Although making mazurek does take time it is a very simple recipe. If you would like to simplify the pastry then you can use ready-made caramel or dulce de leche, though the consistency will be a little bit more runny. In my recipe, I have replaced the traditional hazelnuts and walnuts with salted pecans and I have also added some sea salt to the caramel to balance out its all-consuming sweetness.
For the filling place a can of condensed milk in a pan of water, making sure it is completely covered. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat right down to the lowest setting and simmer for 3 hours. Top up with extra water if it evaporates.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and work between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and soured cream and knead together into a smooth dough. Chill in the fridge for 30–45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 4). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1 cm (1⁄2 in). Use this to line a greased brownie tin, approximately 24 cm (91⁄2 in). Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until golden. Remove and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan melt the butter and sugar together over a low heat, then add the pecans and most of the sea salt. Toast for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Set aside.
Once the condensed milk has turned to caramel and cooled to nearly room temperature, open the can and stir a little bit more salt into it, reserving a little bit for the topping.
Spread the caramel over the cooled base generously and top with the caramelised pecans. Sprinkle over a little more sea salt before serving.
Polska by Zuza Zak
(Quadrille, £ 25)
Photography by Laura Edwards
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