Friday, July 18, 2014

Finiqe, or Albanian Filled Cookies!

These cookies actually have a rather funny story.  Mark's mother let me bother her mom's Albanian cookbook.  It's pretty awesome and old, and the recipes call for exotic things like "2 pounds of lamb, preferably leg," "a 4 or 5 pound fowl," "kadaif," , "flour - the green box," , and spices you've never heard of.  Evelyn caught me flipping through it and taking pictures of tons of recipes to try out, so she just told me to take the book!  I hadn't gotten a chance to give any of them a try because of the house and the wedding and all the life changes someone could stuff into 2 months, but then all of a sudden it was the night before our school's volunteer appreciation breakfast and I had no idea what to bring.  I had only cooked in my new kitchen once, so I decided to make something rather than grab donuts in the morning, and somehow I thought to flip through the Albanian cookbook.  I found basically only one recipe that called for ingredients that I had; they were called finiqe, or Albanian filled cookies in English.  They seemed simple enough (I love when the recipe says "mix all ingredients together" to start off), and I was intrigued that the dough had orange juice in it.  They are stuffed with walnuts and raisins, and then dipped into a hot sugar syrup once they're cooled.  Intriguing, right?  And while I was a bit nervous to try a weird recipe like this from a cookbook I hadn't yet learned to trust, I figured this was a perfect situation to try them out: after all, what were the chances someone at the volunteer appreciation breakfast would have tried finiqe before and would know whether or not mine were terrible?

So of course at the breakfast the next morning, a woman grabbed one off the plate as Mark was standing there telling people about them.  She heard him, walked right over to him, and started speaking in Albanian!  Drat!  He immediately mumbled something about not speaking the language, and so she switched to English and asked if he had ever visited Albania.  No again!  By then, he was desperate to pawn this woman off on me, so he introduced us and I had to accept the fact that my dream of introducing people to my finiqe was dead, since this woman was a legit Albanian who had just come back from working in orphanages there.

Oh well!  The good news?  She said the cookies were great.  And so did lots of other people, to the point where I was handing out the recipe to my coworkers, and they were all gone by the end of the day when I went to pick up my platter.  I was actually kind of surprised they were so popular, because I thought they were super crumbly, but apparently that's acceptable!  So anyway if you are feeling rather exotic this weekend, go ahead and make yourself some finiqe.

By the way, guess what I'm doing in a week from today!?!?!?

Recipe:

finiqe, or Albanian filled cookies
from Albanian Cookbook by the Women's Guild of St. Mary's Albanian Orthodox Church in Worcester, MA, 1977
yields 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups oil
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
for syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together except raisins and nuts.

2) Form dough into oval balls and place a few raisins and nuts in center and fold.

3) Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  While cookies bake, make the syrup by boiling the water and sugar together for 15 minutes.

4) Dip cooled cookies into hot syrup and sprinkle with crushed walnuts.




1 comment:

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