In the Cookie Jar

Ravioli Dolci

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I was originally planning to make a Ricotta Pie or Rice Pie for Easter, but when I was perusing recipes, I found this one for sweet fruit and nut pockets, or Ravioli Dolci, and I decided to make them instead.  They sounded interesting, they didn’t require refrigeration, and, best of all, I had everything I needed and wouldn’t have to go to the grocery store.

The recipe is from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s book The Italian Country Table

The recipe is actually called "Apricot-Pistachio Pockets" and I really thought I had dried apricots in the pantry, but I didn’t.  So I’ve made one change – I’ve substituted golden raisins for the apricots. 

There are two components to the cookie – the pastry and the filling. 

Here’s what you need for the pastry:

1  3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1  3/4 cups cake flour

1/2 cup blanched whole almonds, finely ground

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

shredded zest of 1/2 lemon

shredded zest of 1/2 orange

2 T light corn syrup

2-3 large eggs

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And for the filling:

Generous 1/2 cup (1/4 lb) dried apricots (or, in this version, golden raisins)

2 T sugar, or more to taste

Pinch of salt

Shredded zest of 1/2 lemon

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup dry Marsala (I didn’t have dry.  I used sweet.)

3 generous tablespoons shelled salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

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And you’ll also need

1 large egg, beaten for glaze

1/3 to 1/2 cup Galliano or grappa di Moscato (optional) (I’m not using either – I don’t have ’em)

And here’s what you do:

In large mixing bowl, thoroughly blend the flours, almonds, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the softened butter and citrus zests and with your fingertips, rub together the ingredients until they resemble coarse meal. 

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In a small bowl, beat together the corn syrup and 2 eggs.  Using a fork, toss with the flour mixture until the dough is moistened and clumps together.  (I did everything in my stand mixer.)  If it seems dry, beat the remaining egg and toss with the dough to moisten.  Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill 30 minutes to overnight.

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Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the apricots, 2 T sugar, the salt, lemon zest, water and Marsala. 

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Cook over low heat, covered, until the apricots are soft and the mixture is thick, 20 to 30 minutes.  If mixture is still very liquid,

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uncover and cook down.  Taste for sweetness, stirring in more sugar if needed.  Remove from the heat and cool.

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Puree the apricot mixture in a food processor. 

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Stir in the pistachios.

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Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or butter it.  On a floured surface, roll out the pastry 1/16 inch thick. 

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Cut into rounds with a 2  1/2 inch scalloped biscuit cutter, or a drinking glass. 

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Place half of the rounds on the cookie sheet (you may need to do this in 2 batches) and top each round with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of filling.  Moisten their rims with water.  Top with the remaining rounds and seal the edges.  Brush with the beaten egg.

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Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

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Lift off the sheet and cool on racks. 

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Store the cookies up to 10 days in a sealed tin in a cool place.  To finish with liqueur, sprinkle each cookie with about 1/4 tsp liqueur just before setting out.  (I didn’t do the liqueur part.)

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These are delicious.  I’ve never made them before, but I am definitely adding them to my cookie repertoire.  They’re sweet (clearly) and crunchy and lemony and a bit chewy.  Alex, in particular, loves them.  The book said the recipe would make about 40 cookies – I made 48 and a half.  (I miscounted and had one extra round of dough left at the end.)

So go on and give these a try.  Trust my son – he knows his cookies.

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