There comes a time when you need to leave the pie behind and get down to business. It’s Christmas and I have other baked goods standing in line waiting for some attention. First on the list – my Grandma’s Hungarian Kiflis.
I would venture to say that I have been eating Kiflis since before I could walk. As soon as the babies in my family are old enough to gum a teething biscuit, they are ready for Kiflis.
I’m very territorial over these Kiflis. Friends will say, “Oh, we make those – they are Kolache.” No way – those are Czechoslovakian. Or someone will mention that they have a recipe for the same thing – Rugelach. Close, but not the same thing. Kiflis are a soft, yeast-based pastry that are rolled closed around an apricot, plum or nut filling. They are not super sweet and are the perfect side for a cup of coffee.
This is our family recipe. It didn’t come out of a food blog, nor did it come from the pages of the latest epicurian magazine. It came from my Grandmother’s tattered cookbook that now rests proudly in my kitchen. I became the new owner of this cookbook when my Grandmother moved into a nursing home several years ago. This was the one and only item that I begged to have. I adored her cooking and wanted to learn straight from her pen.
The year my Grandmother went into the nursing home would also be the first year that she did not make Kiflis for Christmas. Instead, I decided to pass the torch to myself and learn to make these beloved pastries. I made them that year the same way I do now – using her bowl, apron, spoon and rolling pin (I really don’t know what it is, but it’s good for rolling). I figured I’d do my best to put some good Kifli karma into the air and use the tools that had spent decades producing these little horns of goodness.