These old fashioned cookies, made of yeasted dough with a walnut filling remind me of a Holocaust Survivor that my husband and I met at a coffee shop in Israel years ago. Mr. Paschkarevitcz who was originally from Bratislava/Pressburg was sent to the Lodz ghetto and from there to Auschwitz. He would come to a particular bakery in Jerusalem every Friday for a coffee and their Pressburg Kipfel as a reminder of the taste of his youth.

The filling recipe makes twice as much as you will need, you can either cut the recipe in half or do as I do which is make the full amount and freeze the filling to make these delicious cookies again super soon. The filling will keep in the freezer for a month. Why didn’t I just make the right amount of filling you may ask? There is a part of me that never wants to be stingy with filling and so I overcompensate, feel free to not give into my neurosis!

For the dough:

  • 80ml (⅓ cup) milk (or almond milk)
  • 100g (6 ½ tablespoons) butter (or vegan alternative) at room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 25g (5 teaspoons) granulated sugar
  • 15g (½ oz) dry yeast
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) vanilla sugar
  • 250g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • Juice of ½ a lemon

For the walnut filling:

  • 150g (1 cup) walnuts, ground
  • 180ml (¾ cup) milk (or almond milk)
  • 50g (3 ½ tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) vanilla sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Slivovitz (or other fruit liqueur/brandy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g (3 ½ oz) cookie spread (or almond butter)
  • 130g (4 ½ oz) sponge cake (or vanilla cookie crumbs)

For the topping:

  • 1 egg white

For the dough:
Place all the dough ingredients for the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough thoroughly until well combined. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and continue kneading by hand until you have a very smooth dough.

Alternatively, you can make the dough entirely by hand.

Once you have a smooth dough roll it into a log and wrap in baking paper. Allow to set in the fridge for an hour. While the dough rests. Make the filling.

For the filling:
In a small pot over a medium flame, mix together the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar, and cinnamon stick and Slivovitz, cook until the sugar has dissolved and the milk comes to a boil.

While the pot with milk is cooking, in a second pot, mix together the eggs, cookie spread, cake crumbs, and walnuts. As soon as the milk comes to a boil add it to the pot with the walnuts and turn on the fire to medium, cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture thickens.
Place in the fridge to cool.

Walnut filling can be made up to 3 days before use, store in the fridge in an airtight container.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 180℃ (350℉).
Line two baking sheets with baking paper set aside.

Take the dough out of the fridge and knead a couple of times to make sure it is smooth and supple. Shape back into a log, cut approximately 25g (1oz) pieces from the dough and using a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll the dough into a small oval.

Fill the dough with walnut filling either using a piping bag or two teaspoons. Place the filling on one of the short ends of the oval, roll the dough around the filling and bend into a crescent shape.

Place crescents on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with egg white. Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly puffed and golden.