When I lived in Poland, Mazurek was the Easter pastry that all of my friends were making. I was fortunate to sample several of these beautifully decorated short-crust tarts topped with layers of goodness.
Mazurek invites creativity. It's the baking equivalent of adult coloring books. Often the pastry is glazed with a tart jam or marmalade and then topped with caramel or chocolate hazelnut spread making it one the sweeter Polish desserts. Then the decorating begins. Popular designs include pussy willow branches (they take the place of palms in Poland for Palm Sunday and Easter), flowers, eggs, bunnies, and geometric patterns.
Dried fruits and nuts are the most popular items used in creating these shapes. You'll also find cut-out cookies and candies. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I was invited to try a friend's Mazurek that she'd covered with a blueberry filling on which she'd piped Wielkanoc (Easter in Polish) and the year in meringue that had been lightly browned.
The sky is the limit, my friends. That's why you'll want to make more than one Mazurek. You'll need more than one tart to hold all of your ideas.
For this year's Mazurek, I've tweaked the crust recipe a bit, making it easier to roll out and shape, and made a chocolate ganache with Polish chocolate.
If you have a tart pan, you're ready to go, but don't feel you have to rush out and buy one. My Mazureks were made in a rectangular tart pan and in a square springform pan. You can use a loaf pan, a cake pan, a disposable aluminum pan, whatever you have.
I hope you'll try your hand at making a Mazurek this year. It's more than dessert; it's also a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter table.
- 2 cups flour (300 g)
- 2/3 cup butter, chilled (150 g)
- 1/2 cup sugar (80 g)
- 1 large egg
- 2 - 4 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup sour cherry jam or marmalade (160 g)
- 8 ounces of your favorite chocolate (240 g)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (80 g)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
Choose some of the following or use your own imagination
- candied cherries
- almonds, whole, sliced or slivered
- dried apricots
- pine nuts
- cut-out cookies
- ganache for piping
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, two knives, a food processor, or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Work in the sugar. Add the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk, adding a little more milk if needed to form a cohesive mass.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Carefully transfer the dough to your pan. Trim the dough to fit the pan, making a raised edge around the edge of the pan. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour. Poke holes in the crust with a fork every couple of inches. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges just begin to take on a golden color.
- Warm the jam, so it will spread easily. I also blitzed the warm jam with an immersion blender to make the pieces of fruit smaller. Spread a layer of jam over the crust, a scant coating up to 1/8 inch thick.
- Finely chop the chocolate. Heat the cream until it just begins to bubble around the edge. Stir in the chopped chocolate, butter, and honey until the butter and chocolate have melted. Pour a layer of ganache over the jam layer.
- Add fruits and nuts to decorate the top of the Mazurek with your own creative pattern.
For more Polish recipes from Lois visit www.polishhousewife.com