In honor of Thanksgiving, Laura's second-grade class is doing a unit on immigrant ancestors this month. This morning they are having an "immigrant banquet" in which they share foods of their ancestors, and Laura decided to bring something Swedish. This has been a favorite recipe of mine for some years, discovered in the old Time-Life Scandinavian Cooking book. Äppelformar -- "apple shapes" or "forms" -- are little apple-filled pastries, like a little muffin-shaped pastry. You can also make the filling with applesauce -- during those long, dark, Swedish winters, perhaps, when there are no fresh apples to be had -- but I like the fresh ones in combination with the light tartness of the jam and the crunchy almonds.
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (divided use)
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tart cooking apples
3/4 cup apricot preserves
For the pastry, cream 10 tablespoons butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the butter mixture, blending well. Shape the dough, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, and chill for 1 hour or more.
For the filling, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. While the butter is melting, peel, core, and finely dice the apples. Add the apples to the butter, and cook 1 or 2 minutes, shaking the pan to coat the apples with the butter. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly oil or butter 12 muffin tins. Cut off 1/3 of the dough, roll it out about 1/4 inch thick, and using a 2- or 2-1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles. Work the dough scraps back into the remaining dough, divide into 12 pieces, and press each piece into the bottom and sides of the muffing cups, extending the dough slightly above the rim of the cup. Divide the filling between the lined muffin cups. Top each with about 1 tablespoon of the apricot preserves and a sprinkling of almonds. Cover the apple filling with the dough rounds, folding the edges down over the tops to seal.
Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Loosen gently with a knife, and let cool in the tin. Lift out with a narrow spatula or knife. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving.
Makes 12 äppelformar. Active work time, about 30 minutes; total preparation time, about 2 hours and 40 minutes.