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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Final Countdown (for holiday baking) - making your own fruit filling

My recent booty (thank you aunt Char) of apricots and prunes.

I was listening to the morning news today and anchor Harry Smith was talking about the final countdown to Christmas shopping. (8 days of shopping left counting today...but who's counting?) Harry Smith fills in for Katie Couric sometimes on the CBS evening news and I think he does a great job. Anyways, he's been let go from the morning show at CBS and I think that's a shame. Also he was working with Maggie Rodriguez who is no longer as well. Bummer. Well these folks will move on to bigger and better things, since they are very talented.

Sorry for the morning rant. And I did have my coffee already. What gives?

The final countdown phrase reminds me of that song "The Final Countdown" by Europe that was very popular in the late 80's (the kitchen wench is dating herself). That song is also prominent in the show Arrested Development which I understand is being made into a movie. (Yea!) The older brother character in the TV show has a cheesy magic act in which he emerges onstage to "The Final Countdown" playing in the background. It is quite a funny show, you can catch reruns on I highly recommend it.

Let's get down to business (finally). My aunt gifted me some dried fruit yesterday which consisted of prunes and apricots. She told me how to turn them into fruit filling for our kalochke (spelling?) cookies that she used to make every year at Christmas. The cookies are very crumbly and made with a good amount of butter and cream cheese. Not a bad combination. They are filled with prune and apricots. The dough gets rolled out between waxed paper and then you cut little squares where you place the filling and pinch opposite ends together to form a "parcel". They come out of the oven very pretty with the different colored fillings (orange and black respectively).

My aunt reminded me to be sure to bake the cookies long enough and in the same sentence she complimented me on the recent pumpkin pie slice I brought to her. She said I have surpassed (!) my mom in crust making. I was totally shocked and am still reeling from the compliment.

But I will take it. :)

So, to make your fruit filling for these cookies, you wash your dried fruit in a colander and then soak it overnight in cold water. The water should come about 1" above the fruit when you leave it out overnight. Then in the morning you take your fruit and pour the excess water off, and put it into your food processor and puree (a potato masher could work for this too). The prune should not need extra sugar, but the apricots will probably need a couple of teaspoons according to my source. (my aunt, of course.)

Then your filling will be all ready for your cookies, empanadas or other baked goodies. And it will be less processed because you made it at home.

Happy Holiday baking.
Kalochke cookies coming next week.

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