Saturday, July 14, 2007

Russian Tea Cakes

The cookies I’ve been using for my profile picture were made at Christmas with crab apple jam, compliments of my friend Kara, whose mum made the jam. The jam was tasty, but even better it captured the light wonderfully and took on jewel tones.

I made Russian Tea Cookies again, with butter that needed to be used up and jam from the condiments population I’m trying to decrease. In this picture is a fig compote I picked up at Fox Hill Cheese House in Port Williams, NS last fall which is quite nice with the buttery flavour. Substituting almond extract for the vanilla and using marmalade is also quite tasty.

These are basically a shortbread cookie, but the texture is just a bit more cakey than a Scotch shortbread. I have no idea where the recipe came from. It’s just been floating around until it went into regular rotation from its Christmas run. There’s a probably hundreds of variations on this cookie, but I wonder how many are actually from Russian households? I just did a quick google on them, and apparently Russian Tea Cakes and other members of the shortbread cookie family originated in medieval Arab culture.

Russian Tea Cakes
1 C butter
½ C confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 C all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ C jelly (jelly seems to hold form better, the jam looks like a dried up puddle leaving a residue behind on the banks of the cookie).

1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
2. Add the extract and mix well.
3. Add the flour and salt and mix into a moist dough.
4. Form into one inch balls.
5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and indent the cookie with the back of a spoon. If you find your spoon has flattened the cookie nicely, but has no support for jelly, try using a ¼ teaspoon measure, or your thumb.
6. Fill with about ¼ - ½ tsp jelly.
7. Bake for 15 mins at 325F.

Traditionally, I think you’re supposed to sprinkle them with confectioner’s sugar in advance of serving. I think they look pretty enough without so I usually eat as is.


Anonymous said...

I always thought those were cherries.

Anonymous said...

i did too