Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies

By Food52
November 20, 2015
6 Comments


Author Notes: "Readers once again responded to a plea for family recipes. This one, from Frederika Schwanka, of Terryville, Connecticut, is notable for the tenderness of the cream cheese pastry and the tanginess of the filling." Adapted slightly from The Gourmet Cookie Book (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).

Recipe notes, from the book:
1. For the best flavor, we recommend California apricots.
2. The dough is extremely tender; if at any time during the filling process it gets too soft to work with, chill it on wax paper on a large baking sheet.
3. You will have leftover filling, which is wonderful spread on toast.
4. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar if desired.
5. The cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax or parchment paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Food52

Makes: 5 dozen
Prep time: 2 hrs
Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients

For the pastry dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water for egg wash

For the filling:

  • 1 3/4 cups (10 ounces) coursely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup mild honey
  • 1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 dash Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Directions

  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until pale and creamy (about 3 minutes in a stand mixer or 6 with a handheld).
  2. Divide dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Make filling while pastry chills. Bring apricots, raisins, honey, marmalade, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until dried fruit is softened and mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool until warm, about 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Chill until cold, about 2 hours.
  5. Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 375° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining pieces chilled), between 2 sheets of well floured wax paper with a rolling pin into roughly an 11 inch square (if dough gets too soft, transfer dough in wax paper to baking sheet and chill until firm). Discard top sheet of wax and trim dough with a pastry wheel or a sharp knife into a 10-inch square. Cut square into 4 equal strips, then cut crosswise in fourths again to form sixteen 2 1/2-inch squares.
  7. Working quickly, place one heaping teaspoon filling in center of each square. Brush 2 opposite corners with egg wash, then bring corners together and pinch firmly to adhere. (If dough becomes too soft, freeze it on a baking sheet for a few minutes.)
  8. Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 17 to 20 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough and filling on a lined cool baking sheet.
  9. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar if desired.

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Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Comments

Laura415 February 16, 2016
Looking forward to making these cookies since most of main ingredients are things that need to be used up in my cupboards:) Apricots and marmalade sounds heavenly.
 
Smaug December 30, 2015
These little turnovers- apparently a local variation on rugelach (which you could make with the same dough and filling)- are quite delicious. The dough is very simple- beat the butter and cream cheese, and mix in the flour (and salt if you must). I did it all with the paddle beater on my Kitchen Aid; if it won't hold together, you might push it off lightly once or twice. It handles beautifully when chilled; I'm not sure why the author found wax paper necessary for rolling, but I didn't use it. You need to take some care in making the squares (a ruler is a good idea)- any smaller, or off square, and they will be tricky to manage. You will probably have quite a bit of filling (lekhvar) left over, but it's good on toast or in other pastries. Or make more of these (you can reroll dough scraps, though the author doesn't). They are neater than rolled rugelach, but may still bleed some filling in the oven- parchment or silpats are a good idea. This type of pastry- with minor variations possible- is very useful as a general use pastry for turnovers and the like, and is much simpler than puff pastry- I inadvertently made a batch with bread flour and, in the interest of science- baked a few of them anyway: it made surprisingly little difference. I would suppose that the low moisture and large amount of shortening offset the higher gluten content. For a similar pastry, see Maida Heater's "Counterfit Puff Pastry" from her " Book of Great Desserts", made with butter and sour cream.
 
sofia W. December 4, 2015
Hi! I'm excited to make these cookies but I think there is few steps missing in making the dough
 
Smaug December 29, 2015
I would assume you beat the flour into the fat (gently)- the egg is used later. At any rate, I plan to give it a go.
 
Smaug December 29, 2015
I also assume you brush them with the egg wash before baking.
 
Laura415 February 24, 2016
I'm making it now and yeah it probably should say to cream the butter and then add the flour to make the dough. <br />I'm going to mold my dough into 1.75" square shaped rolls. Then chill overnight. Cut dough off the roll in 1/4" slices. Then I will press or roll those squares. I don't always like to make the whole recipe. Sometimes I'll freeze half the cookie dough for another time. The rolls of dough are much easier to handle. Make as many or as few as desired. Great way to use up old jam in the fridge as well.