Most people know that a mazurka is a Polish folk dance. But it is also the word for a country sparrow and someone from Mazur (the Mazovia region known as Mazowsze in Polish) in North Central Poland. But another and tasty meaning of mazurka, or mazurek in Polish, is a flat Polish cake made with different bases and toppings.
The one thing they have in common is they are rarely over a few inches in height. Traditionally served at Easter when it is known as mazurek wielkanocny, this pastry now appears at tables year-round.
The varieties are seemingly endless and vary from region to region and family to family. They can be made with yeast doughs, crumbly shortbread-like doughs (known as kruche ciasto Polskie) fortified with sieved hard-cooked egg, flaky, puff-pasty-like doughs or layered with torte wafers. Some doughs are almond- or chocolate-flavored. The topping varieties are staggering—almond paste, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, meringues, poppy seed paste, pastry cream, and some are left plain. Our version is made with a moist vanilla dough and jam toppings.
It is speculated that mazurek, the cake, was inspired by sweet Turkish desserts that came to Poland via the spice trade route from Turkey in the early 17th century, but its origin is uncertain.
Ingredients: Almond paste, Sugar, Cake flour, Eggs, Yolks, Shortening, Salt, Apricot, Raspberry, Vanilla extract.