I usually do not post two desserts one after another but I have just made a few typical Polish Easter treats, which I would like to share. Besides, our Easter pastry is so good that it can be made all year round.
First of all, there are all kind of babkas, in particular, made from a yeast dough with candied fruits and raisins. Another typical one is mazurek. I suppose it falls within a tart category. It is very crispy, short and thin, and can be made with a variety of toppings--nuts, poppy seeds, cheese, as well as dried fruits and preserves.
A secret of a good mazurek lies in the quality of the crust, which must be thin and, in any event, not thicker than the topping. The one I make most often comes from my grandma's recipe book. She made her mazureks with farmers' cheese or poppy seed paste. They were so good and tempting that when my big family gathered for holidays, my uncles were attacked them long before they appeared on the Easter table.
I usually make my mazureks with nuts. And my favorite is the one I post today, which is best made with hazelnuts. The crust needs to be baked first and the topping needs to be added later. Because most of the ingredients are baked or dried and no perishable products are used in its preparation, this mazurek can stay fresh for quite a while, if of course my family can allow for it.
Hazelnut Chocolate Tart
2 sticks butter (about 250 g) room temperature,
2 egg yolks,
1/3 cup sugar,
2 cups flour, plus about 1/2 extra for cleaning hands.
2 cups hazelnuts,
2 cups chocolate chips (I like to use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips),
1 cup raisins,
4 tbsp table cream or half an half,
1 jar apricots or plum preserves.
1. In a small bowl, using a small whisker or spoon, mix egg yolks with sugar and cream for about for 1-2 minutes, until they turn smooth and pale yellow.
2. Put butter and 2 cups of flour in a large bowl and using fingers make crumbles.
3. Add egg mixture and working as fast as possible make a dough. The faster all ingredients are combined the shorter will be the dough, as tart crust does not like to be kneaded for too long. If the dough is still too wet add more flour, also to clean hands, however, use no more than extra 1/2 cup.
4. Wrap a dough in a plastic foil and let it chill in a refrigerator for at least an hour. Such a dough can be stored in a refrigerator for up to three weeks, or can be frozen if you want to keep it even longer.
5. Take the dough out of refrigerator and let it stay in room temperature for at least half an hour.
6. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough an a surface dusted with flour. If have space in a refrigerator, you can actually first roll the dough out, transfer it to on a rolling pin to baking tin and put it in a refrigerator like that.
7. Preheat oven to 375 F and bake crust for about 25 minutes. It should be gold on top. Take the crust out and let it chill completely.
1. Put hazelnuts on a hot and dry (no oil) frying pan and moving them all the time toast them slightly. Let them cool down and working with hands remove any loose peel.
2. Place raisins in a small bowl, cover them with warm water, and leave aside for 20 minutes. Strain the raisins on a colander, and pat them with paper towel to dry them completely.
3. Place chocolate chip in a medium-sized pan, add cream, and melt them over a low heat, stirring continuously until they turn into a thick and smooth sauce.
4. Spread preserves evenly over the crust. Toss it with roasted hazelnuts and raisins.
5. Pour the warm chocolate sauce on top.
6. Let the tart chill in a refrigerator for about 2 hours, so it sets, but later it does not need to be kept in a refrigerator.
Cut in rectangles and serve.