Thursday, February 20, 2014

Olympic Party (4): Pirog with Apricot Jam

For my last Olympic Party post I'm sharing dessert. In all honesty, I really didn't want to represent a Russian dish on my menu for personal reasons. Normally, I would represent the host country, but in this case, I was not thrilled at that idea.

When my mom offered to make a delicious pastry I grew up eating (which happens to be Russian), it seemed like the perfect way to include Russia in my menu without sacrificing my integrity :) It's a treat I know and love, and technically my mom made it, so I don't feel so guilty.

A moist, but firm buttery cake makes up the bulk of this dessert with an apricot jam filling that adds sweetness. This is the perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning or afternoon, and it's a great after dinner sweet as well.

I hope you've enjoyed a look at my Olympic Party menu for 2014! I'm officially counting down to Rio in 2016... stay tuned!

Pirog with Apricot Jam
Makes 35 pieces

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) jar apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan and set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Beat in 2 of the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. And the vanilla and mix again. Then add the dry ingredients a little at a time, and continue mixing until combined. It will have the consistency of cookie dough.

Press about half of the dough into the bottom of the greased pan. Stir the apricot jam to soften its texture and spread it evenly over the dough. Then take the remaining dough and roll pieces of it into ropes about 1/2-inch thick. Arrange the ropes diagonally in opposite directions alternating rows (for example: think of the pan as a map. Arrange ropes from southwest to northeast, skipping rows in between. Then arrange ropes from northwest to southeast, skipping rows in between. Then go back and fill in the skipped rows from southwest to northeast and so on. This will create an alternating lattice-type look). Finally, use a long rope of dough to create a border around the entire pan.

Beat the last egg and carefully brush it over the dough on top, being cautious to avoid the jam. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.


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