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Imperial Dessert

NAPOLEON TORTE
Napoleonas

Napoleon torte has been a favorite des­sert on the Lithuanian festive table for ages.  It is served during the most im­portant holidays and celebrations, as well as on informal occasions.  Legend says that the recipe was brought to Lithua­nia by Napoleon’s own chef during the Emperor’s 1812 Russian campaign. As with other Lithuanian recipes, this one has many variations, depending on the baker. Here’s one:
4 cups flour
1 pint sour cream
1 lb. lightly salted butter
Sift flour onto a pastry board. With pastry blender or two knives, gradually cut softened butter into flour until crum­bly.  Blend  in  the  sour  cream.  With hands, form dough into  11  or 12 egg­ sized round balls. Refrigerate overnight in  covered  bowl.  Before  baking,  let dough stand at room temperature about 15 minutes. Roll each ball almost wafer thin on very lightly floured pastry cloth. Fit into a 12-inch ungreased pizza pan. Prick all over with a fork. Bake each lay­ er at 400° 5 to 7 minutes. It is best to use 2 or 3 pizza pans so you can quickly put another one in the oven after taking one  out.  Continue  till  all  are  baked. Cool, then stack layers atop each other. With a very sharp serrated knife, even the  sides  saving  the  trimmings  for crumbs.

Torte filling:
1 1/2 lbs. unsalted butter
8 egg yolks
2 cups powdered sugar
1 pkg. vanilla pudding (not instant)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup Half & Half or Carnation milk
2 tsps. vanilla
Juice of 1 lemon
Cream the butter, yolks and sugar. Stir pudding mix into  1  cup of the milk. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Grad­ ually pour and stir pudding into butter and yolk mixture.  Scald and pour in slowly the remaining 1 cup of milk, the cream and vanilla.  Slowly add heated lemon juice. Cool. Spread about 1 Tbsp. of pudding on torte layer placed on a large round cake dish. Repeat layering pudding on crusts but alternating every other crust with apricot or raspberry preserves. Frost top and sides with some pudding. Sprinkle with  finely crushed layer trimmings. Decorate with chopped walnuts or toast­ ed whole pecans and Maraschino cher­ ries which have been dried and snipped almost through into  6 petals  to  form daisies. To serve: cut into thin slices with a sharp serrated knife.

POPPY SEED ROLL
Vyniotas  pyragas su  aguonomis

6 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 oz. melted butter
6 eggs
1 oz. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups poppy seed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Lemon peel
Mix 1/3 of the flour with warm milk.
Dilute yeast with a little of the sugar and add to  the mixture.  Beat well and let stand to rise. Then beat well again, add egg yolks  beaten with the sugar until light,  grated  lemon  peel  and  melted butter. Knead very well and let stand to rise. Divide the dough into two parts, roll each into a thickness of the pinkie finger. Spread with prepared poppy seed filling, roll up loosely. Brush edges with egg white and seal. Put on baking sheet and let rise. Brush with beaten egg and prick the roll using a toothpick in sever­ al places to allow steam formed by the filling to evaporate, so that the cake will not burst.
Poppy seed filling:
Wash poppy seeds and let stand in hot water.  Drain and grind the seeds in a meat grinder. Add sugar, vanilla,  and whipped egg whites of three eggs. Mix lightly and immediately spread on rolled out dough. Bake the cakes 45 to 50 minutes. Re­ move from oven and wrap in a moist cloth while the cake is still hot. This will make the crust of the cake soft and tasty.

SOFT HONEY CAKE
Minkštas  meduolis

3 cups flour
1 cup sour cream
1 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsps. melted butter
2 tsps. spice mixture
1 tsp. baking soda or baking powder
5 eggs
Simmer the honey, removing from the heat several times so that it will not boil over,  add spices and cool.  Cream egg yolks with sugar. Put dish with egg yolks into  hot water while  creaming.  Add cooled honey, sour cream (or sour milk), melted butter, and flour mixed with the baking powder. Mix well, add beaten egg whites.  Mix lightly and pour into the baking pan to a thickness of V 2 inch. Bake in a low oven 30 to 40 minutes.