Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Treat

One of the things I look forward to most about Christmas is the food. Not just any food, but specifically the food traditions of my cultural heritage. Tonight - Christmas Eve - we'll have a seafood feast in the Sicilian tradition. And tomorrow - Christmas morning - we'll devour a loaf of mock cake, which comes down to us from my Polish heritage.
Mock cake is a Polish sweet bread with a poppy seed filling. The bread, as its name implies, is both sweet and moist. The poppy seed filling tends to be something that people either love or hate. I, for one, can't get enough of it! (Thankfully, we also make it for Easter, so I can enjoy it beyond just Christmas.)
Creating a gluten-free version of mock cake has proven a bit challenging in the past. We've been working on perfecting a recipe for nearly two years. Last year, Christmas 2007, we came close. When the loaf came out of the oven, it was perfectly browned on the top, perfectly moist on the inside, and delicious. But once the loaf cooled to room temperature, it set up like concrete. Back to the drawing board.
A few weeks ago, Kelli dove into the kitchen again, using our gluten-free flour blend and some additional recipe modifications. The result was what you see above - a perfectly formed mock cake! We believe we just may have successfully developed a gluten-free mock cake. Of course, the mark of any successful recipe is repeatability. Later this afternoon we'll be in the kitchen, whipping up another loaf of mock cake. And with any luck, by this time tomorrow I'll be feasting on a loaf of wonderfully gluten-free mock cake. Stay tuned, and happy holidays!
- Pete


Shirley said...

I am in awe not only at your baking, but the fact that you are doing this with a new baby at Christmas! Wow! It looks divine. Hope you attain repeatability! Merry Christmas!

Phoebe said...

I just discovered your blog as I was searching on xantham gum. We have a lot in common - GF eating, Italian and Polish heritage, living in Boulder, and rock climbing! I'm back in Christmas Italian style thanks to Mary Capone's book "The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook". She also happens to live in Gunbarrel!

Congratulation on your new daughter. I love her middle name as it's my aunt's name, but we call her Tina for short.

Steph said...

you must share this recipe! i googled mock cake, and didn't come up with anything. this sounds amazing! i love poppy seeds! the picture looks fantastic!

peterbronski said...

Hi Steph,

You probably won't find "mock cake" on Google because it's an Americanization of the Polish name for the bread, which is makowiec. You can search for that term, or for "Polish poppy seed sweet bread" to find it. =)


peterbronski said...

Hi Phoebe,

We have a lot of overlap indeed! Are you sure we're not related through some distant relative? =)


Chelanna said...

Pete! I need some help! My family makes a treat very similar to your Mock Bread around the holidays. We call it Potisa and it is a vanilla sweet breat filled with nutmeat. From your picture and description I imagine that our traditional recipes are almost identical, varying only by the filling. I used to make half a dozen of these with my grandmother for every major holiday. I was the only one who learned to make it and since her passing, when I make it I think of all the days we spent together baking. Since finding out I and my daughter are gluten intolerant, I have been trying to figure out how to adapt the recipe but alas, to no avail. This will be the first year since I could eat solid food that I will not have Potisa for breakfast on Christmas morning.
I would love to discuss your adaptation of this recipe - maybe it would be the answer to my problem!


Annieloublue said...

Do you have a finished recipe yet that you can share for the mock cake? It looks great, I like this kind of poppy seed filling and would like to make it. The actually recipe does not seem to be any where that I can see on your blog. Thanks so much!

kellibronski said...

Hi Annieloublue - The recipe for Mock Cake is in our cookbook, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. I have been working on making our own poppyseed filling that is not quite right yet. I hope to get it right this Christmas!