A long time ago, during our wonderful trip to Poland, I posted picture of a szarlotka (apple cake) I made. I think it's high time to post some more pictures and, more importantly, give you a recipe for it! It's one of the most popular desserts in Poland, Americans have their brownies and we have our szarlotka. It's not the quickest cake ever, because you have to knead some dough, but it's not that bad, and it takes only few minutes to do it. Before I take care of the dough I make the apple filling and that's when my wonderful husband comes in, somebody needs to grate those apples and I don't want to lose my nails!
Ingredients for filling:
1 cup of dried cranberries and raisins
sugar (according to your liking)
Grate the peeled apples and cook them with sugar, dried fruit, and cinnamon for about 10 min while stirring the whole time (they really like to stick to the bottom of the pot).
You can prepare them even couple of days earlier and store them in the fridge until you are ready to bake a cake. Speaking of cake these are the things you will need:
3 cups of flour
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup of white sugar
1 packet of vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
fresh orange zest.
Combine flour with baking powder, sugar, and orange zest, add butter and cut everything with a knife until it's mixed. Add eggs and knead the dough using your hands (yes it requires to get dirty!). Divide the dough in half, freeze one of them and roll the other one on the baking pan and bake for 5-6 min (don't let it brown). Spread the apples on the top of it and grate the frozen half of the dough on the top of apples.Grating the dough can be challenging because it's not too frozen and it's just melting in your hands, so what I discovered is that freezing small pieces of it helps a little. Bake at 350F for about 45 min (until the top is brownish).
Either the recipe calls for a little bit too much of everything or my baking dish is not big enough, but I always end up with leftover dough. But this is absolutely no big deal because there are plenty of things you can do with it. This time I just rolled it out and cut out different shapes with my Christmas cookie cutters, brushed them with eggs, sprinkled with sugar and poppy seeds, baked until golden brown and voila, delicious cookies are ready! No dough will be wasted in my house!
The orange zest gives the cookies a really fresh, citrusy, and Christmasy flavor. To be honest I was a little bit surprised how good they turned out, who knew! All you need is a glass of milk and you are good to go!
Have a sweet day.