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Jan 1, 2009 10:00 PM

To Fellow Betty Crocker CB users, re Russian Tea Cakes

I've compared notes with a couple of folks around here, who, like me, appreciate the old classic BC red cookbook.

Just wanted to mention that, if you're a fan of the BC recipe for Russian Tea Cakes, I found out tonight that recipe makes a great short tart shell.

I had a can of blackberries I wanted to use up, so decided to make a tart for tonight's dessert. I still had a batch of frozen R.T.C dough I had made for Christmas. I thawed it, took a portion about the size of a large potato and rolled a little extra confectioner's sugar into it (sort of using the puff-pastry method of rolling and folding to incorporate the butter into the pastry, except for this, with 10x). I decided to add that sugar (maybe about 2 T. total), because the berries weren't overly sweet and I wasn't planning to add a glaze.

After the 10x was incorporated, I rolled the cookie dough to about a quarter-inch thick and fitted it into my tart pan and pricked it with a fork.

I prebaked this shell at 350 for about 25 minutes, give or take, until it had browned gently and I knew it was set. For a filling, I used JC's Creme Saint-Honore from MTAOFC, Vol. I. Then I thoroughly drained the blackberries, and scattered them around the top of tart.

Anyway, if you like that Russian Tea Cake recipe, which is so easy to begin with, it made a delicious shell, and the chopped nuts in it (I used walnuts this year) added interest to what was a rather basic and not overly sweet tart.

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  1. That is great to know - thank you. I made some of these last week, with pecans. Your tart sounds delicious.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Interesting, Steady Habits. My BC cookbook is still my go-to for everyday food items, and I had never paid attention to that cookie recipe. It is one of my favorite cookies, and I have lately been flattening it, thanks to

      But I have never thought of using it as a tart shell. The issue I have with even flattening the cookies is the moisture level, I add milk and/or brewed coffee to wet the dough.

      Doesn't your dough break when you put it in the tart pan?

      Bottom line, I love RTCs. This year, I made them with pistachios and crushed TJ's sweet and salty trail mix. Delicious, both times.

      1. re: dolores

        Dolores, I don't know if the dough would have picked up a little moisture from having been frozen and then thawed, but, honestly, I don't think I had any more of a problem with it breaking or tearing than I usually do with rolled crusts. Ha!--that's more of a comment on my own rolled-crust-making deficiencies than it is the recipe. ;-)

        Seriously, I had to do two or three little patches near the outside of the rolled circle *once* it was in the tart form, but they were easy fixes, didn't affect the final product, and I *always* have to do that. (Just not my forte, no matter the recipe.) I actually found it pretty easy to handle. I rolled it out between two sheets of waxed paper, because I thought it might stick awfully, and kept one sheet attached on the bottom when I flipped it over into the form. It worked well for me.

        I *love* your idea re the trail mix. I rough chop trail mix quite often to make quick muffins. I think it does sound excellent for a tart shell now and then. I'd like to make a not-too-sweet cranberry tart, and think trail mix would be a nice accent for that.

        1. re: Steady Habits

          Interesting. I just compared the recipes and the one I made, twice, has 1/4 c. more nuts and 1/4 c. less flour. The salt in mine was just a pinch.

          Both times I added a little milk and a little coffee, because the dough was not moist enough to hold together. I also liked the flattened idea a lot.

          Be sure it's the 'sweet and salty' trail mix -- it has coated peanuts, cashews and some kind of brittle in it. I only ground it up to stop myself from eating it, it is really that good.

          I like your idea of using it as a crust a lot, too. Thanks again.

    2. That sounds really good--thanks for the idea. I'll bet it would be great with pineapple preserves, too.:-)

      1 Reply
      1. This post made me smile! I have a very soft spot for my mom's battered old Betty Crocker cookbook. We have never made the Russian tea cakes, but I will have to give them a try sometime! In my family, the Deluxe Sugar Cookie recipe is the go to Christmas cookie recipe. It is just NOT Christmas without them.

        3 Replies
        1. re: charmedgirl

          We made those too - and in flipping through the cookbook (it's a three ring binder), I also remembered making these delicious peanut butter ball candies.

          1. re: charmedgirl

            charmedgirl, I get gushy about my mother's copy (now mine). The spine's missing, and it's a little beat up, but I wouldn't trade it in for a newer edition, for anything. It has the best cookie recipes, and the RTC are the first cookies I *remember* my mother teaching me to make. She made them every year. I don't think I've ever made the Deluxe Sugar Cookie recipe, though. I will have to try them next time.

            1. re: charmedgirl

              When my mother died six years ago, her old, battered, very much stained BC cookbook was one of the items that most invoked memories of her presence. Seems I can recall every one of those line drawings. My sister has the actual book, but I pulled several of the most-used pages out of the 3-ring spine, took them to Kinkos, and made copies of recipes for the iced gingies I've always loved--" A favorite tradition of Girard College, Philadelphia, PA ...The boys hoard them... old grads long for them"--and the French Muffins and Surprise Muffins with which I won my blue ribbons at the 1962 Wayne County Fair.