The most magical time of the year is just round the corner.With 14 sleeps and 10 working days to go I can’t stop jumping with the excitement.How not to love Christmas?There is sooooo much awesome food(and drink) involved,all in the atmosphere of the best tunes of the year.Morning breakfasts with Michael Buble’s carols,lunches with”Rockin around the Christmas tree” and peaceful evenings in a company of Frank Sinatra.Life is goood!To make it even more beautiful,the aromas of home made mulled wine fill the house from top to bottom and there is lots of amazing food around which never tastes as good as in December.It’s a real feast for the senses.One of the great things about blogging is that you celebrate Christmas at least tree time before it comes 🙂 🙂 🙂 All this recipe sampling,cooking and shooting allow to experience Christmas for much longer.
Let me tell you a little bit about Polish Christmas.We might be living in England for over 8 years but Christmas in our house is always 99% Polish.1% goes to English crackers we have on our festive table 🙂 It might surprise some of you but we sit down to our main Christmas meal on the 24th of December 🙂 And we open our presents on Christmas Eve too!I know!We are a very eager nation 🙂 There is 12 dishes on the table.(Apparently because there was 12 Jesus’s Apostoles) We don’t eat any meat except for fish.Carp is traditional fish we eat during Christmas but since it’s a royal fish in the UK and it CAN’T be eaten here we swap it for salmon or cod.It suits me fine as carp is full of bones anyway.Polish Christmas is all about sauerkraut and wild mushrooms with some poppy seeds and dry fruits in between. 🙂
I think those tarts reflect exactly the taste of Polish Christmas but they might as well be eaten all year round.That’s what I do!They are served with home made borscht and there is nothing like this duet.Sauerkraut is pretty awesome,super tasty and full of goodness by the way.And here I have to admit that I’m the luckiest girl in the world as there is always some home made sauerkraut in my pantry 🙂 (Thank you the best mother-in-law in the world!)
for 4 smaller tarts or 1 big
250 g plain flour(I used organic)
150 g salted cold butter
1 egg + 1 egg for brushing
3 tablespoons cold water
2-3 tablespoons butter
2 medium brown onions,chopped
2-3 garlic cloves,chopped
450g sauerkraut with carrots,rinsed,chopped if necessary
1/2 cup(125 ml) water
5og dry wild mushrooms(soaked overnight) or 200g chestnut mushrooms,sliced or chopped
small bunch of fresh parley leaves,chopped
salt and pepper
1.If you use dry wild mushroom,soak them overnight,then rinse, cover with water,bring to boil and simmer for around 1 hour until soft.
2.Make the pastry.Sift the flour into a medium bowl,add butter and egg.Rub the butter and egg into the flour with your fingertips.Add cold water and combine together using your (or someone’s else’s :)hands.If the mixture feels too crumbly add some more water.Cut out 1/3 of the pastry(it’s going to be the top layer),flatten both parts of pastry into discs,wrap with cling film and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
3.Prepare the sauerkraut filling.Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan,add the onions and garlic,fry until golden.Rinse the sauerkraut generously with water and add to the saucepan(You might want to chop it first).If you use dry mushroom,place them in a saucepan now(cooked and chopped).Season with salt and pepper,add parsley and cook covered for around 1/2 hour,stirring it from time to time and adding couple of tablespoons of water if necessary.If you use fresh chestnut mushrooms,melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pan,add mushrooms,cook until soft and mix with sauerkraut just before taking it off the hob.Let the filling to cool down.
4.Preheat the oven to 190C/374F.
5.Take the pastry(bigger part)out the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface in a size of 4 small baking dishes or 1 bigger.Place the pastry over the dishes or dish and run a rolling pin on the rims of each one to get a perfectly lined tarts.Prick each one with a fork,cover with baking paper and baking(or dry) beans.Bake for 20 minutes.
6.Take the tarts from the oven,remove the beans and paper,put back in the oven for extra 10 minutes until the pastry turns golden.Remove from the oven.
7.Spoon the filling(cold) over the tarts.Take out the remaining pastry from the fridge.Roll it out quite thin(about 5 mm) and cut into stripes.Woven the stripes over the tops of the tarts.Brush with beaten egg,put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
In a traditional recipe sauerkraut and mushroom filling is always made with dry wild mushrooms.But I understand that they might not be available everywhere or they are ridiculously expensive so here come fresh chestnut mushroom to help.Mind that the taste will be different to traditional sauerkraut and mushroom filling if you use fresh ones.
Some sauerkrauts are already chopped in a jar.If it’s still in form of quite long strings I would advise you to chop it(not too finely tho).