So I’ve basically reached the point in my Polish-comprehension skills where I can follow recipes without any trouble (except for figuring out how many cups of flour 75 dag is!). Today I cracked open Polska: Kuchnia Regionalna by Maja Bartczak (which I’ve had since 2011) and looked for a recipe to use up the extra carrots and pumpkin puree in the fridge.
The recipe I found, Piernik marchwiowy, comes from the “Łódź and Łowicz” section of the book. According to the mini-intro, the cuisine of this region is based on old Polish folk recipes, relying heavily on cheap ingredients such as potatoes, vegetables, lard, and grains for everyday dishes, but bringing out the spices by the bucketfull during the holidays.
I am translating “piernik” as “gingerbread,” but Polish pierniki have a distinctly different taste than American gingerbread–I suspect because they are made with sugar/honey instead of molasses. There is, of course, both cakey gingerbread (which this is) and cookie gingerbread. In Poland, the cakey kind is often stuffed with nuts and dried fruit (called “bakalie”), and the cookie kind stuffed with jam and/or coated in chocolate or minty sugar glaze.
Carrot gingerbread (Piernik marchwiowy)
slightly less than 2 cups of flour
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of sugar (I used brown)
1 cup of oil (I used 3/4 cup of oil + 1/4 cup pumpkin puree)
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a handful of your favorite nuts/dried fruit
(You might have noticed there is no ginger in this gingerbread!)
Preheat oven to 355 F (180 C).
In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar. While stirring, add the flour, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, cacao, and cinnamon. Last, add the grated carrot and nuts/dried fruit. Grease a loaf pan (8×4″ would be good), pour in the batter, and bake for 45 min @ 355 F. After baking, dust top with powdered sugar (optional).
Note: I made standard-size muffins instead of cake (I have no loaf pan)– this recipe made 13. Bake for ~22 min @ 355 F.