Lenten Filled Cookies

Skaltsounia

These delicious half-circle shaped cookies, covered with confectioners’ sugar and filled with dried fruits and nuts, are sold in all Greek bakeries during the forty days of Lent preceding Easter.

The following recipe comes from Crete, where these cookies are also called stafidota (with golden raisins).

Ingredients

Pastry

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½-1 cup fresh orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • cup coarsely ground almonds
  • cup coarsely ground walnuts
  • Zests of ½ orange and ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Method

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in ½ cup orange juice, then mix with the orange zest, brandy, and olive oil. Add the baking powder, lemon zest, and flour little by little to form a soft dough, adding a little more orange juice if needed. Let it rest while you prepare the filling.

In another bowl, mix the raisins with the almonds, walnuts, zests, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the brandy and orange juice and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Flatten the dough with your hands and roll it out into a ⅛-inch-thick sheet, stretching it with your hands. Cut 4-inch circles and place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each. Fold the pastry over to cover the filling and press the edges with your fingers to seal. Oil a baking sheet and place the cookies on it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on a rack, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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