I would always be envious of those Polish Mamas at the thought of them getting to eat such tasty sugary treats while we children would nibble on fresh peaches we had bought at the local farm. Of course, the peaches would end up being delicious and extremely juicy and we would all end up outside enjoying the tastes and laughing as peach juice would run off our chins and down our arms.
My brother would always end up flinging his arms around and trying to direct the mess in my direction.
When the guests would leave, my brother and I would each get a piece of the Placek my mother had made and I would drink "coffee" (weak tea with sugar and milk).
This recipe makes 2 cakes so you can top each with different fruits or cheese.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached Flour
3/4 cups whole wheat Flour *
1 package active dry Yeast
3/4 cup Milk
1/3 cup Butter
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspooon Salt
1 beaten Egg
3 tablespoons Half and Half (light cream or milk or evaporated milk would also work)
1 cup Sugar
2-3 cups thinly sliced Fruit (plums, peeled apples**, peaches) or
2 cups Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, or Twarog
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, if using fruit
Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat and stir the milk, butter, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt until warm and the butter is almost melting (120 to 130 degrees).
Add warmed milk to flour mixture. Add the two eggs. Mix well together with spatula or wooden spoon for about a minute. Beat with mixer on high speed for 3 minutes. Remove from mixer and add in the remaining flour with a wooden spoon.
Divide flour in half. Be sure to grease your fingers a little bit with oil to avoid the dough sticking to your skin. Press each piece of dough evenly into two greased baking pans (I used two glass 8 x 11.5 x 2 pans). Make sure to press the dough up the sides a bit. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside somewhere warm until the dough is risen to double the size (about 45 minutes to an hour).
Combine the Half and Half and beaten egg in a bowl. Stir in the 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon or cloves, if using fruit.
If using fruit, arrange on top of raised dough. Evenly spoon cream-sugar mixure over the fruit.
Plums (3 different varieties) called Placek ze Sliwkami
If using cheese (Twarog, etc.), mix into cream-sugar mixture and spoon evenly onto dough.
Cheese topped (I tried with cinnamon this time) Placek z Serem
Bake 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting. The cream-sugar mixture will still look very wet on top but will soak into the cake as it cools. Serve warm.
* The proportion between the all-purpose unbleached flour and whole wheat can be changed. I have found this one over the years to work when serving people who don't regularly eat whole wheat bread and it has worked enough to make them change their minds and try whole wheat after that.
** Apples should be peeled, cored, sliced and simmer in water for about 2 minutes covered until softened a bit. Drain well and place on top of dough. Be sure to use baking apples.
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