I had every intention of making Ůly this year, and I may still. But by the time I do it, and post the recipe, Christmas will probably be past. So I’m going to go ahead and give you the rough directions, and, when I make the cookies, I’ll write it up properly.
The cookie has three components. The first part is the beehive. For this you’ll need a special mold, and it’s not easy to find. I’ve found them in the past at Slovak-Czech Varieties, but they seem to be out now. You might try contacting them in case they have a few spare ones hiding.
- 340 g (12 ounces) walnuts
- 320 g (1-1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites
- lemon zest
My mold is wooden, and I found that I needed to dust its insides liberally with cocoa, in between each cookie shaping. Take a small ball of the paste (it will depend on your mold how much you need) and push it into the mold,using your thumb to make it an even thickness all around, and to be sure the paste takes on the shape of the mold. You want the thickness of the sides to be somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.
Then, by hook or by crook, get the paste out of the mold. You’re on your own here—mine seemed to come out with a little coaxing and tapping. I have no idea how much easier or more difficult the plastic molds are. Some actually have hinges and swing open. Presumably they’re easier to use.
Allow some time for this. I think it took me a couple of hours (but I’m kind of slow at such tasks). Let the Ůly air dry on a cookie sheet for about a day.
The second part is a butter cookie base. For this you might use Lillian Langseth-Christensen’s recipe for Souvaroffs, originally published in Gourmet in December 1984, and reprinted in the new The Gourmet Cookie Book (a very pretty and tempting book). The Ůly are generally cut into circles; a daisy or crinkled round cutter might also be nice. I’m planning on using this recipe this year, with the added rum (natch).
The third component is the filling. My mother-in-law fills hers with a chocolate filling, but I remember her mother-in-law using a rum filling. Perhaps that was just wishful thinking? For this, I used the pastry cream (it’s beaten slowly into butter and sugar) recipe included in my Gourmet story about cookies in Czechoslovakia. The Pink Cuts recipe (cake and pastry cream) is available on Epicurious. I added rum to taste.
But you could use any buttercream filling.
Once you have all three components, you assemble the cookies. Fill each Ůly with the pastry cream, and dab a little extra onto the bottom edge of the nutty exterior. This will serve as cement. Carefully affix to a cookie base (they break easily!). And enjoy.
I’ll try to let you know how my Ůly turn out. Good luck with yours!