First, I apologize for disappearing for two months: I've been awfully busy and sometimes sick,not to mention that I hate winter and if choosing would hibernate till mids of march. Now I'm back with some sweets, because in my opinion this is what we do the best: sweet, greasy, deadly good baking:)
Second, before I start explaining why the rest of the world celebrates Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and we celebrate Tłusty Czwartek, Fat Thursday let me show you this amazing cookbook of my gradma's. I never saw her cooking from it, so I never had a chance to take a peek inside and when I finally did (recently) I was amazed by the fotos. It's a book from the sixties and contains some awfully Technicolor-ish funny arranged photos - I wanted to show you some, but my photo cannot transmit the original coloring. It also has some black and white shots that are at least weird:
There's something about the way they were taken, or the contrast, or merely their weird subjects (i.e. how to arrange plums in a cake; how to put a jelly in a glass to make it look good; shots of 60's kitchen appliances) that captured my attention and I became a bit obsessed by them; finally I decided to make some kitchen decoration with them. I'll show you when they're finished.
There's also a lot of characteristic "socialist" design that no book would be complete without:
Well, enough about my design obsessions and back to cooking.
The Carnival ends next Wednesday so today a Fat Week is starting: the last occasion to party before lent, which is, by the way, still important to most of the people, in a very weird way ( like, they pretend not to eat meat and do not listen to dance music... and, of course, go to church), but still. To celebrate it, we eat pączki (recipe follows in next post), oponki, faworki (recipe next Tuesday)- all kinds of deep fried pastry. Why is it deep fried? To go well with lots of alcohol, of course:) Today's recipe, oponki - meaning little tires - are curd cheese-based tire-shaped sweets decorated with icing sugar. I wanted to make those this year because they were the only thing I learned how to cook in school; I was twelve when I made them las time and remembered only that I liked them and the dough had no eggs in it. Since I really wanted to try frying something tofu based, I went with these. A total success except for one thing: I forgot how tall the rolled dough should be and they went out kind of flat. Flat tires, it is. But don't worry, now that I figured what size they should be I'll include it in my recipe:)
3 cups flour
200 g natural firm tofu, as fresh as possible
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons oil
8 tablespoons soymilk (I used vanilla) + 3/4 tablespons to add if dry
2 teaspoons baking powder
oil for deep frying
icing sugar to decorate
Crumble your tofu into a big bowl, add soymilk and oil and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the rest of ingredients and begin kneading until it forms a ball (you might need some more milk but do not add more fat, ever). Roll the dough in two batches - it should be 1,5-2 cm thick. with a big cup start cutting out circles and then, with a much smaller one (in Poland we always use vodka shot glasses for it, but since you might not have them use something in similar size) cut out a small circle inside, creating a tire. Repeat until you run out of dough; you may make something with the rests, for example, my sister made very natural looking dough rats:)
Now frying: traditionally in a deep pan full of oil, which is what I consider dangerous and also it might result with very greasy pastry due to temperature. I used a deep-fryer, the kind you make french fries in and they went out perfect. Anyway, the temperature should be about 180C (350F), you rinse them for two minutes and take out. This is how they're supposed to look right after frying (remember that mine are flatter than they should be):
Let them rest in a big patch of paper towels to drain out the fat. Properly done, they should be delicious and not soaked in oil (yet still greasy, I'm sorry). When they cool down a bit decorate with icing sugar and serve slightly warm. They are not resistant and not even half as delicious the day after, so make sure you have some guest the day you fry them:) This recipe makes about 20 oponki.
Tomorrow something for people who don't like fried stuff: baked Polish doughnuts:)
A special message for Ryan: I WILL make faworki (chruściki) next Tuesday because 1) this is the day to eat them 2) My stomach won't stand so many fried sweets and I already ate a lot of oponki yesterday and today, so I need a few days to rest:)