Author Zuza Zak recalls idyllic summer days growing up in Poland with this recipe for salted caramel mazurek with pecans

  • 70
  • 10
  • Easy
Although making mazurek does take time it is a very simple recipe. If you would like to simplify the pastry then you can use ready-made caramel or dulce de leche, though the consistency will be a little bit more runny. In my recipe, I have replaced the traditional hazelnuts and walnuts with salted pecans and I have also added some sea salt to the caramel to balance out its all-consuming sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 225g salted butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp soured cream
  • 1 x 400g can condensed milk
  • 100g pecans, broken up into smaller pieces
  • ½ tsp good-quality sea salt (and a pinch extra for the topping)

Method

Salted caramel mazurek with pecans

1 For the filling place a can of condensed milk in a pan of water, making sure it is completely covered. Bring the water to the boil then reduce the heat right down to the lowest setting and simmer for 3 hours. Top up with extra water if it evaporates.

2 Meanwhile, combine the flour, 125g of the sugar and 200g of the butter in a bowl and work between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and soured cream and knead together into a smooth dough. Chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

3 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to a thickness of about 1 cm/½in. Use this to line a greased brownie tin, approximately 24cm/9½ in. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Remove and allow to cool.

4 Meanwhile, in a frying pan (skillet) melt the rest of the butter and sugar together over a low heat, then add the pecans and most of the sea salt. Toast for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Set aside.

5 Once the condensed milk has turned to caramel and cooled to nearly room temperature, open the can and stir a little bit more salt into it, reserving a little bit for the topping. Generously spread the caramel over the cooled base and top with the caramelised pecans. Sprinkle over a little more sea salt before serving.

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• Polska: New Polish Cooking by Zuza Zak (Quadrille, £25)

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.