A popular dessert or snack in Poland, piernak lies somewhere between a sweet bread and a dense cake. Scented with honey, caramelised sugar and mixed spice, these gems make a great accompaniment to just about any beverage.
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) honey
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 450 g (3 cups) plain flour, plus extra to dust
- ½ tsp bicarb
- pinch cream of tartar
- 60 g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs, beaten
- icing sugar, to dust
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 30 minutes
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Place a small size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, giving the saucepan a shake to even out the sugar. Cook for 2–3 minutes until golden caramel. Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons water, being careful as the mixture will spit, and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining sugar, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring, until all the sugar is moistened. Add the honey, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30–40 minutes (the spiced syrup should still be malleable when added in the next step).
Sift 300 g (2 cups) of the flour, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs and spiced sugar mixture and mix until a dough begins to form. Add the remaining flour and mix to combine. Turn out onto a floured bench and knead until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is no longer sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces and roll into logs 23 cm x 5 cm. Bring the ends together to form a circle and pinch to join. Arrange the rounds on 2 large baking paper-lined trays, 8 cm apart. Bake for 15 minutes until the dough puffs, sets and is lightly coloured.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and dust with icing sugar.
Photography by Alan Benson