Posts Tagged ‘Pastries’

Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Grandma Rose’s Filled Cookies

December 29, 2011

I realize that most people have baked all the holiday cookies they intend to bake. We have moved from decadent treat baking frenzy to after-holiday fatigue and dieter’s remorse. So, my posts now should all be healthy dishes and not rich pastries.

All the same, I am going to share three (not just one, but three) different pastry doughs.

The first recipe is from my Grandma Rose, A”H. She used to make these cookies that looked little miniature danishes. Imagine crisp, flaky pastry with the rich dairy taste of rugelach, filled with with jewel-like drops of jam.

People go nuts over these cookies. They seem so much plainer than rugelach, without the nuts, chocolate, raisins and cinnamon sugar. But the simple contrast of jam and pastry lets the flavor and texture of the crust shine through. The dough, which is like a pie dough, but with sour cream added instead of ice water, puffs up into light flaky layers like buttery puff pastry when it is baked.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but I pretty sure it is “old world.” I haven’t seen any recipe that uses a pastry dough that is exactly like this, but I have seen other sour cream doughs, and they are all “from bubbe” recipes.

I won’t lie to you. These are not a snap to make. There is a lot of rolling and cutting and shaping and baking.

When you bake them, they have the frustrating habit of exploding open (the dough really rises). It helps to freeze them before baking and to accept that they might still come apart a little in the oven. Dust them with powdered sugar and it won’t really matter so much.

If you have access to oven-proof jam that will help, too, because regular jam boils over in the oven (like with hamentaschen). Apricot lekvar probably would work perfectly. But, Grandma Rose used regular jam/jelly. I tried a few different flavors of jam (the contrasting colors are pretty) and I think that the better quality jams worked out a little better than the cheaper jams/jelly I used.

One more observation: remember this dough for Purim, since it would be make delicious hamantaschen (although you would really have to pinch to prevent them from exploding open and you would need to use oven-proof filling, like lekvar–supermarket jam would for sure make them explode open).

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Super Easy Delkelech, Dairy-Free

May 15, 2011

I was wondering if I could apply the principal behind the dairy-free cheese danishes to delkelech. With those pastries, a dip in a lemon-vanilla syrup gives the cheese-less crescent rolls a dairy taste.

For my dairy-free delkelech, I filled puff pastry squares with frangipane–a French almond cream. I also added some black currant jam to some of the pastries. After baking, I dipped the pastries in the lemon-vanilla syrup.

Chilling in the fridge helps bring out the dairy flavor, but this combination of frangipane and pastry is so classic, it does not depend on simulating cheesiness to be delicious. (Note: some like these better warm, or at least room temperature)

My husband loved these so much, I made the recipe again, but filled some of the pastries with a Tofutti “cream cheese”-based filling.

I had lots of filling towards the end, so I turned the last eight delkelach into mini-cheesecake tarts. These tasted the most like delkelach because there was the highest ratio of filling to pastry, and the moisture from the pastry softened the puff pastry so that it was less flaky/crisp and more flaky/chewy like real danishes.

This recipe is super easy because it relies on puff pastry.  And, yes, you can make cheese danishes with puff pastry. This is what the Barefoot Contessa used to do at her Hamptons store, and it is a shortcut even some old-fashioned bakers have taken. In a discussion of Mindel Appel’s recipe  for  delkelech (first printed in a Joan Nathan, NYT article), a Chowhound confessed: “‘I hate to tell you this, but my Hungarian mother – who passed away at 93 just a few years ago – used to make delkelekh with frozen puff pastry dough. The filling was similar to the NY Times recipe, though. I have had delkelekh very much like what was described in the article, but we all liked the puff pastry version so much better. I don’t know when she adopted this shortcut, but it didn’t seem to faze her a bit.” (more…)