Kifle with Walnut Filling


KifleKifle with Walnut Filling is a childhood memory. Mother would make them and I would wait with great anticipation for the time I could eat them. Kifle can be used with a sweet or savory filling. Just omit the sugar for the savory version and use a filling that isn’t wet.

Mother never made a savory version, only the sweet version. However, she would change the filling. She would use a poppy seed version or fill them with lekvar or prune filling, but the Kifle with Walnut Filling was my favorite. Often labeled a cookie, these are actually a pastry. Fleishmann’s Yeast has a Walnut Kifle and has this to say about them; ” Kifle is popular throughout Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. This recipe makes a sweet nut-filled butterhorn pastry but kifle may also be left unsweetened and served as a savory sandwich roll. “

The recipe is so similar to my mother’s that I think she may have found it on the back of a yeast packet and added a few ingredients on her own. The biggest difference is the yeast. When I made the Fleishmann’s version with a whole packet of yeast, the texture of the dough was way off when baked. I used the amount in my mothers recipe and it came out perfectly.  Fleischmann’s also uses a filling based on meringue with walnuts.  I found it to lack any definitive flavor.   In any case, Kifle is an easy treat to make and to eat. Mom used a mixer to make the dough where I have updated to a processor that whips this out in minutes. If you want to use the mixer, combine all the wet ingredients including the dissolved yeast. Combine well in the mixer then add the flour, salt and sugar that have been whisked together. The rest is the same.

European sweet doughs are often not sweet at all. Although there is 2 tablespoons of sugar in this recipe it is mainly to give the yeast something to eat while it rests. The Kifle dough is soft and so, so easy to handle. That is what I love about European sweet doughs – at least the ones I have been exposed to.  They are generally high in butter and eggs making them much easier to roll and shape without springing back.

Although I usually favor bread flour when using yeast, I used all purpose in this recipe because when I first made it with bread flour, the baked dough for the Kifle was not soft. It was rather like cardboard.

Another very unusual thing about this recipe is that at no time does the dough rise. After mixing and shaping, it is refrigerated to firm it up. After rolling out the Kifle dough and filling it, it goes right into the oven. Now this is a yeast dough anyone can make!!  The result is a pastry that is soft but not overly doughy.

The Kifle itself is from the former Yugoslavia where Mom was born and lived before coming to America with her parents. She was a gifted baker, but no matter how many times she made Kifle, it was never enough. I could eat all she could make – unfortunately everyone in the family loved them too so I was limited – probably a good thing.

The dough uses sour cream and butter which guarantees a soft, flavorful dough. There is an easy way to shape the Kifle into little crescents and I think you will find Kifle is not overly sweet but oh so satisfying. The main amount of sugar comes from the powdered sugar that is sprinkled on while they are still warm. These are the perfect pairing to a cup of coffee or tea.

One caveat.  Be sure to tuck the tail underneath the dough.  I remember when I first made croissant and I didn’t tuck the tail underneath.  I waited with great anticipation for the results of all my work (I made them the traditional way not my updated method.) However, when I opened the door, several had unrolled!  Lesson learned.

If you need any other incentive, these are even better if stored overnight in an airtight container where they will last up to 5 days.  They also freeze beautifully but don’t powder sugar them.  Reheat for a few minutes in a 350°F oven.   Then powder sugar them.

Kifle DoughIngredients for Kifle with Walnut Filling1 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour (280 grams or 10 ounces)
1/2 cup butter, refrigerator cold, cut into small dice (114 grams or 4 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream (114 grams or 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar (25 grams or 1 scant ounce)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Dissolve the yeast in the water with a pinch of sugar.Yeast in water for the Kifle with Walnut FillingYeast dissolved for the Kifle with Walnut FillingPlace the flour in the processor Flour in processor for the Kifle with Walnut Fillingand process to mix.  Flour processed for the Kifle with Walnut FillingAdd the cold butter, cut into pieces Butter over flour for the Kifle with Walnut Fillingand process until the butter is indistinguishable.  Butter processed for Kifle with Walnut FillingPlace the remaining ingredients, including the yeast in the bowl of a food processor.  All in processor for the Kifle with Walnut FillingProcess until a ball forms.  Dough balled uno for the Kifle with Walnut FillingRemove the dough, divide it into 3 pieces and put it back into the processor.  Dough pieces in the processor for the Kifle with Walnut FillingProcess again to form a ball.Dough balled up for the second time for the Kifle with Walnut FillingRemove the dough from the processor.   Divide into three equal pieces, about 185  grams (about 6 1/2  ounces) each. balls1 (1 of 1)
Knead each piece 6 or 7 times and shape into balls; flatten them. balls2 (1 of 1)
 Wrap in film and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.balls3 (1 of 1)
Walnut Filling for KifleNuts and jam for the Kifle with Walnut Filling1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
5 to 6 tablespoons apricot jam

Combine the walnuts with enough jam to hold them together.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two or three half sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Roll each piece of dough into a slightly larger than 10 inch circle. Circle 1 (1 of 1)
Place a 10 inch round wakeboard or plate on the dough Circle 2 (1 of 1)
and cut around the edges. Circle 3 (1 of 1)
Circle 4 (1 of 1)
Cut into eight triangles.  Here is the easiest, fastest way to get them even.  Fold the round of dough to either the left or right matching up the edges.  Press down lightly to mark it. Triangles 1 (1 of 1)
Unfold it and cut along the crease. Triangles 2 (1 of 1)
Fold each of these two pieces up to meet the upper edge.Triangles 3 (1 of 1)
Triangles 9 (1 of 1)

Fold each quarter in half to make 8 triangles.Triangles 6 (1 of 1)
Triangles 7 (1 of 1)
Unfold and cut to make 8 triangles. Triangles 8 (1 of 1)Fill with about 2 teaspoons of walnut filling on the wide end of the triangle. Filling on triangles for Kifle with Walnut FillingRoll up and shape into a crescent. First roll for the Kifle with Walnut FillingTurn 2 for Kifle with Walnut fillingTurn three for the Kifle with Walnut FillingDampen the inside edge of the pastry.Dampening edges for Kifle with Walnut FillingPinch edges together. Edges pinched for the Kifle with Walnut FillingRoll the pastry under your hands, stretching gently as you start in the center and go toward the edges.  Dampen the tip.Dampen the tip of the dough for the Kifle with Walnut FillingRolling out for the Kifle with Walnut FillingRolling pastry for Kifle with WalnutsPay particular attention to the tips at both ends.
End tip of pastry for the Kifle with Walnutt FillingRoll the pastry so the tip of the triangle is underneath.Finished pastry for the Kifle with Walnut FillingCurve edges to form a crescent.Finished tray of pastry for Kifle with Walnut Filling Double pan.

Repeat with remaining two pieces of dough.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar while warm.Dusted with powered sugar for Kifle with Walnut Filling

Yield: 24 Kifle with Walnut Filling

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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15 thoughts on “Kifle with Walnut Filling

  1. Judy Garden

    Good Morning Helen. I just made my second batch of Kifle dough. Such a delicious pastry, they didn’t last long. I can’t do walnuts so substituted pecans and they were so good. This is definitely a keeper. I’ve also frozen some of the prepared kifle unbaked and baked them direct from the freezer. Still perfect!
    Thanks for a great recipe.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Judy – You really made my day. It is so rewarding to know that others are using the recipes and enjoying them. I love the pecans. They didn’t have pecans in Yugoslavia but the pecans sound wonderful also. Thanks for letting me know.

  2. Rockyrd

    Man o man would love to have one (or two) with my coffee right now.
    Years ago Dean and Deluca in NY used to sell something like these for like $3 a piece.
    I used to make what I thought were kifle w/o yeast, but these are different. I plan to make these as soon as my kitchen is finished. Still no sink or counters.
    Even after baking professionally for years I occasionally still have problems with flour. Not sure if its me or the flour companies.
    For instance a cookie that I have made a zillion times does not come out the same as years ago. I still use the same flour and AA grade butter. I use the same amounts, still chill the dough as before but now instead of sitting up being a pert little cookie, they spread all over the sheet pans.
    Wonder if I should switch to bread flour? Have not tried that.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Try switching your flour and also are you using all butter. They will spread like crazy! The only thing we used a crisco like product for was the cookies. It kept them compact and higher.

      When is the kitchen getting done? I remember when we remodeled our kitchen at the house it took so much longer than they said it would. I thought I would lose my mind.

  3. Vera Parker

    Can’t wait to try it. I did not like the recipe I chose. I especially like your cutting instructions.
    Vera Parker

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Vera – One thing you can be sure of – I test and retest every recipe until I get it to where I want it. I always have trouble finding the center of a circle to make equal cuts. This is fast and easy.

  4. majaskitchen

    Thank you for this recipe…I remember this pastry when I was a little girl in my grandmother’s home in Croatia….My mother made them as well…but she used a cookie dough….without yeast….which I have made in the past….but I definitely will make your Kifle…since it comes right out of the little village, Veliskovci, whee my grandparents lived……..

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Maria: I find it interesting that good childhood memories stay with us forever. My mother was Serbian but it’s great that we all enjoyed the same thing.

  5. ellen graves

    Just read your extremely helpful and informative article about flours. I’d only add over the years I’ve become convinced that flours even white ones can be more or less finely ground and that seems to make quite a difference to how they handle. We can now buy ’00’ grade white flour, ie more finely ground I believe, in most supermarkets, The 00 one I have at the moment is 10.7% protein. It absolutely is wonderful for pastry-making. it’s all really fascinating. Flour is such a variable ingredient. It’s the reason I now routinely weigh ingredients. I have a few recipes for cake that put the liquid in gram measures also, and it’s so easy for using the scales – just tare back to 0 after every ingredient. But of course you know far, far more about this than I ever will!!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Ellen – glad you found the blog useful. We do not have the 00 flour readily available here. Sometimes the change of flour can greatly alter a recipe- either for the good or bad.

      1. ellen graves

        I’ll say. When I first got to the UK in the 70s I tried to make brownies and simply couldn’t make the recipe work, and it was all to do with the flour, the dampness in the air…! Now you can get and make really good brownies here, don’t know what changed!

  6. ellen graves

    Gotta try these, sooner rather than later!
    One question, our ‘plain flour’ is usually reckoned to be like ‘a-p flour’ in the US. It’s 11.8g protein (ie gluten?) per 100g of flour%, ie 11.8% . On line (‘the kitchn’) I read that US a-p flour is 10-12% protein So will it just be ok to use plain flour (I’m sure just to complicate things different brands of plain flour are not all the same protein-wise. But this is for the brand I normally use, Tesco’s organic.).

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