To Russia With Love


It’s funny how childhood recollections can drag long minutes into hours. My keenest memories from my primary school years involve what seemed like an age whipping eggwhites for pavlovas, stirring [and burning, as mum keeps reminding me…] the lentils, and crushing pecans by fork for Russian teacakes. Every time mum baked, she would at least double the quantity the recipe called for, thereby redoubling my fork/whisk efforts.

Now I make my own Russian teacakes at Christmas time. I use a slightly different recipe, and I substitute walnuts for pecans because I prefer their stronger flavour. This year my teacakes are going into take-home packs for my Christmas lunch guests.

Russian teacakes are a celebration cookie for cultures spanning different continents, including Russia, the UK and Mexico. The Russian teacake is a type of pastry known as a jumble. With this in mind, I have already decided that my next batch of this mixture will be baked into pastry cases.

Recipe #60: Russian teacakes. Makes 36-48.

You will need:
► 250g butter, softened
► the seeds of 1 vanilla pod [either scrape out a vanilla pod or substitute 1 tsp vanilla essence]
► ½ cup pure icing sugar, sifted
► ¾ cup crushed walnuts [or pecans]
► ¼ tsp salt
► 2¼ cups plain flour, sifted
► extra icing sugar, for rolling

Begin by crushing the nuts. I use a mortar & pestle these days; you can also use a fork or a blender on pulse. Set the nuts to one side. Add the butter, vanilla and the ½ cup icing sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.

starting out

Stir through the flour, salt and crushed nuts until you form a dry dough. Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes.

a dough is formed

Using a teaspoon, spoon the mixture onto a lined baking tray. Bake in a 200°C oven for 10-15 minutes, or until their edges are tinged with colour.


Plunge the teacakes into a bowl of icing sugar while they are still warm and lightly press the sugar onto them.

sugar coating

Allow to cool on a rack or wooden chopping board before wrapping, storing or eating.

Russian teacakes, wrapped in plastic

This is an easy recipe with a melt-in-your-mouth result. I hope you try it out for yourself.

H 🙂


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