My mum used to simply call them Košíčky (Baskets) and that’s how these dainty cakes are recorded in my old hand-written recipe book. Mum always made them for Christmas, because she knew they would be winners and none of us would make excuses to avoid helping. It was quite a lot of work, granted, but there was also a fair chance to get a sneak lick of the cream or the chocolate icing when Mum wasn’t looking.
I can’t remember when was the last time I baked Košíčky, but it seems long enough to dust this old classic off and give it a new twist. The good thing about Christmas Baskets is that you can bake the pastry well in advance, and do the cream and icing a couple of days before Christmas. And that’s what I did.
In the recipe below I only reduced the amount of sugar for the pastry, but changed the ingredients for the cream/filling. If you want to give it a go, make sure you have enough cake moulds. As you can see in the photos below, I used a pack of fluted tartlet pans (60 mm diameter).
Makes about 60
For the pastry:
- 100 g ground nuts (I used walnuts)
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 250 g plain flour
- 150 g butter
- 50 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ sachet baking powder (about 7 g)
- flour for dusting
For the filling:
- 450 g thick yoghurt (Greek is perfect)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1½-2 tablespoons brown sugar
- jam (I used home-made blackberry one)
- canned or fresh fruit to decorate
For the chocolate icing:
- 100 g cooking or dark chocolate
- 50 g margarine or shortening
I like to have my nuts freshly ground before baking, although they can be bought at the store these days. In Slovakia, walnuts are by far the most popular for baking.
To make the pastry, put all the ingredients in a large bowl and combine well until a smooth, soft dough has formed. I always knead the dough by hand, but a food processor is fine as well, I guess. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let the dough rest for an hour in a cool place.
Prepare the cake moulds and start filling them like this:
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and bake each batch for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool down and remove the baskets from the moulds by tilting them gently, as seen in the photo below:
Spread a little of the jam at the bottom of each basket.
To make the filling, mix the yoghurt with the sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl. Fill in each basket with the yoghurt mixture and level the surface. Put a piece of fruit in the middle. Cover with the chocolate icing.
To make the chocolate icing, follow the instructions here.
Let the baskets rest in a cool place for at least 24 hours, in which time the pastry will have absorbed all the flavours and softened.
A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you all!