Sour Cherry

Grated Pie Filled with Fruit Preserves

Grated Pie Filled with Preserves

So I had this grand idea of redesigning my blog a little (nothing major) to start the near year’s blogging afresh, but little did I know that redesigning a blog is not as simple as it sounds to me. Honestly saying, I am not the one redesigning it and it is  M. whom I have forcefully mobilized to undertake what I told him was a very serious endeavor, and he only manages to work on it whenever he has a spare moment, which doesn’t happen often. So things go slowly, but as M. assures me, surely at the same time. I too did something that I think will be useful to all of you. I’ve added new buttons at the end of each post (how hard was that?) and now you can easily share posts with your friends by email or by other means, post them on your facebook, like them and even print them! Hope you enjoy these cute little additions to the blog. Another news is that AZ Cookbook is now on Twitter! Please join me and we’ll tweet there.

Now let’s talk recipes. I wanted to enter another year of blogging with a recipe for something sweet. I thought grated pie fit right in! This preserves filled tea time dessert is popular in Azerbaijan where it might have traveled from Russia years ago. (During the Soviet reign same sweet pies, cakes and the like were known to the entire Soviet population.) It is called tertiy pirog in Russian and this is now it is  typically called in Azerbaijan too. The name “grated” comes from the technique that involves grating part of the dough to form the top of the pie. It is a fun pie to make, and easy too. Enjoy! And have a sweet rest of the year!

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Happy Holidays + Cocoa-Sour Cherry Slices

The school is off, the kids are at home running around and begging to be entertained by their not-so-much-of-a-child-entertainer mom, and I’ve been busy baking cookies these past few days to give to neighbors and friends as our family gift for the holidays. So it’s all hectic, but good. I haven’t forgotten you and just wanted to write a short note and wish you very happy holidays.  May the new year bring joy, happiness, delicious days to you and your loved ones, and peace to the world!

Here’s the recipe for the cookies that were part of my cookie assortment I baked. They are light and very delicious. My only change to the original recipe was the addition of dried sour cherries and they paired perfectly with the cocoa. You can use dried cranberries instead, or omit fruits altogether. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays and see you  in 2010!

Cocoa-Sour Cherry Slices
Adapted from Cooking Light, December 2007

Makes 24 cookies

1   1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1   1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped dried sour (tart) cherries (substitute with dried cranberries, if you wish)
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and measuring spoons; level with a knife.  Combine the flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the dried cherries.

Combine 1/3 cup ice water and vanilla; drizzle over flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until moist.  Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. The dough will be sticky and it is normal. Rolling back and forth, shape the dough into a 12-inch (30 cm) log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or until the dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

Unwrap the dough log. Cut the log into 24 (1/2 inch – 1.2 cm thick) slices. If the slices lose their roundness when you cut them, fix the shape with your hands.  Place slices 2 inches (5 cm) apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are set. They will still be somewhat soft when touched on top, but do not panic  – they will harden while cooling. Take care not to overbake. 15 minutes works great for me. Remove from the oven. Cool cookies on pans 5 minutes. Cook completely on wire racks. Enjoy!