Cooking is quite a meditative way of spending the time in the Triduum not given over to pious exercises and the liturgy. Just as well, as that is what I spend much of last night doing, and am doing this morning.

This morning – orange mazurek. Not a speedy recipe. Though after six oranges and a lemon,  I saved some time by grating the peel off the remaining three lemons and shoving the rest in the blender. Actually, you could probably do a  very nice topping by peeling your citruses, putting the insides into the blender and chopping the peel into tiny cubes. Chunky.

Fruit pulp with fru-fru Caribbean sugar in lumps.

Orange Mazurek (click for pictures of what it can look like if you’re good at sort of thing)

by Kuchnia Polska (Warszawa, 1956)

For the cake bit:

300g “krupczatka” flour*, 200g butter, 100g icing sugar, 3 egg yolks (boiled), “vanilla” (says the book: I used vanilla sugar). You will need a baking tray or tin – preferably one with removable sides (if round) or only three sides (if square), because it is a shortbread-like crumbly pastry, and thin. You can also use one of those fairy cake trays, and make mini-mazurki

*a coarsely-ground white flour (500 in the German system, as far as “whiteness” goes, and less powdery than normal flour, more “grainy” in texture – the caster sugar to normal flour’s icing sugar. Still, anything good for shortbread will probably do.)

For the orange bit:

2 lemons, 1/2 kg oranges, 1/2 kg sugar (imho the browner the better), 1/8 litre water, 100g flaked almonds (I’ve only ever used them for decoration)

Making the cake bit:

Separate out the yolks from their whites and boil them for ten minutes (go ask the Frozen Gnome for tips, all I can suggest is lots of water, very gently boiling, and sort of swirl the yolks in. Or try a slotted spoon.) Rub the yolks through a sieve. Sieve the flour onto a work top. Chop it up with butter, add the icing sugar (sieved!), yolks and vanilla, and quickly make the pastry. Put it somewhere cool, or the fridge, for 20-30 mins.

Cut off about 1/4 of the pastry. Roll the rest out to 3/4 cm, and fit onto the bottom of your tray(s). Smear egg white around the edge. From the reserved quarter make a long sausage about the thickness of a finger, and use it to make a rim. I am happy if it is about even, but Real Cooks should make an ornamental edge using a knife blade or some such. Slime some beaten raw egg (white and yolk) over the edge. Prick the base densely with a fork. Bake in a well-heated oven until it is golden (it bakes quickly!). Take it out and remove it from the tin while it is hot.

Orange topping:

Grate the oranges and lemons. (Yes, that’s right.) Put the mush into a (preferably thick-bottomed, wide pan – a big heavy frying pan is ideal). Add the  water and sugar (I usually use a bit less than the recipe says). Cook very very slowly for hours (2 to 3) until the mass is thick and transparent.The recipe says to add the almonds at this point and mix them in, but I’ve not tried that yet.

Grand Finale:

Spread the orange marmalade over the pastry base. Use a knife dipped frequently into very hot water to get a glassy finish on the top, and/or decorate with flaked almonds (or anything you like).

Suggested order of work: prepare the topping and put it on to cook, prepare the pastry and put it in the fridge, prepare the tins, wash up (and optionally – make silver cake or something else quick that uses up the whites and bung it in to bake – some need to be put into a cold oven, which is doubly handy), roll fit and bake the pastry, put it all together.

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