Delicious Mini Pasties with Lentils and Coriander Filling

NAME AND PRONUNCIATION: paszteciki [pah-sh-teh-cheekey]
DESCRIPTION: lentil-filled pasties
TYPE OF CUISINE: Eastern European

These little treats are my family and friends’ absolute favourite. They are easy to make, they just take a little planning, and remember to make lots, since they disappear very quickly! The yeast dough rises in a fridge overnight, so it is a little different than basis yeast dough. It resembles something in between yeast dough and shortbread, flavourful and yet delicate and crispy. You definitely need to try them!

At least 20 servings (depending of the size of your pasties) • Preparation time: about 60 minutes (rising overnight)


Prepare the dough in the evening and let it rise overnight in a fridge.

Try different fillings! Everything resembling pâté, either made with meat or legumes, will be fine.


350 g all-purpose flour
 250 ml warm milk
 100 g soft butter
 4 egg yolks
 7 g instant yeast
 1 tablespoon sugar
 ¾ teaspoon salt

Lentil filling:
 dry lentils
 1 bunch fresh coriander


Sift the flour to a large bowl, add the yeast, milk and sugar. Start mixing.

Add salt and yolks. Knead the dough for at least 3 minutes, or until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.

Now, gradually add softened butter and continue kneading for about 10 minutes more. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour.

After that time, thoroughly knead the dough for good few minutes to get rid of most of the air trapped inside. Then cover with a tea towel again and rest in a fridge for about 12 hours.

Prepare the filling just like you would for Pierogi with Green Lentils.

After 12 hours, take the dough out of the fridge, dust your work top with some flour and evenly roll out the dough. You will need a large rectangle, about 35 x 45 cm. Cut the longer edge into three long strips of about 15 cm, put a portion of the filling in the middle of each strip and all the way down to the bottom edge, then roll and seal along the long edge. You can slightly pinch it together to avoid the filling coming out during baking. Cut the rolls into small pieces, about 5 cm wide.

On a parchment paper, gently place all the pasties you can fit. Put them upright, rather than on their side, you need to brown them from the top. Let them proof one more time for about half an hour, then brush them with egg wash (I like making it with a dash of milk) and bake in 180ºC for about 30 minutes, until they are beautifully golden and slightly crispy.



Pierogi with Green Lentils and Coriander


Name and pronunciation: pierogi [pee-yeh-ro-ghi] – there is no need for the “s” at the end so often used in English. “Pierogi” is already a plural form.
Description: dumplings
Type of cuisine: Polish

I absolutely love pierogi with green lentils. They are flavourful and have a great texture, actually resembling meat, so even the most dedicated carnivores are guaranteed to enjoy them. I add fresh coriander, so it is not strictly traditional Polish filling, but it is a real staple in our house and we eat tonnes of them!

Approximately 40 servings • Preparation time: about 60 minutes • Resting time: 30 minutes (optional) • Cooking time: 1-2 minutes


With fresh pierogi, you have a choice between serving them just cooked, or frying them. After cooling or freezing, you should fry them.

Both fresh and fried pierogi are perfect when served with fried onions or sour cream.

Because you need to add two layers of dough to each bite, make sure that the filling is slightly saltier and a little bit spicer than you need it. This way it will be perfectly balanced when cooked.


one portion of pierogi dough

Green lentil filling:
 200 g dry green lentils
 1 large onion
 fresh coriander (to taste, I like quite a lot)
 salt (to taste)
 pepper (to taste)


Make a portion of dough and set it aside for 30 minutes.

Cook the lentils until soft all the way through, but not mushy. The filling is much better when it retains the natural texture of perfectly cooked lentils. You will need about twice as much water as you are using lentils. 

Chop the onion and fry it until brown, but not crispy.

Drain cooked lentils. It is best to give them good few minutes to make sure all water is drained well and the filling is not too runny.

Mix cooked lentils, fried onion and chopped coriander while gently breaking the lentils with a fork, to achieve a consistency resembling cooked minced meat. Season with salt and pepper. 

Make pierogi following these instructions.



Classic Marble Babka

NAME AND PRONUNCIATION: babka [bah-b-kah]
DESCRIPTION: marble cake
TYPE OF CUISINE: Eastern European


In Poland, we usually bake babka for Easter, but it is so quick, easy to prepare and everyone loves it, so it is great for any party or just as a weekend’s treat. There are many different recipes for babka, but I really like this one, since the cake is nice and moist inside, and stays fresh for good few days.

Depending on your form, about 12-16 servings • Preparation time: about 90 minutes • Baking time: about 60 minutes


250 g all-purpose flour
220 g sugar
150 g unsalted butter
5 eggs
 5 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon potato flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla powder


Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Sift both flours together with the baking powder to make sure they are thoroughly mixed.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are shiny, silky smooth, and almost white.

Once the eggs are ready, add the oil and butter. It is best to keep mixing while slowly trickling the butter in. This way the butter will get mixed into the eggs immediately and not sink to the bottom of your bowl.

Split the eggs into two equal parts to make them into two different flavours. You will also need to split the flour. Now, add vanilla powder and a half of the flour to one of the bowls with beaten. Blend until all ingredients are perfectly mixed. This is will be your vanilla batter.

Then, take out two tablespoons from the other half of the flour and replace them with two tablespoons of cocoa. Mix the cocoa into the flour with a whisk, before adding them to the second bowl with beaten eggs. Blend until perfectly combined. This way your chocolate batter is ready as well.

Grease the form with oil and get the oven hot to about 180ºC. Pour both flavours of batter into the form in patches alternating the flavours. After you have finished, take something thin and long, such as a chopstick or a kitting needle, and gently drag it around the form. Do not mix the batters, just stir them a little for a nice marble effect.

The way of baking a babka is very important. It needs to raise equally on all sides and not burn. Start from about 180ºC for about 30 minutes, then bake for another half an hours at about 160ºC. Check on your cake from time to time during baking (through the glass, opening the oven will lower the temperature) and if you notice it is rising more on one of the sides, you can turn the form and reduce the temperature a little. It may crack a bit, do not worry about it. Getting it absolutely perfect may take one or two goes, since it differs from one oven to another.

Babka needs to have a nice, golden crust. When you see it, take it out and check the inside. In order to do that, use a thin, metal probe, such as a knitting needle, and pierce the cake all the way through. Any liquid batter will stick to the needle and make it dirty. It is a sign your babka is not ready yet. Bake it until the probe is perfectly clean.

When ready, take it out of the oven and cool before flipping onto a plate and gently removing the form. Dust with powder sugar, or finish with caramel or lemon glaze.