Pasta Flora, Athens Style

Course : Greek
Serves: 36
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Ingredients:

1/2 pound sweet butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons cognac
2 cups all-purpose flour -- (or more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups stewed apricots
4 medium dried figs
1/3 cup raisins
1 medium orange -- (grated rind only)
1 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon lemon juice -- (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup orange juice
 

Preparation / Directions:

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy and gradually add the sugar, 1 egg and an egg yolk, and 3 tablespoons of the Cognac, beating thoroughly after each addition. Sift 2 cups of the flour with the salt and baking powder and add slowly to the batter, while beating on medium speed. Remove the beaters and finish by hand, adding only enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the apricots into uniform pieces and place in an enameled pan. Soak the figs and raisins in the remaining Cognac until swollen, then mince and add to the apricots along with the orange rind, jam, and lemon juice and stir into the apricot mixture, then cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cool. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set aside about one-third for the latticed top. Using your fingers (the dough will be too soft to roll), press the larger portion of dough into a buttered 9 x 12 x 2-inch baking pan, pressing evenly about 1/4-inch up the sides. Pour the filling into the dough-lined pan. Divide the remaining dough into walnut-sized balls and roll each ball into 1/2-inch strips. Using the strips, make a lattice over the top of the pastry. If using a glaze, beat the remaining egg white slightly with a fork and brush on the dough steps. Bake in a moderate oven (350F) for 45 minutes, or until golden in color. Remove and cool in the pan on a rack. To serve, cut into 1-1/2-inch (or smaller) squares with a sharp knife. Note: You may prefer to use peaches and peach jam, strawberries and strawberry jam, and so on, instead of apricots; also diced candied peel adds a colorful note when substituting for figs; and slivered almonds may be added to the filling.


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