Shortcrust “apples”: Realistic cookies from the Soviet home kitchen (RECIPE)

You’ll be obsessed with these “fruity ” cookies – both eating and baking them.

Victoria Drey

These “green apples” are not for keeping fit but to have fun. From using natural DIY spinach dye to shaping the pastry – they are worth every minute you’ll spend in your kitchen.

I feel that as far as Soviet types of pastry there’s a special passion for cookies in the shape of fruits and vegetables, which look surprisingly realistic. I guess, it might be due to the fact that during Soviet times people had a small variety of sweets and pastries in stores; so these outstanding home recipes were a way to vary them, especially when trying to delight children. 

Previously, we already mastered “peaches” and “mushroom” cookies – so, now it’s “apples” turn! The idea is pretty much the same: cooking one of the basic shortcrust pastry, coloring it and shaping it as realistic as possible. In this particular recipe the most intriguing part is definitely dyeing: it is made of natural spinach puree instead of gel food colorings or matcha powder used in most recipes calling for a green color. I honestly love this kind of recipe, not so much because of the natural ingredients like spinach VS gel, as for having a chance to improve my culinary skills and gain a new baking experience. 

This recipe is definitely the best to cook together with children. Prepare some flax or pumpkin seeds for decoration, as well as cloves for apple “tails” authentic imitation – and enjoy the process, and of course the delicious final result.


  • Spinach – 70 g
  • Flour – 230 g
  • Yolks – 2
  • Butter – 100 g
  • Sugar – 70 g + some for dipping
  • Cold lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Lemon zest – 1tsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cloves and flax / pumpkin seeds for decoration


1. Start with the spinach: put into hot water and boil for 1-2 minutes. 

2. Then, drain, let cool a bit and wring intensively. 

3. With mortar and pestle grind spinach into puree – this process takes some time. I also recommend forcing it through a sieve after working in the mortar so as to get the smoothest puree consistency. 

4. When you are done with your DIY green color, move to the cookie pastry. In a bowl whip yolks with sugar until the mixture becomes more airy and pale-yellow. 

5. Add softened butter, salt, lemon juice and zest and stir.

6. Next comes the flour: sift together with baking powder and mix – you should get a classic shortcrust sand-like pastry.

7. Now separate ¼ of the pastry and add spinach puree into the smaller portion. 

8. Knead until you get an even green color, and set aside it in the fridge. 

9. Back to the large part of the pastry, add 1-2 tablespoons of ice-cold water if you feel like it is too sandy to work with. Knead elastic pastry and shape it into a nice cylinder.

10. On a sheet of baking paper roll out the green pastry quite thinly, trim the edges so that it fits the size of the cylinder part.

11. Evenly wrap the cylinder in the spinach pastry layer making the edge seamless.

12. Finally, sprinkle the cylinder with sugar all around, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for 40-60 minutes to set.

13. Then, using the sharpest knife, slice your cylinder in circles that are about 1 cm thick.

14. Working with one circle at a time, shape it into an apple-looking slice and decorate with seeds and gloves. I started with flax but then noticed that the halves of pumpkin seeds look even more realistic. 

15. When you are done with all the “apples”, layer them on a pan covered with baking paper and put in the oven at 190°C for 20-25 minutes.

16. It only remains to let your apple cookies cool completely and enjoy – priyatnogo appetita!

READ MORE: Baked apples: Master the healthiest Russian-style breakfast (RECIPE)

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