Russian Torte  
From The Cookie Party Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Cookie Exchange
St. Martin's Press/Macmillan by Robin Olson (

The Russian Torte is a much beloved Pennsylvania tradition. At weddings, not only is cake served, but each table at the reception is heaped with luscious cookies made by family and friends. Each cookie is the family’s favorite and is then shared by all who attend. The Russian Torte is my husband’s personal favorite and we always serve it at Christmas and Easter.
Submitted by Nancy Wert

Russian Torte
Plain Text Printable Version

4 cups ground nuts
1 cup sugar, plus ½ cup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold
4 large eggs, separated
¼ cup milk
2 jars store-bought apricot filling or make your own (see Note)

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

In a small bowl, mix together 3½ cups of the nuts, 1 cup of the sugar, and the cinnamon.
Reserve ½ cup of nuts for topping the meringue.
In a measuring cup, combine the yeast and warm water; set aside.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter, and mix until the texture is like pie dough, blending until it comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Slightly beat the egg yolks. Add the egg yolks, milk, and yeast to the flour mixture.

Place the dough on a floured board and knead. Divide the dough into thirds. Roll the first portion of the dough to fit a large glass 15½ × 10½-inch casserole dish, allowing the dough to come up the sides of the dish (the pastry can be patched if it tears during this process).

Spread the nut mixture over the dough. Roll out the second portion of the dough and place it over the nut mixture. Spread the apricot filling on top. Roll out the third portion of the dough and place it on top of the apricot filling. Using a large fork, prick through all the layers.

Note: To make your own apricot filling, cook 24 ounces of dried apricots, covered in water, until soft and plump. Drain. Mash while still hot with a potato masher, or blend in a food processor. Add about 1 cup sugar while the mixture is still hot.   Makes 24 to 30 cookies