Indian-Spiced Apricot and Mango Stuffed Sambusak
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Chilling Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 45 minutes
These spiced apricot and mango Purim cookies are a cross between Purim’s traditional hamantaschen, the savory, filled empanada-like pastry known as sambusak, and the malpua, a sweet stuffed pancake enjoyed by the Bene Israel, one of India’s Jewish communities. The traditional malpua is a made with pineapple, almonds, and other fruits and nuts. This version also incorporates Silk Road flavors into its yummy filling. Be sure to allow 1 hour (or up to 1 day) for the dough to chill before you fill and bake.
2 sticks (1 cup / 227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1¼ cups (255 grams) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3½ cups (455 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus 3 tablespoons for dusting and rolling
1 teaspoon (4.8 grams) baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1.2 grams) baking soda
¼ teaspoon (1½ grams) kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
Seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (see Kitchen Tips)
2 cups (15 ounces) chopped dried apricots
1 cup (6 ounces) chopped dried mango
1¼ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons apricot brandy
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup chopped dried sweetened pineapple (cut into ¼-inch pieces)
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds (see Kitchen Tips)
¼ cup grated unsweetened coconut
6 saffron strands
- To prepare the dough, combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or, if you are using a handheld electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl), and mix at high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition and making sure that each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Sift the 3 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix at low to medium speed until well incorporated. Add the orange juice, zest, and vanilla seeds to the mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture and the coconut, and with a flexible spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl very well. Mix to completely incorporate and form a soft, cookie-like dough.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. You can also freeze the dough for up to 1 month and defrost in the refrigerator before using.
- When you are a ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Set aside.
- Make the filling: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the dried apricots, dried mangoes, orange juice, brandy, cardamom, and cinnamon and stir well. Cook until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the apricots and mangoes are completely soft and mushy. With an immersion blender, purée the warm mixture until smooth and remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped dried pineapple. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs with the saffron. Set aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a work surface, divide it evenly into 36 pieces, and roll the pieces into balls. Place the balls on a plate. Lightly flour a rolling pin and the work surface with the remaining flour and place 1 ball of dough onto the work surface. Roll the dough into a circle, turning it and manipulating it gently as you roll to shape it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of the circle. With a pastry brush, brush a little of the lightly beaten egg around the edges. Lift the part of the circle farthest away from you and fold it over the filling, so it forms a semicircle. Gently press the edges together to seal. Crimp the edge between your thumb and forefinger to create a decorative border, or press the edge gently with the tines of a fork to create a ridged border. Gently lift the sambusak onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Sprinkle the sugar over the tops of the pastries.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is a chestnut brown in color. Cool completely before serving. These will keep in a covered container at room temperature about for 2 days, but they are best the day they are made.
- To remove the seeds from a whole vanilla bean pod, slit it lengthwise with a sharp knife, and scrape out the seeds. The seeds can be added to baked goods, ice creams, and many other recipes. The pod can be added to a container of granulated sugar to make vanilla-scented sugar (aka vanilla sugar) or added to liquid infusions.
- You can find toasted or roasted nuts in most supermarkets, but if you can’t, or if you prefer to roast your own, try The Weiser Kitchen’s Roasted Nuts recipe.
- Although these can be made small and served like a small cookie, perfect for gift-giving and pretty in baskets, they are also wonderful when you make them about 5 to 6 inches wide to serve as a plated dessert, warm, with a spiced ice cream, such as cardamom or cinnamon.