made our way to the restaurant buffet and there...bigger than life...was "Kawa" a huge
urn!!! Now, whether this is a standard provision or if they provided coffee for the "Americanskis"...this started my day out just great! And the coffee was good!
That same day we toured the Old Town of Warsaw. It began to rain so we
ducked into a patio area outside a cafe. The umbrellas were huge but when the rain started to pour down we went inside.
The furniture was old and each piece was different.
Some tables had beautiful crochet tablecloths. The table we chose had a beautiful marble top.
We sat down and then realized, this was a Kawa Shoppe!
Of course, we ordered beautiful coffee and desserts. We learned that some Poles entertain a Tea/Coffee break each day about 3pm or so because their dinner meal is later in the day around 8pm.
The coffee is more traditional to espresso than brewed coffee in a drip pot. This made me even happier!!!
We sat and sipped on our coffee (and tea) while enjoying a Polish dessert.
When the rain cleared we headed back out into the Old City of Warsaw. We were told that there is only one Starbucks in all of Poland and it is in Warsaw. There is another coffee shop that is considered "American" and it is CoffeeHeaven. We saw several of these shops around the city and in the airport.
While traveling from Warsaw to Zamość we stopped off in a roadside gas station. It was like stepping into a BP in America. I needed a coffee so I went to the counter and ordered Kawa. (Ordering Coffee in Polish) "Prosź kaẃ". When I received my cup it was only filled 1/4 full with...espresso!!!! I am really starting to get use to this. The coffee was strong and freshly made.
In our Motel in Zamość the restaurant used hot water and instant coffee but it did the trick!
Nescafe is a popular brand in Poland.
Our last evening we took the bus downtown in Warsaw to the mall. My daughter and I really needed a cup of coffee so we saw this great little cafe. We ordered "kawa" and "latte" with a piece of Charlotka...which is an Apple Cake.
My daughter said that her latte was THE BEST she has ever had!
Before we flew out of Poland, we spent several hours with a dear sweet Polish friend. He was a wonderful interpreter. We walked through the gardens of an estate which was the home of one of the Polish royal families. As the time rolled by we realized we would have to make our way back to our Hotel. Then we smelled was so deliciously smelling. I said we had to have one more cup of kawa and a Gofry before we ended this wonderful experience.
I am so glad we did. Kawa jest "delicious" w Posce!

Coffee can be found in Poland...Excellent Kawa!!! And by the way, I didn't open the Senseo pack of coffee pods...I didn't need to!

"The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce. "
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "Over the Teacups," 1891

"Coffee smells like freshly ground heaven. "
~Jessi Lane Adams

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Polish Food Series "Gofry"

111. A "Gofry" is a dessert delight! You can smell them yards away and they make your mouth water. You have to have one! Gofry is a Polish Waffle. They are made fresh to order and are divine! You can order them plain with powdered sugar, with whipped cream, fruit, chocolate, carmel or nuts.

We had our first Gofry in the Old Town in Warsaw, Poland. It was crispy and had a delightful vanilla flavor. Though one custom we noticed with the Poles, they picked the Gofry up in their hands and ate it as you would a hot dog. Although, when they eat their kielbasa and bread, they cut it with a fork and knife and never put the sausage on the bread. We Americans cut our Gofry with a knife and fork and we ate our kielbasa on the bread in our hand. I made sure to watch the locals around before I began to eat anything.
"Gofry" Polish Waffle
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white sugar 4 egg yolks
4 egg separated, beating the egg whites to peaks
1 1 / 4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 / 2 cup melted butter

egin by sifting the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar - all the dry ingredients - together in a large mixing bowl.
Take a separate bowl and whisk together the egg yolks, milk, vanilla and butter.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into it.
Use a mixer to mix the wet and dry ingredients just until you get a moist mixture (stop when the dry ingredients are moistened).
In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, mix a little but not too much since you will destroy the delicate egg whites.
The waffle batter is done. Now just pour it onto hot waffle iron and cook until done. This usually takes a few minutes, a good sign that the waffes are done is when the steam stops coming out of the waffle maker.
Whether you eat your Gofry with a fork and knife or right out of your hand, you will be delighted! It is delicious!

“How do they taste? They taste like more.”
~H.L. Mencken


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