Szarlotka – Polish Apple Cake

Ingredients

Pastry

130g unsalted butter – must be softened at room temperature

300g plain flour

170g castor sugar

70 mls thickened cream

2 tsp baking powder

2 egg yolks

1 Tbs fresh bread crumbs – optional

Apple filling

1 kg granny smith apples

juice of 1 lemon

icing sugar for dusting

Step 1: Apple cake filling

Use fresh granny smith apples! The fresher the better, it means when you cook them they won’t fall apart easily and will taste lovely. I peel them and slice them into rough 2 cm pieces.

046_Apples_Small Pieces

Transfer the cut apples into a sauce pan, add the juice of the lemon, plus half of the sugar. The apples need to cook down with the sugar and juice until the juice evaporates. Stir regularly so the apples don’t catch to the bottom of the pan.

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Apples in Sugar

Tip: Mum’s recipe called for adding all the lemon juice from one lemon … but, unless I had a fairly large lemon, I found that at the end of the cooking process I had plenty of liquid left in the bottom of the saucepan and needed to strain it. The apples mixed with the sugar and juice gave off their own liquid, hence my suggestion is to start with 1/2 the lemon juice and add as you go whenever you see the apples drying out.

Maximum cooking time for the apples should be around 10 mins. Stir them occasionally, otherwise when you bake the cake in the oven the apples will go soggy and be too soft.

Once the apples cook down, take the saucepan off the heat and let them cool down completely.

Step 2: Pastry

Combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, butter and thickened cream in a large mixing bowl.

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Eggs

Now I need to be honest here…I have never made my own pastry before! So at this step I panicked. Mum instructions were … add pastry ingredients and mix by hand quickly until it all combines to form a soft dough.

With Mum’s instructions flying about in my head and camera in hand I began to mix the above ingredients together. For the first 5 minutes it seemed as if I was on a mission to nowhere! My mixture resembled more of a crumble than a soft dough…but I persevered … and within about 10 minutes, to my surprise, I had this …

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Dough

more kneading and I had this …

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Dough1

At this point I was jumping with joy! I had a perfect looking pastry type of a ball so the next step was to wrap it up in some cling film and pop it in the fridge for about 30 min.

After 30 min here is what I ended up with…

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Dough2

At this point you will need to cut the pastry in half and press it into a baking tray. I firstly rolled my pastry out flat with the rolling pin. The pastry will rise when it bakes so it needs to be about 0.5 cm in thickness.

Tip: Place the pastry on a sheet of baking paper so that it does not stick to your kitchen bench!

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Dough3

I then transferred the pastry into the baking tray and pressed it out to the edges with my fingers. 

Bake it in a 180ºC oven for 10 mins until it is slightly golden brown. Sprinkle it with the bread crumbs, I think it helps stop the base getting soggy from the apples.

Finding Feasts Apple Szarlotka Dough4

Step 3: Add apple mixture

Place the second half of the pastry onto a piece of baking paper and roll it out quite thin. It needs to be thinner than the bottom half otherwise you will have too much cake and not enough apples.

Add the cooled apple mixture and cover it with the second layer of rolled out pastry.

Bake in a 180ºC, (pre-heated) oven for about 40 min, until you see the top of the cake turn golden brown. Let it cool down and cut into even pieces.

Step 4: Icing sugar

Once the cake has been cut … sprinkle generously with icing sugar and ENJOY!!!

YUM!

Szarlotka - Polish Apple Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Desssert
Cuisine: Polish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Szarlotka is a traditional spiced apple cake similar to an apple pie. Perfect chilled winter nights served with a dusting of icing sugar or ice cream.
Ingredients
Pastry
  • 130g unsalted butter – must be softened at room temperature
  • 300g plain flour
  • 170g castor sugar
  • 70 mls thickened cream
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs fresh bread crumbs – optional
Apple filling
  • 1 kg granny smith apples, peeled and cored
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • icing sugar for dusting
Instructions
APPLE CAKE FILLING
  1. Cut the apples into rough 2 cm pieces, you want them large enough that they retain their shape when they cook down.
  2. Transfer the cut apples into a sauce pan, add the juice of the lemon, plus ½ of the sugar. The apples need to cook down with the sugar and juice until the juice evaporates. Cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Stir them occasionally, otherwise when you bake the cake in the oven the apples will go soggy and be too soft.
  3. Once the apples cook down, take the saucepan off the heat and let them cool down completely.
PASTRY
  1. Combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, butter and thickened cream in a large mixing bowl. Time to get your hands dirty! Knead the ingredients into a dough, it will take approximately 10 minutes for a soft dough to form.
  2. Cut the pastry in half and press it between two sheets of baking paper. Roll the pastry to the size of the baking tray. The pastry will rise so it needs to be roughly 0.5 cm in thickness prior to baking.
  3. Transfer the pastry into the baking tray and press it out to the edges with your fingers if the pastry does not make it to the edge of the baking tray.
  4. Bake in a 180-degree oven for 10 minutes until it is slightly golden brown. Sprinkle it with the bread crumbs, this helps stop the base getting soggy from the apples.
ADD APPLE MIXTURE
  1. Place the second half of the pastry onto a piece of baking paper and roll it out quite thin. It needs to be thinner than the bottom half otherwise you will have too much cake and not enough apples.
  2. Add the cooled apple mixture to your cake tin, cover the cake with the second layer of rolled out pastry.
  3. Bake in a 180 degree, (pre-heated) oven for about 40 min, until you see the top of the cake turn golden brown.
  4. Let it cool down and cut into even pieces.
  5. Once the cake has been cut sprinkle generously with icing sugar and ENJOY!!!
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