December 19, 2011

"Kiffle" Recipe: A Christmas Pastry

Kiffles seem to be a Pennsylvanian take on a traditional Hungarian pastry called "kiflis." A kiffle is a triangle shaped piece of dough rolled will a fruit filling, baked, then topped with powdered sugar. Typical fillings include apricot, poppy seed, lekvar (prune,) nut, and raspberry. This pastry is virtually unknown in my section of Pennsylvania but is widely known in the Lehigh Valley. It seems as though, these popped up some time in the 1980s and have traveled the area by word-of-mouth and recipe swaps until they became a ubiquitous Christmas pastry in the area.

I got these recipes from Andy's Aunt Linda, who is known as the best kiffle maker in his family. She graciously taught us how to make them on Saturday and they really are delicious.   

The Recipes 

Apricot Kiffles


- 1/2 lb Butter
- 1/2 lb Margarine
- 16 ounces Cream Cheese
- 4 cups Flour 
- 4 cups Apricot Filling 

Mix all ingredients together, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, cut the dough into 8 equal parts. Remove one piece and place the others back into the refrigerator. Roll 1 piece into a ball, then roll out thin on a floured surface. Spread 1/2 cup of filling onto the dough, leaving a half of an inch gap at the edges. Cut into 12 pieces as if you are slicing a pie. Roll up each piece and bake on parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes on the bottom rack and 7 minutes on the top rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar directly before serving (optional.)

Combine all ingredients.
Mix with hands.
Spread with filling and cut like a pie.
Roll each piece up
Bake, sprinkle with powdered sugar, enjoy!

For the Nut Version:


-1/2 Lb Butter
-1/2 Lb Margarine
-4 cups Flour
- 2 Egg Yolks (save whites)
-1 ½ cups Sour Cream


-4 cups Ground Walnuts
-3 cups Sugar
-2 tablespoons Cinnamon 

These are made the same as the apricot ones except that the egg whites are spread on the dough and the nut mixture is sprinkled on top. 

They are surprisingly easy to make, and the nut ones look really pretty. I hope everyone is having a good holiday season so far! I can't believe the month is almost over.


  1. Hm, interesting! It reminds me of a quark kind of pastry my mom makes. Equal part quark, butter and flour (in weight terms), if I remember correctly. Filled with povidla - thick plum jam - which, by the way, I believe is what lekvar really is, because it's "lekvár" in Slovakian, and it means jam.
    But these are rolled, not filled, which is what makes them interesting.

  2. Hi Stephanie! These look super yummy and I am going to have to try and make them this week for Christmas. :) I had one question for you about the ingredients, do you think I would have to use half margarine and half butter or could I do all butter? If you don't know or are not sure thats fine. Just wondering as we have lots of butter on hand and margarine is usually never in our house.

    Merry Christmas to you!

    1. I make them every year but just a little different I use all butter, I make the dough and roll in balls refrigerate for hour then roll balls in sugar then put in filling and roll into crescent shape be careful not to put to much filling it will bubble out and burn

  3. I had to go look up quark. :D It's a science term here- I can't believe I paid that much attention in science class.

    Thanks for translating "lekvar." Andy and I were discussing why they didn't just call it "prune." We think it's because prunes have a negative image here.

  4. Rebecca, I think you can. I've only made these once, so I don't know officially if it would make much of a difference. I find that margarine makes baked goods a little softer, but in this particular recipe, I think the dough is plenty soft.

  5. thanks stephanie! I think I will try and make these today or maybe friday. They look too good not to try and yeah I think you are right it would not make too much difference. Merry Christmas!


  6. Merry Christmas to you from the Middling Housewife!

  7. Well, in fact, kifli has a little bit other form :)

  8. I am reading the recipe and the photo shows an egg or two //plus the sour cream in the bowl.....but the recipe says nothing about eggs and calls for cream cheese not sour cream.

    Can you clarify? THanks AB

  9. Hi, I can see how you were confused. The nut version has a different dough. We were making dough for the nut kiffles.

    Sometimes I forget to take photos.

    So apricot kiffles have the cream cheese, the nut version has the eggs and sour cream. The dough is easiest to work with if you wrap it in plastic and refrigerate over night before working.

  10. The nut version was a favorite at our house for many Christmases. I never knew they were Hungarian, but my grandparents were from Austria-Hungary AND Pennsylvania. They settled near Pittsburg around 1917. Mum was an extraordinary cook and baker. Ach! I tink dese kiflis ver all her doing! *grin*

    1. Hi Melanie! I thought they were a local thing too! Merry Christmas!


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