Cheesecakes – exquisite cakes
Cheesecakes have stood out among the baked goods of the Małopolska region for centuries. Exquisite cakes, prepared on festive occasions. The ingredients needed to make a cheesecake – eggs, butter, cheese – were the most common products sold by the farmers, so it wasn’t very often that you could afford to bake a cheesecake on your own: it was mainly done at Christmas and Easter.
Among the traditional cheesecakes, the royal cheesecake from the Ryczów area stands out. What is unusual here is the addition of oil instead of butter, and the presence of as many as five layers. The characteristic flavour of the cheese is enriched by the slight acidity of the sultanas and the delicate aroma of coconut. The baking time is long and takes an hour at 180 degrees. The warm cake is sprinkled with desiccated coconut at the end. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
The traditional version, on the other hand, is represented by the Jurassic cheesecake – made with butter, cheese and eggs – a delicacy from the Krakow-Częstochowa Upland, which is famous for its excellent dairy products. It’s baked on a pie crust. In order to make it completely smooth, the cheese is ground twice and then enriched with small portions of the egg yolks previously beaten with sugar and butter. The thoroughly kneaded mixture is mixed with the stiffly beaten egg whites. The characteristic part of the preparation of a Jurassic cheesecake is that it’s baked in a special cherrywood mould. This gives the baked goods a unique flavour.
Koziołeks – diamond, trapezoid or triangle shaped
Koziołeks are pastries in the characteristic shape of a diamond, trapezoid or triangle, prepared in the village of Siedliszowice in the Małopolska region. They take their name from their form, which resembles the horns of a goat (kozioł). This pastry recipe became well-known as early as the 1820s and 1830s.
Koziołeks are baked from wheat flour, eggs, cottage cheese and sour milk or buttermilk. A dough is prepared from all these ingredients, which then needs to be rolled out and cut into diamond, triangle or square-shaped pieces. The raw cakes are deep-fried for about 5 minutes and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar at the end. This sweet treat was often on people’s tables. The recipe is very simple, so the pastries are perfect for a sweet snack, breakfast or afternoon tea. In the past, koziołeks were made 1–2 times a week, sometimes replacing bread, which requires longer preparation.
Regulice fudge – the sweet work of the Regulice housewives
In the Regulice area, almost every farm kept cows, which were considered the feeders of entire families. Milk was mainly used to make cheese, cream and butter. One of the traditional and much-loved dairy delicacies of Regulice was the local fudge (krówka), owing its name to the provider of the main ingredient needed to make it and to the village from which it originated, i.e., the cow (krowa). These sweet delicacies were usually prepared in the run-up to the Christmas holidays.
The ingredients needed to make the Regulice fudge, once called karmeleks, were at the housewives’ fingertips. The preparation of the fudge begins by heating the milk. Once the milk is boiling, sugar is added and the preparation is cooked for about 1–2 hours until the mixture thickens and turns brown. Then butter is added, and the thick mixture is cooked for another 5 minutes. At this stage, crushed biscuits or nuts can be added to make flavoured fudges. The finished mixture is poured into a baking tray and set aside in a cool place for about half an hour. When the sweet mixture has hardened, it’s simply cut into rectangles. The delicious candies wrapped in coloured tissue paper can be stored for up to about a month.
Radocza apple pie with rose petals
The history of preparing apple pie in the village of Radocza goes back several generations. Its fantastic and unique taste and aroma is ensured by the addition of rose petals. The cake has been prepared for more than thirty years using raw materials from the region: flour, hen’s eggs, apples and rose petal jam from local farmers.
The recipe has its roots in old Galician cuisine. The rose aroma, combined with the juicy apple, is a true poetry of taste. Local housewives are very keen to serve this baked product at important feasts. Be sure to try this unusual combination of flavours – you certainly won’t regret it.
Kościelec poppy seed cake – a guarantee of more than just prosperity
In the Proszowice district, every farmer grew poppies and always made sure to leave some for their own use, especially for preparing Christmas dishes and the poppy seed cake. The absence of poppies on the Christmas table was inconceivable, as they were supposed to guarantee prosperity and fertility in the family.
The poppy seed cake is made of yeast dough, which is rolled up with poppy seed filling and baked in a narrow oblong mould, a must at Christmas and Easter. It owes its unique flavour to the cold kneading of the yeast dough. As the residents of Kościelec point out, the dough for poppy seed cake must be soaked in cold water and not left to rise in the heat. This involves forming the kneaded dough into a ball, wrapping it in a cloth and soaking it in cold water, waiting for it to come to the surface. This dough is then kneaded on a pastry board, divided into pieces and rolled out into a rectangular shape. A filling is placed on each rectangle and the whole is rolled up. The dough prepared in this way is left to rise slightly and then baked. If you don’t like poppy seeds, you can also try the cake with other ingredients.
If you have acquired an irrepressible craving for sweets, set off on a journey through the Małopolska region and discover new, delicious flavours!