Dobrzyn: Sunday, with bonus cherry pie recipe

September 28, 2015 • 1:30 pm

I was in bed most of the day yesterday, so I’ve little to document, but here are three photos. First, Cyrus, sleeping on the d*g bed with a protective leg over Hili. I have to admit that this is cute:

Hili and Cyrus

For afternoon tea Malgorzata made a delicious apple-and-walnut pastry, which she said was a Jewish recipe for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year (it was Sept. 13-15). Both the apples and walnuts came from the trees in the garden.

It was an absolutely spectacular dish, the crust gleaming with egg-yolk glaze; and I suspect she’ll provide the recipe if sufficiently importuned by readers. Tomorrow we’ll return to having cherry pies (see below).

Apple cake

Our evening meal was simple, which was good as I hadn’t much appetite. I was told that this was a typical Polish meal: pork roast with quince paste on the side, served with salad and potatoes. I was too unwell to wash it down with my favorite Zubr beer.


Finally, this is for all those readers who asked me to rub Hili’s belly for them. DONE!


And lagniappe: a recipe, perhaps the first I’ve put up as a standalone post. Several readers asked for the recipe for Malgorzata’s renowned cherry pie with walnut crust. Here in Dobrzyn it is made with the orchard’s own sour cherries and walnuts, but you can buy frozen sour cherries in the U.S. or, I suppose, use canned pie cherries if that’s the only thing available.

This is the best cherry pie I’ve ever had. The walnuts (and butter) in the crust contribute considerably to its excellence, as do the fresh-picked cherries, which are pitted after harvest and then frozen for my arrival. The recipe has been posted by Malgorzata in comments sections over the past year, but I’ve collected everything in one place. First, a picture:


And the recipe. I’ve converted Polish measures, which involve weight and the metric system, into American ones:

Walnut crust:

150 gram flour (1.2 cups if you’re using all-purpose flour)
150 gram (1/3 pound) ground walnuts (or hazelnuts or almonds)
200 gm (0.4 lb) butter or margarine
100 gram (0.2 lb) castor sugar (this is sold in the U.S. simply as “superfine sugar”)
1 raw egg yolk
Depending on what you are using it for, add vanilla sugar or cinnamon or almond oil.

Work quick together all ingredients with your fingers and put into the refrigerator for half an hour before rolling the crust and putting it into into the baking tray. See below for how to make the top “crust”: 2/3 of the dough is used to line the tray, with the other third grated on top.

Cherry filling:

1 kg (2.2 lb) pitted cherries (you can use either fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon potato flour (cornstarch is an acceptable substitute)

Cook cherries (without any water! they have enough juice)
Remove 100 mililiters (0.4 cups) juice and pour it into a mug
Add sugar to cherries and let them boil another minute
Dissolve potato flour in 100 ml juice and add to boiling cherries, stirring until they thicken.

Cool the mixture.

Take 2/3 of the dough and cover a baking tray. Pour cherries over. Take the grater and hold it over the tray. Using the biggest holes in the grater, cover the cherries with crumbs from the remaining third of the dough.

Bake for 35-45 minutes at 180ºC (355ºF).

45 thoughts on “Dobrzyn: Sunday, with bonus cherry pie recipe

  1. Now, I just have to find a suitable source of cherries. Thanks!


    P.S. Those really are some sweet photos of Hili. If she’s not able to cure what ails you, I’m afraid your disease is terminal…. b&

    1. I assume that Malgorzata uses sour cherries for baking. Wisnie in Polish as opposed to the sweet cherries (czeresnie) we see in stores here. Sweet cherries are good for eating – lousy for baking. The only way to get fresh sour cherries in the US is to head to Traverse City, MI in July.

      There are many sources of both canned and dried sour (aka tart) cherries – mostly in and around Traverse City. They also ship. This link lists quite a few of them:

      Traverse City is a simply gorgeous place to visit.

      1. Thanks for that!

        Most of the places that ship frozen cherries don’t ship less than five pounds at a time, so I might have to see who else locally might be interested….


      2. If you don’t have access to sour cherries, an easy solution is to add some thinly-chopped rhubarb to the pie. Cherry-rhubarb pie is excellent; the rhubarb adds just the right touch of tartness, and it actually improves the texture a bit too, in my opinion.

        I’ve been told that my cherry-rhubarb pie is the best pie people have ever tasted. Sadly, I can’t bring myself to buy cherries at $6-7/lb anymore. It costs almost $40 to make that pie, and I’m poor now. 🙁

  2. There is nothing more frustrating than having great food when you’re not feeling well enough to truly enjoy it. Let’s hope for a quick recovery.

    1. Ah, I’ve been dreaming to do that too. Seeing the point-of-view photo is like having PCC scratch a longtime itch behind my ears!

  3. I don’t think I’ve seen sour cherries for sale here ever – I’m going to have to search next time I’m in a big city, which won’t be until November. 🙁

    Great pics of Hili. 🙂

      1. Good thinking! It’d have to be tinned if I did that though. Supermarkets don’t deliver fresh or frozen stuff to towns other than their own here because of food quality regulations.

    1. Look in a large grocery store in the canned fruit aisle – you’ll sometimes find them in between the cranberry relishes and pie fillings. But they’re harder and harder to find as time goes by, so if you find the cans (Red Tart Pitted Cherries Packed in Water), stock up!

      Oh, and say? If you suffer from gout, I understand that eating just a few of these tart cherries each day will get you through a flare-up and keep the symptoms at bay going forward. It was in an old article from The People’s Pharmacy, which is online, if anyone’s interested enough to go looking for the source.

      1. I don’t suffer from gout thank goodness! I’ve got enough to worry about. 🙂 I’m in a very small town with a fairly useless supermarket. In NZ big city means 40,000+! I’ll be in a massive 150,000+ one in November! 🙂

    2. I’ve long been settling for a nice chilled glass of sour cherry juice, which I can find in bottles here only when in season. It’s not really the same, but better than nothing.

  4. Thanks to Malgorzata for the recipe!!!

    I don’t want to be greedy (one of those seven deadly sins), but that apple pie looks amazing as well. We always have a surfeit of apples in the fall, so variations on apple pie are most welcome!

  5. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!! Noms recipes!! Say, you can buy quince paste at Trader Joe’s markets, if you have them by you – it goes wonderfully with cheese on crackers (that’s the only way I’ve known to use it).

    PS – Apple walnut tart recipe, please!

  6. Far be it from me to dictate the content of this website but please can you get better soon so that you can work up an appetite so that we can get more food pics?

  7. Fresh pie cherries can be hard to come by, but they’re easy to grow if you have the space to do it, at least in areas that have something approaching a real winter. I’ve grown them successfully in both the DC area and the Idaho high desert.

    A DC pie expert suggests using vodka to make a light, flaky crust. So far I haven’t been brave enough to try it. It would be too ridiculous to die in a pie crust explosion.

      1. The key point, I believe, is that too much water negatively affects the gluten in the flour, but alcohol does not do this. So, you can add enough vodka to make the dough pliable and easily formed without causing the gluten to gum everything up.

    1. Vodka in your pie crust does work pretty well. My wife first tried it 3 or 4 years ago and it works well enough that she has incorporated it into her pie crust recipe.

  8. Jerry being sick I hate to ask, but would it be possible at some point to recalibrate the measurements even more to an American cook? Because I would surely screw up figuring out how much .2 of a cup is, for instance, in “1.2” cups, and for baking, these things are crucial.

    Also, I’ve tried that Cook’s Illustrated thing with the vodka and found it wasn’t true, at least for me, whereas their normal crust always turns out just fine.

      1. Yes it is, much better. The density of things like flour is variable enough that measuring by volume will result in noticable variations. It is very noticable even in something as simple as chocolate chip cookies. It you want to really dial a recipe in to exactly what you want you need to weigh your ingredients.

        And it is actually much easier and less clean up too. Just invest in a $20-2$25 kitchen scale with basic features.

    1. Just convert the grams to ounces (weight).

      1 gram = 0.0353 ounce

      Or just go metric and use the grams straight up.

      1 pound = approximately 450 grams
      1 ounce = approx. 28 grams

  9. Apple and walnut pastry

    200 grams flour
    130 grams butter (it should be butter, not margarine!)
    30 gram icing sugar (“confectioner’s sugar” or “powdered sugar” in the U.S.
    1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
    1 raw egg yolk.

    Work all ingredients together with a fork until the texture resembles that of bread crumbs. Work with your fingers (as quickly as you can) to get everything to adhere. Put into the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

    Apple/nut filling:

    3-4 apples (peeled and cut into thing wedges; best use equivalent of British Bramleys, but any baking apple will do)
    2 tablespoons honey
    5-6 small pieces (about 1 inch long) of toffee (candy) cut into small cubes
    6-7 walnuts broken into smaller pieces
    30 grams butter cut into cubes.

    How to make it:

    Roll out the dough into a circle about 30-35 cm (12-14 inches) in diameter.
    Put apples on the dough leaving an empty space about 5 cm (2 inches) from the edge.
    Pour honey over apples.
    Sprinkle apples with candy cubes, butter cubes and walnuts.
    Lift the free edge and fold over the apples.
    Spread egg yolk on the visible part of the dough (milk can be used but egg yolk is better). Give the rest of the egg yolk to your cat.

    Bake in 200C (390F) for 35-40 minutes.

    {PCC corrected the language and converted the measurements for American users. MK}

  10. Hey Jerry, while recipes are being shared I’d like to remind you about the promised recipe for the “world’s best hot and sour soup”. 😉

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