Finnish Pinwheel Christmas Tarts

Pinwheel tarts have been a favorite Finnish holiday tradition in my home ever since I remember.  They take some time to put together, and I remember helping my mother fold the pinwheel shapes when I was a very little girl, as my niece and nephew now do.  They are surprisingly delicious. The recipe supplied by my great aunt, ­Saima S. Nikola, as made by her mother, Briita Nikola and presented to my mother September 1956. It is printed in ”Recipes and Finnish Specialties” printed by Baycroft, Lanesville, Mass. July 1955   My mother makes some modifications of her own.

Cook 2 lb. prunes in water until soft, and pit. Stir in scant half cup of sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Mixture should be the consistency of stiff jam. If mixture is too thin, add 1 tbsp potato flour and let stand. Keep in cool place until needed. Mixture will thicken while being stored.

Sift into 3 cups of all purpose flour 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tbsp. of sugar. Mix with 1 cup of cold water to which has been added 2 tbsp. brandy, rum or bourbon. Add as much flour as it will take to make a very stiff dough. Weigh dough and add an equal weight of soft butter. (2 lbs. of dough should have 2 lbs. of butter). Knead this with the hands until smooth — there should be absolutely no lumps. This takes some time, but should be done thoroughly. Store in refrigerator overnight, or until needed.
Cut off a small portion of dough — enough to roll into a thin sheet. The balance of the dough should be kept in the refrigerator for ease in handling each batch. Cut with a corrugated wheel cutter into 3 1/2 – 4 ” squares and slit each corner of each square diagonally toward center about 1 1/2″ Drop a tspful of prune mixture into center and fold over every other corner flap, as in a pinwheel. Bake on a cookie sheet in a hot oven about 10-15 min. in a hot oven, 450 deg, or until golden color.

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