Recipe for Kiffles Hungarian Pastries


What are Kiffles? Kiffles are an Eastern European pastry of dough rolled paper thin by hand and filled with assorted fillings. They are pronounced “kif-fulls”. In the U.S., you can find them in parts of Pennsylvania. Kiffles are
similar to Polish Kolacky or Czech Kolache (small, sweet yeast buns with fruit filling poked into its side) but use a different dough.Kiffle dough has cream cheese and butter in it. They’re filled with apricot filling, lekvar
(prune butter), poppyseed, or a walnut filling (walnuts and sugar), then they’re rolled up into
a crescent shape, and baked. While they’re still a bit warm, the kiffles are sprinkled with powdered sugar.

My great grandmother, whom I never knew because she passed away before I was born, was Hungarian
and used to make authentic kiffles (among many, many other kinds of pastries, cakes, buns,
donuts) all of the time. I wish I was there at the time to not only pig-out on her baking but, also to see how she did it. As a testament to her European style of work methodology and, sadly & unfortunately for me, she did ALL of her cooking without recipes and no one in our family observed her and wrote the recipes down! Grr, I need a time machine! So, we don’t have an authentic recipe for Kiffles from her.
About a decade ago my mother discovered a recipe in an old book recipe book from the 1970s. Now the recipe was not specifically titled “kiffles” but, rather, was ingeniously titled “cream-cheese pastries”. She modified it slightly and used different fillings, fillings like her grandmother used to use. I browsed the Internet for kiffle
recipes and about half are similar to our recipe, the other half use sour cream instead of cream cheese – that sounds wrong compared to what my great grandmother used to make.
All four of the most used fillings are great. Apricot’s my least favorite though. Poppyseed is my favorite, followed by the nut filling. Both of these have a nice bit of a pleasant crunch. Don’t let the prune flavor disturb you because it is
delicious in kiffles. Give each a try!
Anyway, I suppose we’ll never know my great grandmother’s recipe but our recipe tastes delicious and they go fast! Atkin’s dieters be warned! After you eat these, you might rethink that. Sorry, I swear I’m not the devil’s
advocate! *whispers eat kiffles, eat kiffles*
As a side note, a kiffle also means a kiss on the forehead, followed by a huggle; a gesture of compassion, usually done to comfort or soothe another; a kiss followed by a long comforting hug.
Kiffle Recipe
2 16-ounce packages cream cheese softened
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups filling: nut, poppyseed, lekvar or prune, or apricot
1) Cream butter and cream cheese till fluffy; gradually blend in sugar.
2) Stir together flour and salt, stir into a creamed mixture.
3) Cover; chill dough several hours or overnight.
4) Divide dough in thirds. On lightly floured
surface, roll each portion into 12 1/2×10-inch
rectangles, cut into 2 1/2-inch squares.
5) Place a dot (about one rounded teaspoon) of
filling in the center of each square.
6) Lift up two diagonal corners of the dough to
center, pinching together to seal into crescents.
7) Preheat oven to 375°.
8) Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake
till firm until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes).
9) Cool on wire racks. Sift powdered sugar over slightly warm pastries.
10) Store loosely covered in a cool dry place.
Makes 10 dozen, depending on the size of kiffles.
Recipe submitted by John Gugie, © 2007

  • Corey Wolfe

    My Baba’s kiffles were made with a yeast dough that had some orange zest in them.You rolled out little balls of dough in sugar,spread your filling ,cut it into 8 pieces and rolled them from the wide end to the point .I know what you mean about the old recipes this one calls for a 5 cent cake of yeast .That was a little hard to convert to dry yeast.But I love them.

  • kristie

    how long can kiffle dough be stored in the refrigerator? i have dough in refrigerator for about 3 1/2 wks sealed in air tight container. can i still use it?

  • Catherine

    My husband’s aunt gave me her family recipe for Hungarian pastries. It’s a pound of butter, a pound of cream cheese, and a pound of flour. In years past, I cheated and used phylo dough. This year, I’m going to try to use aung dot’s recipe.