According to Polish custom, Christmas Eve vigil opens the holiday season. The family gathers to share an evening meal of seven to 21 courses. A typical menu consists of herring and pickled mushrooms, clodnik (cucumber beet soup), pike with horseradish sauce, baked sauerkraut with yellow peas, rutabagas with carrots, and fried fish with lemon rings. For dessert, celebrants might enjoy an Almond Mazurek, like this one from a recipe by Rita Montgomery, an American-born Dallasite of Polish descent.
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 c. beaten eggs (about 3 large eggs)
2 c. blanched, chopped almonds
1 3/4 c. flour, sifted before measuring
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1 c. apricot jam
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and eggs. Mix almonds, flour, and sugar in another bowl. Add slowly to egg and butter mixture, beating after each addition.
Pat or roll dough into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake 20 minutes until golden. Spread jam over top and cool.
A jelly roll pan produces a thin crust. If a cakelike texture is preferred, bake crust in a 9-by-4-inch pan.The glaze below may be used instead of apricot jam. Or you can make half the glaze recipe and drizzle it over the jam. Top with shaved, toasted almonds, if desired.
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
enough milk to dissolve sugar, starting with 2 tbs
1/2 c. shaved almonds for garnish, toasted dry in a 300-degree oven
From the January 1993 issue.