Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Some Strange Culinary Habits of Ours, We the Polish People

(pierogi z serem)

One of my discoveries when I moved to France was that French never eat sweet meals, neither for lunch nor for dinner. On the contrary, some of us, the Polish people, eat such meals in the summer time, or on Fridays. I believe that this is not very appealing to foreigners. I admit that it probably is a strange culinary habit, but no stranger than to eat andouille.

I do not like those sweet meals as main courses (as I don't appreciate sweets in general), but on the other hand it is still a part of our culinary heritage, and I remember from my childhood such awkward obiads like, for example, rice (usually overcooked) with apples with cinnamon topped with heavy cream; noodles with curd cheese served with sugar, or a sweet version of little hooves (kopytka) served with breadcrumbs fried in butter and topped with sugar of course; sweet pancakes (naleśniki) with fruits, jam and quark. That was the reality of the eighties.

There are three Polish sweet dishes which I like to eat (however only as a dessert nowadays). The first one is a fruit soup (for example, raspberry or bilberry) made from seasonal summer forest fruits. The second one is sweet dumplings (pierogi). The third one, which is really more international, are pancakes. You will find below links to my older posts about savory dumplings, which, of course, I favor.

Sometimes I like to eat sweet dumplings. I “upgraded” a classical recipe with the addition of some classical French or English sauces as an accompaniment to this simple and peasant food. The fact is that kids do like this type of food, so sometimes I make a batch of those dumplings for my daughter. I freeze them and I just boil them whenever she wants some.

For this type of dumplings you can use typical Polish quark cheese (to find out how to make such a cheese, please check out my older post). If you are too lazy to prepare quark cheese at home you can use Italian ricotta or mascarpone, but then, adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste. In place of raisins in the filling you can add any type of dried fruits, like dates, figs, apricots, as well as chopped walnuts.

Those dumplings are easy to find in every Polish “milk bar” (as described in this post) or in every student cantina, cheaper restaurants serving traditional Polish food. Usually they are just topped with some powdered sugar, but if you make a bit of an effort and you decide to make a little sweet sauce as an accompaniment, this simple food may turn into a nice… dessert, because I do not force anybody to eat sweet meals as a main course. So, here in this post I propose to make a simple orange sauce, but you can also make a lemon curd, crème anglaise, a basic chocolate ganache or even a raspberry or a strawberry coulis.

Serves 4


220 g pierogi dough (make half the basic dough recipe page according to this or, by applying clarified butter as described in this post
440 g quark cheese
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
35 g raisins
The rind of 1 organic orange, thinly sliced + orange juice
1-2 tablespoon cane sugar
100 ml heavy cream (crème fleurette)

1. Soak raisins in warm water for around 30 minutes. Strain and put aside.
2. In a metal bowl, combine egg yolks, powdered sugar and vanilla seeds.
3. Blanch the orange rind in boiling water, strain and put aside. 
4. Crumble cheese in a bowl. Add the egg yolk mixture, raisins and 1/3 of the orange rind. Combine thoroughly.
5. Prepare the sauce: in a small saucepan, mix orange juice with cane sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens. Slowly add the cream and 7. remove from heat.
6. Prepare and cook pierogi as described in the basic recipe.
7. Serve immediately after cooking with warm orange sauce.

You can experiment with other sauces, like, for example, lemon curd, raspberry coulis or chocolate ganache.

Bon appétit !

My other posts about pierogi:


Kasia said...

Finally, I come across a polish food blogger!
I immigrated to Chicago when I was 8 months old and love our food!!!!

Magdalena said...

Kasia, so you should definitely visit my blog :)

Weronika said...

Magda, I have just discovered your blog and love it. I am a krakowianka just like you, having grown up in Germany and now living in Nice in the south of France. You trigger sweet memories of the dishes of my Polish upbringing! However, as I am not eating meat since 12 years (I do eat fish) it would be great to read more about the veg-options of our countrie's cuisine.

Magdalena said...

Weronika, nice to see you here...I will definitely try to present more recipes with fish - especially those having roots in Old Polish cuisine. Stay tuned :)

KLFoodBlog said...

Hi Magda..
We love orange-vanilla twist on polish classic - pierogi. We hope to visit your blog again soon and thanks for stopping by on our "baby" :) Greetings

Anonymous said...

I agree, this is one of most loved, 'ancient' meals in our home too. The value of these dumplings stems also from the fact that Mom often combines quark cheese with plums, although the end of season uses frozen fruits from well known source here like Pińczów. I think that sweet dinner (I mean 'main course' or as Mom call it 'second plate') is better than sweets themselves and is not stranger culinary habit than andouille or horizo (used often in Spain by my cousin). As they call it 'world is a village' :) Btw Your orange souce upgrade is awesome :)

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