When you are bottling apricots, it’s best to use fruit that is ripe but firm. If you find a few softer pieces or even bruised ones, put them aside. Remove the blemished parts, and either make a jam or prepare these yummy apricot balls sprinkled with hot chocolate. That’s exactly what I did a few days ago when I was working with a large batch of freshly delivered garden apricots.
In the recipe below, you can replace tvaroh cheese with cottage or cream cheese of your choice. If you wonder what tvaroh is, here is a post about how you can make it at home from leftover milk.
Apricot Filled Cheese Balls
- 500 g ‘tvaroh’ cheese (cottage cheese or cream cheese)
- 250 g semi-course flour
- 2 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 16 apricots
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 50 g butter
- Put the cheese and the flour in a mixing bowl, add the eggs and a pinch of salt. Work into a semi-thick dough. Cover with a dishcloth and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the apricots and remove the stones.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and transfer onto a well-floured rolling board. Dust your hands and roll the dough into a cylinder about 40 cm long. Divide into 16 parts. Pat each part into a circle and place an apricot in the middle. Wrap the dough around the apricot to make a ball. Dust your hands and the board whenever they feel sticky.
- Fill a large pot with water up to two thirds. Bring it to the boil and turn down the heat. Gently put the balls in the hot water and cook uncovered at a medium-low heat until the balls come up to the surface. Stir gently with a wooden spoon and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Take out with a slotted spoon and transfer into a clean bowl. Sprinkle a little oil over the cooked balls and cover to keep warm. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to cook the balls in two batches.
- Break the chocolate into a small saucepan and add the butter. Place over another pot with boiling water to let the chocolate and the butter melt in the steam, stirring all the time until smooth. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the balls onto plates and pour the hot chocolate over them. You can sprinkle some more melted butter over the top. Serve immediately.
Of course, you can use other fruit instead of apricots, like plums, mirabelles or cherries. They are all very popular fillings for Slovak fruit balls. And if you think they would be eaten for dessert in my country, you are wrong. These decadent pastry balls are filling enough to stand for a main dish and indeed, they are often served as one, especially to children.