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.
Makes: 5 dozen
Prep time: 2 hrs
Cook time: 25 min
For the pastry dough:
cups all-purpose flour
ounces cream cheese, softened
cup unsalted butter, softened
large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water for egg wash
For the filling:
cups (10 ounces) coursely chopped dried apricots
cup golden raisins
cup mild honey
cup sweet orange marmalade
dash Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
- 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).
- Divide dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
- 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.
- Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Chill until cold, about 2 hours.
- Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 375° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar if desired.
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