Friday, January 3, 2014

pryaniki (russian gingerbread cookie)

My husband lived in St. Petersburg for two years so he figures he's half Russian.  He can speak it and looks it so he may as well be!  He works with a Russian gal who made this pryaniki (gingerbread cookie) for us for Christmas.  We'd never tried one before (my husband had of course) but we all loved it.  The filling added just the right about of sweetness.  I requested the recipe- here it is!

pryaniki (my husband's Russian friend)
100 grams butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
thick fruit preserves (they used Trader Joe's low-sugar apricot preserves but they also like ewhole berry thick cranberry sauce)
1 egg beaten with a few drops of water for the egg wash

Prepare a pot with a few inches of slowly boiling water and a large mixing bowl that will fit over the water. Mix and melt all of the ingredients (except for the flour and fruit preserves) in a bowl over slowly boiling water until it will form a fine white foam on the surface, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add flour, mixing until incorporated.  Gently knead the dough in a bowl or on a lightly floured surface and add more flour until it's not sticky but shiny.
Divide in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll the dough to the desired thickness and cut the shape.  Put fruit jam in the center, 1/2 inch away from the edge.  Brush the edge with an egg wash and put on the top layer.  Push the edges with the fork.  Lightly brush the top with the egg wash.
Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees at mid level for 25 to 30 minutes.  Glaze if desired.
Note: traditional pryaniki were elaborately decorated.

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