I liked the traditional Alexander cake cookie from Latvia a lot, but it is quite sweet. For my variation I chose a filling with dried apricots and prunes that is less sugary. Dried fruits and berries are widely used in all the Balkan countries for winter time pastries and desserts and provide the necessary vitamin C in those long winters without fresh produce. I mixed some cocoa powder with the apricots and prunes and that gives the filling a full, rich flavor. The buttery dough of the prune-apricot cookie is brittle and the cake should be cut carefully with a knife with a sharp thin blade.
For about 15 cookies
for the pastry
400 grams (3¼ cups) flour
150 (¾ cup) grams of sugar
350 grams (1½ cups) cold butter, cubed
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the filling
200 grams (1⅓ cups) dried chopped apricots
250 grams (1⅔ cups) chopped prunes
145 grams (¾ cup) tahini
45 grams (5 tbs) cocoa powder
60 grams (½ stick) butter
pinch of salt
Place the flour in a bowl with the sugar, butter and a pinch of salt.
Mix with the pulse button in the food processor until crumbly or rub the butter with your fingertips into the flour mixture until crumbly.
Add the vanilla extract and bring together into a ball. Divide into four, cover with cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for about 1½ hours.
In the meantime, soak the apricots and prunes in boiling hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and pulse into a paste in a food processor. Add the tahini, cocoa powder, the butter and salt and blend into a thick paste.
Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper into four rectangles of 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches). Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-12 min. until light brown and done.
Leave to cool and spread the filling over 3 rectangles.
Stack the slices with filling and cover with the last without any filling.
Leave to rest for ± 1 hour and cut with a sharp knife into 15 pieces. The pastry is very brittle, so use a sharp thin knife.
This post is also available in: Dutch