I have loved hot buttered rum mix since I was a child. No! I wasn't drinking in elementary school; I was snitching a pinch of the mix that my parents made and kept in the fridge. They were purists - Trader Vic's style, butter, brown sugar, spices. Yum!
Many years later, when I was following in their footsteps, a neighbor and I were comparing recipes. When she told me that she added vanilla ice cream to her mix, my only thought was sacrilege! But I've come around. I kind of like the creaminess the ice cream adds, so that's what I'm serving this winter.
We have a road trip planned with friends for Thanksgiving weekend. We're all piling in our minivan and heading north to Turin (home of Copernicus), Malbork Castle (the largest in the world and where I believe the Matla Knights made their last stand), and on to Gdansk on the Baltic Sea. What does this have to do with hot buttered rum mix?
I thought it would be the perfect thing to take along for an evening drink with our friends at the hotel - you know to warm up and debrief the day's events. After all, it's much easier to make hot water in a European hotel room than to find ice. No, American friends, there are not ice makers on every floor - even at the Hilton. If you're really lucky, you might talk the bartender out of a glass of ice to share with your friends, and that's if you're buying your drinks in the bar!
I'll include both versions, so you can decide for yourself. My husband thinks the creamy version is a little too sweet. Also included the metric packaging measurements for European readers. Cheers!
I first tried oscypek, a salty Polish smoked cheese made from sheep's milk, at an outdoor barbeque. It was cooked on the grill and served with lingonberry jam. It's a staple at outdoor festivals, so I had to take some home with me two summers ago for a 4th of July party. Our friend, Mike, graciously stepped up to do the grilling since my husband was away. He was more than a little surprised that I had cheese as well as meat and veggies for him to cook. I must say that he did a great job; you would have never known that it was his first time grilling cheese.
Not Mike and obviously not 4th of July, grilled cheese at the St. Martin's Parade
As I did a little research, trying to find the name of this "smoked cheese from the mountains," as our Polish friends always translate it for us, I found that the oscypek has been at the heart of a controversy with European Union regulations on one side and Polish tradition and the slow food movement on the other. I don't know if this has been resolved. Perhaps the cheese I'm buying is a sterile, pasteurized, corporate knock-off.
This post was originally just going to be about the cheese, but I also came across the idea for a grilled cheese and jam sandwich on Grilled Cheese Social. Strawberry jelly was the recommendation on the cheese blog, but I decided to slice up a sunflower seed roll and do a taste test with apricot jam, strawberry jam, and oscypek's usual accompaniment lingonberry or cranberry preserves.
It may just be my sweet tooth, but in this little kitchen, the apricot and strawberry jams were the big winners. The juxtaposition of the salty, smoked cheese with the thick, sweet fruit jam was surprising and fantastic!
It is always put in a mold and people who see if for the time--
including me years ago -- think it's bread. Real Oscepek can be made
only with sheep milk and milk from Polish Red Cows. This is part of a
deal with the EU -- when Poland was entering, Slovakia objected to this
to having this traditional name becoming a registered, protected name,
so it took a couple years to work out the deal of what names are used in
Poland and Slovakia and what they mean. Cheese that doesn't fit the
definition regarding the milk used is sold as "mountain cheese."
This isn't really a recipe, just a suggestion for your hot drink repertoire. Try a cup of weak black tea, with a little sugar and about half a shot of sambuca or other anise flavored liqueur. Paco, the Spanish bartender at the Officers' Club at Torrejon Air Base recommended this to me when I had a cold back in the 80s. It's been filed away in the back of my brain, to be dusted off recently when I was recovering from pneumonia. It's very soothing for a sore throat. Now, I've decided that it really tastes amazing and should also be consumed by healthy people.
This is a variation on butternut squash galette, one of my favorites, but sadly, I haven't been able to find butternut squash. This week, my usual substitute, sweet potatoes, were also unavailable. Beets, on the other hand, are always available in Poland - fresh, canned, shredded, with horseradish, how ever you want them. The flavors were great together; I love this crust, but since I have leftovers, I'm wondering if the crust will be pink tomorrow.
For the pastry:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves (I used a teaspoon of dried poultry seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 to 8 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon canola oil
For the filing:
3 large beets, peeled, quartered and sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks, the white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces soft, mild goat cheese, crumbled
1 to 3 teaspoons, horseradish (optional and to taste)
To make the dough, pulse the flours, butter, sage, and salt in a food processor until it has the texture of a coarse meal. (I'm not intimidated by making pie crust, so I usually don't bother with using the food processor - too many parts to wash, but in this case, it seemed like the best way to insure the sage was finely chopped and evenly distributed.)
While pulsing, slowly add ice water, using just enough for the dough to form a ball. Don't overwork it.
Shape the dough into a 5 inch disk, wrap in plastic, and chill at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Toss the beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt.
Spread beets over a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Turn once during the roasting (exercise EXTREME caution when opening the oven door to do this. The blast of steam that hit me in the face was frightening.)
Remove beets from the oven and reduce temperature to 375.
While the beets are cooking, saute the leeks in the remaining olive oil, with a sprinkle of sea salt, over medium high heat loosely covered for 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer leeks to a large bowl and mix with goat cheese, pepper, horseradish, and beets. (Both the dough and the filing can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated. I lined a 9 inch cake pan with plastic wrap and spread the filing around the pan, bringing the wrap around the top of the filing before refrigerating. That way my squash mixture is the right size to plop in the middle of my pie crust.)
Roll dough into a 13 to 14 inch circle.
Put filing in the center of the dough leaving a 2 to 3 inch margin all around the filing.
Fold the edges of the dough up to cover the filing, pleating as necessary.
Whisk the oil into the beaten egg and brush the pastry with the egg mixture and bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
I've been wanting to make this local specialty for a long time. It's traditionally made for November 11th, St. Martin's Day. The first year Ed was in Poland, he told me about them. The second year, he put one in the freezer for me because I was coming for a visit just a week later. I began reading recipes online back in August. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be invited to a Rogale swietomarcinskie workshop hosted by the head of the bakers' guild. That was so much fun, and I picked up some good tips. And now I know that if I make thousands, this pastry dough will become a simple matter for me, as it was for the professional bakers. It wasn't simple today.
The filing was easy to put together. I can see myself using this in other ways - in thumb print cookies, in kolachi rather than a canned filling. The dough was such a chore to prepare that it maybe be prepared less frequently. The professionals have a giant rolling machine that I would love to have. I think with that roller, I could be unstoppable - making fresh croissants every couple of days. I would have to be riding my bike every waking moment that I wasn't in the kitchen.
Source: This recipe is adapted from Regionalna Kuchnia Polska, a cookbook I picked up in the train station and have been translating withe the help of google.
For the filling:
2/3 cup poppy seeds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup shortbread cookie crumbs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon almond extract
With a steel blade, process poppy seeds, walnuts, raisins, almonds, and cookie crumbs in food processor until the texture is a coarse meal.
Dump the mixture into a sauce pan , add cream, sugar, butter, and salt.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. The mixture will still ooze a little. As it cools it will become more firm.
Stir in almond extract, cool.
For the pastry:
7/8 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 packet dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
4 egg yolks
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter chilled,sliced
for egg wash:
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
milk or cream, to create spreadable consistency
Heat milk to 110 degrees.
Add 2 tablespoons butter, yeast, and sugar.
Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes, should be foamy.
Add egg yolks.
Stir in flour and salt.
Place in a clean bowl, cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
Top dough with butter slices.
Fold dough into thirds, and roll it out to the original size
Fold into thirds and roll 4 more times (you now have 243 layers of your original butter topped dough)
Cut dough into long triangles
Top with filling, I used my hands and rolled it into ropes 1 inch in diameter
Roll up starting with the short side
Place croissants on baking sheet , cover and let rise 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine egg, water, and oil. Lightly brush rolls with egg wash.
Bake until brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and frost with glaze made of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.
I wasn't excited about this cake. The flavors just didn't seem to go together. It just shows you how wrong I can be. The cake was sensational! You see it boxed up here - on it's way to a dinner party. There were seven of us at dinner that night and we ate almost the entire cake, maybe one slice left. There were no complaints about being too full, diets, or the cake being too rich. We just cleaned our plates - everyone of us.
Rose garnished the cake with pecans around the perimeter - a nut I've yet to find in Poland, so my cheesecake went architectural with shards of pepita brittle. The lacy scroll of caramel was just the right flavor compliment for the pumpkin cheesecake. Without its usual accompaniment of spices, the pumpkin cream cheese mixture was very mild. I used a box of Dutch ginger cookies with a light flavor to make the crust, and I doubled the crust recipe. I love a cookie crust; it's one of my favorite parts of a cheesecake.
While we don't publish the recipes in Rose's Heavenly Cake bake along, I can give you the recipe for the pepita brittle. It can add a special element to other baked goods. It seems very appropriate with carrot cake (or cupcakes) too.
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 T. butter
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, butter, and salt.
Cook, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 290 degrees.
Stir in pepitas, cook stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 300.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla..
Quickly spread mixture on large greased baking sheet.
Cool, break into pieces, and store in airtight container.
Unlike peanut brittle, this is translucent because I've left out the 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda usually added with the vanilla. The baking soda makes the syrup fizz up, giving it an airy, almost honeycomb texture. I like the look without, almost glass-like.
I didn't get around to making a HCB free choice this week, but I did make the chocolate cake with Nutella flavored Italian Meringue Butter Cream for Zosia's 10th birthday. Perfect for the chocoholic! I also made the pumpkin cheesecake last weekend (to post on Monday). HCB friends, if you're on the fence about this cake, it was fabulous! By all means, make it. You and your friends will be glad you did .
For the cake:
1 1/4 c. sour cream
1 1/4 vegetable oil
1 3/4 c. water
2 1/2 T white vinegar
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
3 c. sugar
1 c. dutch process cocoa powder
1 T baking soda
1 t. salt
Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans. (I also line the bottom with parchment paper - no risk of anything sticking that way.)
Preheat oven at 350.
Whisk together wet ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients and stir until smooth.
Divide batter evenly into the three pans.
Bake for 40-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
For the frosting:
1 1/4 cups sugar (1 7/8)
2/3 cup water (1)
5 egg whites (8)
pinch cream of tartar
1 pound butter, chilled and cut into chunks of 1 or 2 tablespoons (1 1/2)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 jar Nutella (the Jif chocolate hazelnut spread is thicker and give a better frosting texture)
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted (optional)
8 Ferrero Rocher candies
For the main ingredients, I used the amounts in parenthesis because I wanted to be sure I'd have enough frosting for 3 layers and to do some piping. I had more than enough and froze the leftover. If you're only frosting 2 layers or not piping extra buttercream on the cake, the basic amounts should be fine.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Stirring only until the sugar dissolves.
Cook to soft ball stage, 238 degrees
While the sugar is cooking, prepare the egg whites
Beat whites until foamy, add cream of tartar
Beat until stiff peaks form
With the mixer running, slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the egg whites. I was using a hand mixer, so I drizzled between the beaters and the edge of the bowl. Stopped drizzling and moved the beaters to incorporate the syrup, over and over. If the syrup hits the beaters, it will just get flung about rather than mixed in.
Continue to beat for about 3 minutes
With the mixer running, slowing add the chunks of butter, the buttercream may look like it's seperating, but just keep beating. It will magically come together with a fluffly, even texture and enough body to make a nice frsoting to work with.
Add the vanilla, Nutella, and melted chocolate.
Frost the cake. Pipe any pattern you wish along the base of the cake; make 16 large stars around the outside of the top.