Polish desserts include cakes and cookies to a great extent. Like any typical cuisine, polish culinary art showcases some influences from other countries, like Slovakia and Czech Lands. Apart from everyday consumption, some of these desserts have a festive flavor as they are widely prepared for Lent, Christmas, and Easter.
1. Chruściki/ Krushchiki – A Traditional Christmas Dessert
What is it: Alternatively spelled Krushchiki, this is a deep-fried pastry preparation with the shape of a bow-tie. It is also known as Angel’s Wing, Crullers, Crisps, Chrust Faworki, Faworki,(meaning little twigs), and Chrusty. The item has variations like Polish funnel cake or Chruściki Leny, Carnival Rosettes or Róże Karnawałowe. This is a popular item for Lent and Christmas along.
What does it taste like: The light pastries have sugar sprinkled on them, so the basic taste will be sweet. Also, this is not a yeast-based pastry, so the texture will not be spongy. The inclusion of sour cream, vanilla, and honey sweeten the crispy pastries.
2. Paczkis – A Classic Dessert
What is it: Round and fried doughnuts containing fillings like plum jam, apple, blueberry, Bavarian cream, raspberry or wild rose petal jam. The origin of this dish dates back to the Middle Age. Mostly consumed on Fat Thursdays and Fat Tuesdays, cooking this has a practical reason as people needed to finish all their fruits, sugar, eggs, and lard before Lent.
What does it taste like: The doughnuts are further sweetened with granulated sugar, sugar glaze, and icing sugar. The custard filling has a domineering taste when it comes to the traditional item.
3. Kolaczki – The Cookie Dessert
What is it: Also known as the Polish Filled Cookie, this is a cream cheese pastry with strawberry, pineapple, almond, or poppy seeds as fillings. It has an iconic diamond shape, although the shape can vary as round or square cookies are also made at home. Throughout Poland, this is a common dish, especially during Christmas or at the beginning of Lent. Besides the country, this has gained a fan base in Denmark, Austria, Russia, and the Czech Republic.
What does it taste like: It’s light, flaky, and buttery. The filling varies from one preparation to another, so the main flavor will be depending on it. The sprinkled sugar on top of each cookie makes them extra sweet.
4. Mazurek – Easter Essential for Polish People
What is it: This is a traditional flat cake with a namesake of the cultural Mazurek dance form. Although it is mostly consumed during the Easter, in some provinces, it is prepared for Christmas as well. Either one or two sheets of short pastries are required to make the cake. It is believed that, besides the dance form, the name might have had its source in the tribe of Mazovia. After the period of fasting for 40 days at a stretch, this cake is supposed to be made as a treat. Traditional designs include pussy willows, hares, or other signature Easter markings on the cake.
What does it taste like: It has a cake-like consistency, with different toppings like black currents, hazelnuts, chocolates, and almonds. The spreading of dulce de leche or sweetened/caramelized milk is what makes the preparation sweet. You will find countless designs if you go through bakery shops of Poland around easter, but the sugary and chocolaty taste is common in all of them.
5. Andrut – Pre-festival Dessert
What is it: This is a wafer cake with chocolates as toppings and pastry or almond as fillings. It contains cocoa powder, sugar, wafers, and chocolate chips. Some homely preparation can do without the topping and apart from consumed as a dessert item, the cake is often treated as a snack with tea.
What does it taste like: It is crispy with some chocolaty flavor running throughout the cake. The use of almond buttercream soften the preparation while the nature of wafer is light and crunchy, so the combination is a unique one and it is best served cold.
6. Pierogi – The Famous Dessert of the Land
What is it: This is a dumpling preparation with veg and non-veg fillings. The name literally mean stuffed dumplings in the Polish language, and by all means, the item stands true to its name. This is available at street shops extensively. There are variations regarding the filling, and their name changes accordingly. The one with fresh qauk inside is known as Pierogi Ruskie.
What does it taste like: The main ingredients of the filling are potatoes, onions, and cheese, spiced up with black pepper and kosher salt. The exterior is soft as it is prepared from eggs and flour. The authentic and traditional type incorporates ground meat and raw cabbage, so the entire item is wholesome.
7. Babka – A Traditional Item
What is it: This is a yeast cake belonging to the polish cuisine for a long time. The alternate name of the dessert is Bábovka or potato pie. The name literally means grandmother and it is believed that this is named as such because the round shape is similar to the pleated skirts worn by old women. The Jewish way involves preparing this with a considerable height. Sometimes, the potato is replaced with chocolates.
What does it taste like: The main taste will be of potato, (in case of potato babka) and the one with the chocolate filling will be thoroughly merged into the chocolaty flavor. It is consumed at room temperatures.
8. Polish Drumstick Cake – An Authentic Dish
What is it: This is also a cake with wafer as the base. There are vanilla wafers, cream cheese, chocolate pudding, and melted butter that go into making the cake.
What does it taste like: The sprinkled nuts on the top make a crunchy entrance to your mouth, while the soft and buttery texture of the cake slowly enthralls your taste buds. You can either consume this as a small square-shaped cake or cut down pieces of your choices from the big cake.
9. Szarlotka – The Popular Pick of Poland
What is it: This is an apple cake conforming to the fact that polish cuisine have some fruity desserts. The cake is served in small square pieces. This is consumed at any time of the year, as long as apple is available.
What does it taste like: The combination of whipped cream, cinnamon along with icing sugar gives sweet and spicy taste. The cake is moist when baked and prepared subsequently. The whipped cream is usually served beside the cake.
10. Ciasto Pijak – The Baked Delicacy
What is it: This is a layered cake that is interestingly named as the drunkard’s cake. This is so because one of the layers of the cake is immersed in rum. The entire cake includes cocoa sponge cake, poppy seed sponge cake along with vanilla pastry cream, and walnuts.
What does it taste like: The cake is spongy and soft. The dominating flavor is of the chocolate that the cake is made of. The colorful appearance gives a tasty vibe for sure.
11. Chocolate Fridge Cake – The No-bake Cake
What is it: It is an amalgamation of biscuit, milk and dark chocolate, along with other cake essentials, but the interesting part is that this cake is not baked, rather it is refrigerated.
What does it taste like: The taste of chocolates, golden syrup, raisins, pecans, along with digestive biscuits make the cake crunchy. The lightweight cake can be made with marshmallows and meringues as fillings.
12. Biszkopt z truskawkami i galaretka – The Colorful Fruit Dessert
What is it: The strawberry cake has a white base and pink toppings (due to strawberry and jello), and it is served in small square pieces.
What does it taste like: The jello with its consistency adorn the top of the cake and become the first flavor to entice your tongue, followed by the strawberry, and then the thick cake itself.
The polish desserts are not only over-the-counter solutions, but all preparations are easily made at home as well. Even there are something that can be cooked by children as well and it is not unusual for parents to involve their children while preparing some of the dishes. So, if you find the images and the description of the dish awesome, you can guess the flavor, and to complete the circle of experience, you need to taste them as well.