> Lemon and Strawberries: Cebularze - Polish onion & poppy seed pies

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cebularze - Polish onion & poppy seed pies

When I was a kid, you couldn't buy cebularz in my small hometown bakeries, so it was one of these "special" treats we were getting while visiting Wrocław once in a while. I remember mouth-watering smell of bread and baked onion in our family car, when we were going home from our trips to big city. These memories made me connect cebularze with excitement of a little girl going for an adventure!
It's very simple to make, but there is something magical in its simplicity. Golden crust, baked semi-sweet onion and poppy seeds together create an unique experience for your taste-buds!

Historically speaking, cebularz came to Poland from Near East countries along with a big Jewish community that Polish king Kazimierz Wielki brought to his homeland. We're talking about Middle Ages here, so as you can see this round pie has a pretty long tradition in Poland!
At first it was made only by Jewish bakers, but slowly cebularz  became very popular. First mentions about its recepture appeared in XIX century. Noone can tell when exactly other bakers started to make cebularze, but we know that right after WWI it was one of the most known and loved snacks in Lubelszczyzna region.
Now you can buy cebularze in most of the bakeries in Poland and I recommend trying them if you happen to visit my country. Until then - here's the recipe!

  • 300g flour
  • 120ml warm milk
  • 50g butter
  • 25g fresh yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 big onion
  • 2tbs poppy seed
  • 1-2 tbs 
  • salt & pepper for taste
Dissolve sugar in some of the milk, add yeast and 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir it until everything dissolves and put in a warm place to get yeast working. You can put a bowl with yeast mixture in the oven set for minimal temperature and leave its door open.
Mix the rest of flour and milk with salt and melted butter using your hands or mixer with a "hook". Whisk an egg and add to your dough, leaving a spoon or two for brushing pies later.
When yeast becomes active (you'll see a foam forming), add it to your dough as well and knead until all of the ingredients are distributed evenly, it's smooth and doesn't stick to your fingers (or the hook of your mixer). Form it into a ball, put in a big bowl, cover with a cloth and place in a warm place to grow for about an hour. It should double its size.

While waiting for your dough to rise, prepare onion topping.
Ideally, you should prepare onions day before baking cebularze - by cooking it for few minutes in boiling water, mixing with oil and poppy seeds and putting it in a closed jar into a fridge for a night.
Because in my case cebularze were a spontaneous idea, I had to slightly modify it and I fried onions instead - they came out just as good!

Preheat a pan with some oil. Chop the onions, sprinkle with salt & pepper and fry until they're soft and semi-transparent - about 10 minutes. Take them off the heat, place in a small bowl and mix with poppy seeds. Add a little more oil, if it's too dry. Set it aside to cool down.

When your dough has doubled its size, set your oven to 200°C (390°F) and start forming flat round pies. I made them a little smaller than those I know from the shops, about 10 cm diameter, while usual size is about 15-20 cm.
Simply take some of your dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten it on a baking pan. Remember to leave spaces between pies, as they will grow!

Brush sides of your pies with the rest of an egg and put 1-2 tablespoon of onion with poppy seeds topping. Spread it to cover the top of your pies, keeping some space on the edges.

Cover baking pan with a cloth and put aside for 15-20 minutes to make them grow a little bit more.
Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until golden-brown on the sides.

You can serve them warm - especially with extra butter, or let them cool down and eat just like you would eat any bread-like snack. I also like to put a slice of a cheese the next day and warm it up until melted - it's delicious!


No comments:

Post a Comment