Mazurek Basics for Heike’s Mom

Mazurek is an important part of Polish Easter feast. Each family prepares several kinds, and home cooks compete in quality of the pastry, shape of final product, and creative glazing and decoration.

Mazureks are prepared at the beginning of the Holy Week, and served initially at highly celebrated Holy Sunday Breakfast. You first show them whole for esthetical value, then, when applause continues, you cut them with a sharp big knife (only as much as needed immediately) into minute pieces and serve. Leftovers will last for a long time afterwards to be enjoyed with coffee and tea.

They store well, in a cool place. They are easily breakable, so you will need wooden boards or other rigid surfaces to lay them on. I use parchment paper to bake them on (then easy to slide off the baking sheet), and to cover them when in  storage.

PASTRY

Traditional, rich pastry layer

Makes 3 squares. 25cm x25 cm

  • 900g flour,
  • 10 egg yolks hard boiled (i steam them on a colander),
  • 750g non salted butter (cold, cut into small cubes),
  • 1 cup of icing sugar,
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1-3 tbsp of fresh sour cream (i would also try fresh cream)
  1. sift the flour into a large bowl
  2. add egg yolks pushed through a sieve
  3. add sugar and salt
  4. gently mix all dry content
  5. add butter to dry stuff and cut all into fine crumbs
  6. fold all together kneading with your hands quickly. If does not bond well, add cream
  7. cover with foil and put into the fridge for 1 hour
  8.  set the oven to 200C (400F)
  9. cut the dough in three pieces
  10. roll out each piece thinly (8 mm?), take 1/3 of each aside for walls and dividers
  11. shape flat piece into a desired square. rectangle, circle, heart….
  12.  join cut out leftovers and pieces set aside to form walls and dividers (roll a little long piece, sit it on the main flat, press gently to secure in place, make silly patterns with a fork..).  Glazing to be added later is usually very liquid when first applied – something must keep it within the walls until it cools down and solidifies). I sometimes shape one large piece planning to cut it into smaller individual creations after it comes out of the oven
  13. slide the dough onto baking sheet(s)
  14. you may, if you wish, paint the edges with egg wash, to make them shiny – but it is not necessary
  15. Bake until golden (13-15 min)
  16. take out and (cut if so desired) and let cool
  17. glaze and decorate (some suggestions below)

Less rich pastry layer

one cake 30cmx50cm or more

  • 600 g flour
  • 3 yolks
  • 350 g butter (cold, cut into small cubes))
  • 250 g sugar
  • Salt
  1. sift flour into a large bowl
  2. add sugar and salt,
  3. cut in butter
  4. add yolks, fold in quickly with your hands
  5. keep covered in the fridge for 1 hour or more
  6. set the oven to 200C (400F)
  7. rollout thinly and form desired shapes, for the walls around and bridges between (glazing is usually very liquid when first applied – something must keep it within the walls until it cools down and solidifies)
  8. slide the dough onto baking sheet(s)
  9. you may, if you wish, paint the edges with egg wash, to make them shiny – but it is not necessary
  10. Bake until golden (13-15 min)
  11. take out and let cool
  12. glaze and decorate

Glaze and Decorate

Glazing (samples below) is usually a warm, thick substance. You pour it over the cool pastry, decorate with stuff (see below) and usually let it just cool. Some recipes require that you put it in the oven again – these are rather exceptions

Decorate a you like it. Suggested materials in any combination:

  • candied orange peel, cut into thin long strips or any shape you want
  • nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts),
  • dried apricots cut any which way,
  • dates,
  • almonds (peeled and/or not, cut and/or not),
  • dried prunes
  • raisins
  • marzipan in various colours
  • any other candied fruit or stuff that will not spoil easily

GLAZE examples

Chocolate

  • 180g bitter sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbps butter
  1. dissolve chocolate in hot bath (place the pot with chocolate insode a bigger one with hot/boiling water)
  2. add butter and cream.
  3. place the pot on heating element and cook slowly, reducing the volume (mind, it will all solidify then cool)
  4. remove from heat when it is as thick as thick honey
  5. pour over the pastry and decorate
  6. set aside in cool place (it may be solidifying overnight, not immediately)

Orange

  •  2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 225g sugar
  1. wash fruit carefully in hot water
  2. cut fruit (with peel) into pieces, remove pits (stones)
  3. blend in a blender
  4. heat the fruit mix with sugar, about 30 minutes, stirring often. You want to obtain a thick, somewhat transparent concoction
  5. Pour out warm over the cool pastry, spread delicately with a spatula
  6. decorate (I often use thin slices of fresh orange for this one..)
  7. set aside in the cool place

Kajmak (resembles fudge)

  • 2 cups of  whipping cream or condensed milk,
  • 500g sugar
  • 100-150g butter
  1. bring to boil milk and sugar and simmer, on low heat, stirring constantly, until it visibly thickens (may take up to 2 hours..)
  2. take off the heat and let it cool down,
  3. add butter and cream-it-in, until almost double in size.
  4. with the help of the knife immersed in the hot water spread the glazing over the cool pastry.
  5. decorate and set aside in cool place .

Dried fruit

Filling

  • 500g of dried fruit, chopped finely (candied orange peel, figs, dates, dried apricots, raisins, nuts, almonds)
  • 200g tart jam or marmalade

Icing

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 70g icing sugar
  • vanilla
  • 20g butter, melted
  • 50g crushed almonds
  • 30g bread crumbs
  • Lemon juice (of 1/2 lemon) or 1 tsp of citric acid, diluted
  1. set the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. spread tart jam or marmalade over the pastry
  3. place a thick layer of dried fruit over it
  4. cream the egg and egg yolk with sugar
  5. add lemon juice, vanilla, butter, almonds, bread crumbs, mix well
  6. cover mazurek with icing
  7. bake for about15 minutes
  8. let cool and store in cool place
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