Treats are in a class of their own
Is this a cookie? A cake? Or a pastry? The tender dough and creamy filling are like that of a pastry. I often cut it in small squares and present it as a cookie. And, I’ve served it in slices with tea and at brunch as a cake … I don’t know how to classify it.Whatever it is, it’s worth making. The richness of taste (cream cheese, walnuts, and raspberry jam), coupled with the base’s delicate texture, are a real winner. And, it’s pretty to look at as well. I’m told these are reminiscent of delicacies served in coffee houses and bakeries throughout Austria, so I call them Viennese Delights.You can freeze them after they have been baked. I freeze the whole block and cut it after defrosting to minimize loss of moisture. If you don’t serve them immediately, wait to sprinkle them with powdered sugar until right before you do. Viennese DelightsMake in an 8X8 inch baking pan IngredientsBase1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch13 tablespoons of unsalted butter (softened if making with an electric mixer)2/3 cup of powdered sugar, plus enough to sprinkle on the finished pastry1/3 cup of granulated sugar1 large egg yolk1 teaspoon of vanilla extractFilling3 ounces of cream cheese3 tablespoons of granulated sugar3 tablespoons of walnuts, finely chopped1/2 cup of raspberry preserves
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, with the rack in the middle position. Line the baking pan with Reynold’s Release non-stick aluminum foil, letting two opposite edges of the foil extend beyond the pan several inches so you can use them as handles to remove the pastry. If you use regular foil, grease it with a vegetable oil-flour spray and wipe the spray to spread it evenly over the pan.To make the base in a food processor: Combine the flour, cornstarch and both sugars and pulse to mix well. Cut the butter into about 13 pieces, add to the processor, and pulse until the butter is distributed and the dough is like a fine meal. Combine the egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl and pour it into the processor. Pulse until the dough forms large crumbs-the size of old fashioned oatmeal or slightly larger. Don’t process until it comes together and forms a ball. You want it to remain rough.To make the base with an electric mixer: Combine the flour and the cornstarch in a small bowl and set it aside. Cream the butter with the powdered and granulated sugars. Combine the egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl, add, and beat until the mixture is fluffy and light in color. Gradually add the flour-cornstarch mixture, mixing on low speed just until the dough forms large crumbs – the size of old-fashioned oatmeal or larger.Remove 1 1/4 cups of the dough to use as the topping and pat the remainder in the prepared pan, smoothing and leveling it so it is even. You don’t want a rim around the edge.Make the filling, using either the food processor or mixer: Combine the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth and, then, stir in the chopped walnuts. Spread this over the base, leaving about a quarter inch of space around the edges. Warm the raspberry preserves so they are slightly liquid. Spread them over the cheese-nut filling. Add another
teaspoon or two if you need it to generously cover the filling. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs of topping over the preserves, covering the top evenly. Some preserves may show through. Gently pat the topping down.Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until golden. Check about halfway through the baking time and, if the edges of the pastry have risen higher than the middle, gently pat them down with the back of a soup spoon or small spatula.Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack before cutting. Sift powdered sugar over the top before serving.This recipe is an adaptation of one in “Cookies By The Dozen” by Dolores KostelniIf you have comments about this column or questions about baking, contact Vera Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.
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