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A summer brunch: “racuchy” with strawberries

It’s been an intense few weeks, in both amazing and difficult ways. Summer has been about travel and research on one side and health on the other. Lake swimming and blood tests, meeting people and moving on, high end restaurants and dirty laundry. A summer of contrasts, yet it struck me that I enjoy living this way, at the edge of life. My three year old, perhaps a little less so – for the last two weeks all she sang was “Country roads…Take me home…”.

When we were travelling in the Baltics, I didn’t cook much, since we were discovering the cuisine of the area. The energy is fantastic over there right now. As in Poland, it feels as if the hangover of Communism is finally over and people are expressing themselves in exciting ways, especially in the world of food. I’ll write more about that soon…

I wanted to share a recipe from a brunch I made just before we left that I didn’t get to share before, as the health problems started. These drop-scones are called “racuchy” and you can find a version of them in Polska cookbook. However, these ones are made the old way, with yeast. They also look similar to “syrniki”, which we ate for brunch in the Baltics in many different ways, but as these don’t contain curd cheese, they are quite different (though still classed as drop scones in English).

Traditionally, racuchy are made with apples. Often I substitute apples for plums, but this time, I decided to use lovely, sweet, English strawberries. It’s the end of the season now, but for this, they don’t need to be perfect, it an ideal way of using up a few less that attractive ones still left in your fridge. Cooking them will bring out their flavour in fact. The recipe below will make about 12 racuchy. For my brunch, I also made a savoury bake with eggs, kale and Polish sausages, so the racuchy were eaten with coffee afterwards.

Recipe

20g. fresh yeast (available from any Polish shop)
300g plain flour
300ml tepid warm milk
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 egg
Handful of strawberries, chopped
Icing sugar and fresh strawberries to serve
Rapeseed oil for frying

  • First combine 100ml of the warm milk with a tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of the flour and the fresh yeast. Mix well and place in a warm place for 10min, to grow.
  • Pour this into a bowl with all the other ingredients in it, apart from the strawberries and icing sugar.
  • Mix well with a wooden spoon, until no lumps remain.
  • Place into a warm place for about 1 hour this time.
  • Finally, add the chopped strawberries.
  • Heat the rapeseed oil on a frying pan, you want it to just cover the surface, then add a little more every time to start a new batch.
  • Fry the racuchy in batches of 3, until golden on each side, then drain on kitchen paper. You can then keep them warm in the over until serving time.
  • Serve with icing sugar and fresh strawberries on top.

Us East Europeans love all sorts of drop scones, and I think they should be more popular here in the West. They make an interesting alternative to pancakes for brunch or weekend breakfast and work with all kinds of fruit. Or you could make them savoury (then you make the version that doesn’t include yeast).

We were all away for very long time, so now it’s taking time to get our house back to how we like it, cleaning and sorting and de-cluttering. Then, I will plan another brunch. I love the relaxed nature of having friends over in the morning, a whole day ahead of us, an array of tasty things, kids playing in the garden, sneaking in a Mimosa or two.

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