Baking Challenge: Apricot Foldovers

Well, given that my stated goal was to bake once a week, I suppose I’ve failed my baking challenge.  But in my defense, mom came home.  It’s a lot harder to bake when I’m not in control of the kitchen.  But then she left and came back again, so I managed to get one baking project in while she was gone.  My baking will likely be more sporadic now, but I’ll still post recipes from time to time, along with anything else I feel like writing about, so stay tuned.  I enjoy baking (almost as much as I enjoy eating baked goods), and I’ve discovered a lot of very good recipes while doing this, so I won’t be quitting completely any time soon.

This week’s recipe is an old favorite of mine, although I’d never actually made these myself until last weekend.  Mom has made them once or twice, and I beg her to make them again all the time, but she never does.  And now I know why.  They require an enormous amount of time and effort, so I recommend either having a free day to make them, or making your dough and filling one day, refrigerating it overnight, and baking them the next day.  Doubling the batch is also advisable since you’re going to all this trouble anyway.

The recipe is originally from mom’s old edition of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook.  I don’t know what edition it is; I couldn’t find a publication date anywhere in it, but by the looks of it, it’s very old.  Whenever it was, home cooks must have had a lot more time on their hands back then, because this recipe is a doozy.  It’s worth the effort though.  These are extremely tasty.  In fact, my usually unenthusiastic mother, who answers every query as to the quality of her sensory experiences with the faint praise “Oh, it’s all right” has declared my apricot foldovers to be better than hers, so I am feeling inordinately pleased with myself.  The pastry is light and crisp, and since all the sugar is in the filling rather than the pastry, they are not overly sweet.  The flavor is very balanced and rich.  Salem ladies can also find this recipe on page 146 of the church cookbook.  Mom included it at my request.

Apricot Foldovers

1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
1 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
◊     ◊     ◊
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup granulated sugar
water

Cream butter and cheese until light.  Blend sifted flour into creamed mixture.  Add 2 tablespoons water and mix well.  Chill 4 to 5 hours.

Meanwhile, cook apricots according to package directions.  These are ridiculous instructions.  As far as I can see, apricot packages have no directions.  Fortunately mothers do.  Put the dried apricots in a saucepan with enough water to cover them.  Bring them to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.  Cook them, stirring often, until they soften and fall apart, breaking them up with your spoon as they cook.  Once they’ve cooked down, drain off excess water.  Stir sugar into hot fruit; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and becomes smooth; cool.  You want the filling to have a rather thick consistency.  Otherwise it will run everywhere and make a mess.  You won’t be able to work with it.

Divide chilled dough in half.  I doubled my recipe, and I ended up dividing my dough into eighths.  Smaller pieces were easier to work with.  The dough will be very stiff when it comes out of the fridge.  Squeeze and press it between your hands and against a cutting board, working it until it gets softer and more pliable.  Roll out each piece as thinly as you can without tearing the dough.  Cut in 2 1/2 inch squares or circles.  Place 1 teaspoon (you may even need to use less than that to seal them) apricot filling on each square or circle; fold over and seal.  You need to make sure you seal these very thoroughly.  Squeeze the edges together until you think there is no possible way they could separate, because they still will, and the filling will ooze out.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Apricot Foldovers

Enjoy!  You’ve earned it!

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