I’ve spent the last three years or so trying to pin down this recipe that my mother remembers her Busia making at Easter time. Finally, this year I almost got it.
It’s a layered apricot dessert.
The dough is a simple yeast/flour/butter/egg yolk that you roll out.
Then, you put down a layer of apricot preserves then a layer of ground walnuts mixed with cinnamon sugar.
Repeat these layers, top with a final crust, bake, and munch.
Mom said I definitely got the taste right, BUT, when it is baked the fruit and nut layers blend together. She says her Busia’s had clearly separate fruit and nut layers that didn’t mingle.
So, the problem becomes, what can I add to the nut layer to keep it from sinking into the apricot without affecting the taste? I was thinking maybe some egg white, but it seems to me that that would make a paste which would be hard to spread over the fruit. Would egg white firm up the nut layer if I could manage this though?
Any other ideas?
Maybe your apricot preserves need to be thickened more first? It’s the only thing I can think of that would keep it from blendnig as much…preserves are a semi-liquid and sugar, regardless of type, readily dissolves in liquids. Heck, it’s dissolvability leads it to be considerd a “wet” ingredient in most recipes that require separation of wet and dry mixtures before combining.
Thanks for the suggestion crazyjoe.
I could try thickening the apricot layer, just reduce it down, maybe blend in a touch of cornstarch?
Will this make it chewy, though?
Now that I’ve finally gotten the flavors right, I am so hesitant to do anything that’s going to alter it significantly. It’s silly, but this damn recipe has become my white whale. I will defeat it!
Are you sure she used preserve? You can get a similar (and thicker) effect by using dried apricots which have been steeped in boiling water.
You might try crumbs of some kind, cake or cookie crumbs come to mind.
I’m similarly confused to other posters. You have a layer of apricot preserves and you’re trying to prevent it from mixing with ground nuts and sugar? Impossible; they’re just going to sink in with each other and make a messy but delicious layer.
You have to change the consistencies of one or the other. Have you considered something like a nut pastry cream instead of just nuts/sugar. You can then imbed halved apricots instead of just preserves.
I hadn’t thought of using dried apricots, that might work.
This is a recipe my mom remembers from her early childhood, so we’re talking 50 years ago. And with only her memory to go on, there’s been a lot of “this is right, but that was different” type of feedback from her. I’d even asked if the nuts and fruit were separated by the pastry, but she insists they weren’t. I’m going to try it with the dried apricots and see if that’s the ticket.
Thanks for the ideas so far.
It’s very similar to an old German apricot tea cake recipe that a friend of my mother’s made when I was a kid. I think apricot preserves referred to bottled halved apricots because the recipe always seemed to have have fresh apricots whatever time of year, and everyone bottled stone fruit for out of season use in those days.
Mind you her recipe was just layered batter and apricots. It is easy to see how a layer of nuts and sugar could be added though.
Sometimes you just have to say this is what I came up with> Do you like it? You can’t chase someones memories from 50 years ago and get a match, because those memories are skewed and imperfect. Give yourself a break and enjoy your creation.
Is this an Eastern European recipe? (I’m guessing so, since busia is a Polish word, yes?) If it is, I have to agree that dried apricots instead of preserves is probably the way to go.
Here’s a recipe for kolachen with apricot filling that will probably approximate what you’re looking for - the filling is thicker, almost like a paste, so it would stay more distinct from the nuts the way your mom remembers it.
You can also use the same filling recipe for hamantaschen and strudels, BTW.
I’ve got a recipe for a dessert with an apricot filling (a chocolate-crusted, apricot-filled linzer torte) and the filling is just that - except it’s orange juice vs. water and some sugar as well. IIRC, you bring the filling to a boil, then let it cool, then puree in a food processor.
Could you put a layer of the rolled out dough between the layer of apricot and the layer of walnut? That would keep them separate.