Prunes may not seem like a romantic ingredient, however they are magical in the center of a freshly baked cookie. I use this recipe for lekvar (plum butter) as a filling for cookies, pastries, hamantaschen, kolaches, pierogis, strudel and more. The prunes are slowly simmered with aromatic ingredients and brown sugar to create a thick, luscious concoction. This plum butter can be used as a filling for baked goods, or as a spreadable sweet treat on toast or crackers. In addition, it’s nice and thick, which means it won’t run while it bakes.
This prune filling includes orange juice and zest. It will make your kitchen smell amazing as it simmers. Brown sugar adds depth and helps the filling to hold up better during baking. It also extends the shelf life of the lekvar.
I use plum butter (lekvar) for filling cookies like hamantaschen. It can be used for filling other cookies and pastries, including sweet pierogi dumplings, kolaches, and strudel. Or, serve it as a simple jam on toast or crackers. Try it on a toasted piece of French bread topped with a mild, nutty cheese– the flavor combination is heavenly.
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- 2 cups pitted prunes
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan except for the brown sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute.
- Reduce heat to medium low so the mixture simmers slowly and constantly. Cover the pot. Let the mixture simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.Remove the lid from the pan. Let the prunes continue to simmer for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated/absorbed. Keep a close eye on the pan to make sure the prunes don't burn. When there are about 3 tbsp of liquid left in the pan, remove from heat.
- Stir the brown sugar into the prune mixture till brown sugar melts and dissolves.
- Mash the prune mixture with a potato masher till a smooth puree forms. Run a fork through the mixture to break up any pieces the potato masher missed. You can also use an immersion blender for a smoother puree, if you want to.
- Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigerating the filling to chill completely will make it easier to work with when filling hamantaschen.