apricot and walnut vareniki

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Apricot and Walnut Vareniki
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, February 2001

Yields about 32 varenikis

Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading and rolling
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Stir together flours in a bowl. Make a well in flour and add eggs, salt, and water, then stir together with a fork without touching flour. Continue stirring, gradually incorporating flour into well until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding only as much additional flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (Dough will be soft.) Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Dough may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped well in plastic wrap and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.

Filling
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apricot brandy (optional)
6 oz dried apricots (1 cup; preferably California)
1/2 cup walnuts (2 oz), finely chopped
Dough (recipe above)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Make filling: Bring water and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. Finely chop apricots in a food processor, then add sugar syrup and pulse until just combined (do not puree). Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup walnuts. Cool.

Roll out dough and fill varenikis: Halve dough and roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface into a 15-inch round, keeping remaining dough wrapped. Trim dough to a 13-inch square. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into fourths to form 16 (3 1/4-inch) squares.

Put 1 slightly rounded teaspoon filling in center of each square. Working with 1 square at a time, moisten edges with water and fold in half diagonally to form a triangle, pressing edges firmly together to seal. overlap bottom points of triangle and press to seal (dumpling will look like a pointed hat). Transfer vareniki to a flour-dusted kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining squares, then make more dumplings with remaining dough and filling.

Cook varenikis in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Make topping while varenikis cook:

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over moderate heat, then cook bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, stirring frequently, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season lightly with salt. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar over crumb mixture and toss.

To serve varenikis: Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter, then drizzle about 2 tablespoons on a warmed serving platter. Transfer varenikis with a slotted spoon to platter and drizzle with remaining 4 tablespoons butter.

Serve hot, sprinkled with bread-crumb mixture and remaining cinnamon sugar to taste.


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