Baking with Tito’s: Boozy Apricot Vatruskas

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Boozy Vatruskas

Eastern Europeans call them Vatruskas and Texans call them Kolaches, but these gluten-free pastries are delicious no matter what you call them (or where you eat them). Although more time consuming than Tito’s Texas Sheet Cake or Russian Tea Cookies, these delicate, doughy, Tito’s Handmade Vodka infused, apricot-filled treats from Blackbird Bakery are well worth the effort.

Boozy Apricot Vatruskas

Warm the milk in a measuring cup in the microwave on medium heat for 45 seconds. Whisk in the sugar, yeast and Bread & Pizza Blend. Allow to froth for 5 minutes. 


  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water

1 cup Blackbird Bakery Bread & Pizza Blend

Pour the 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup water over 1 cup of the Bread & Pizza Blend. Add the yeast mixture and stir vigorously to combine. Transfer the dough into a bowl greased with butter. Cover with plastic and allow to rise for 1 hour.


  • 3 1/2 Tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Cream the butter, sugar and egg yolk in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until very creamy, about five minutes. Add the risen dough and mix until well combined.   


Whisk the remaining cup of Bread & Pizza Blend with the salt and baking powder. Add to the dough and mix until well combined. You should have a very sticky dough.

Grease another bowl with butter and transfer the dough to it and cover with plastic. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes.


In the meantime, make the fillings:

  • 1/2 lb cottage cheese
  • 4 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice

Pulse the cottage cheese and the cream cheese in a food processor until no lumps remain. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and lemon juice and pulse until very smooth.


  • 4 ounces dried apricots, diced
  • 1/4 cup Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about five minutes. Remove from the heat.


When the dough has finished rising, dust the counter with glutinous rice flour (available in the Asian sections at most grocery stores). Dust the top of the dough with additional glutinous rice flour and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Divide the dough into 8 rounds. (If you have a scale, this helps get a more uniform finish. Weigh the whole round of dough, then divide by 8.)

Roll the dough into balls, then flatten slightly into a disk that is 1-inch thick on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using the bottom of a small glass, press an indentation into the middle of each round of dough. Fill first with a  couple of teaspoons of the cheese filling and a teaspoon of the apricots. Repeat until all of your Vatruskas are filled. Brush the edges of the dough with egg white.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, rotate, and bake for another 12 minutes. The Vatruskas should be golden and beautiful!

This recipes also works very well for pigs in a blanket. 

Makes 8.

Keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. Best the day they are baked!

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