Introduction: Lemon Curd and Poppy Seed Linzer Cookies
One thing I like about January is Meyer lemons appearing at markets and grocery stores. As a matter of fact, I really have to rack my brains to find another good thing in these dull, gloomy weeks when the sun scarcely shows up.
Unfortunately they are only available here for 3-4 weeks, but I do all I can to make the best of the season. I buy loads of them each year, and use them various ways. Just looking at them with their vivid, almost orangey yellow color surely brightens up your day. They are quite easy to distinguish from ordinary lemons just by their appearance, they are usually smaller, more roundish and have a deeper yellow color. They are less acidic than regular lemons and the skin has a spicy, bergamot fragrance.
Sometimes we just eat them as they are, on top of a salad for example, I use them in all sorts of dessert like tarts, ice creams, mousse but lemon curd is the all-time favorite.
Lemon pairs well with poppy seeds (and cookies, of course), so I decided to make a lemon curd and poppy seed linzer cookie that I’d like to share with you. No tricks, it’s absolutely easy to make. If you don’t like poppy seeds, you might just skip it.
Step 1: You'll Need
Ingredients of the curd:
- 3 eggs
- 120 g Meyer lemon juice
- 80 g sugar
- 120 g butter
Ingredients of the cookie dough:
- 300 g flour
- 70 g almond meal
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 120 g icing sugar
- 200 g cold butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of poppy seeds (whole, not ground)
Almond meal may be replaced with any other nuts meal or - if you prefer - you may just use flour instead. Adding ground nuts gives the cookies an extra flavor.
- hand whisk
- rolling pin
- a bigger and a smaller size cookie cutter
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
Step 2: Prepping Lemons
Start with the lemon curd. In fact, it can be made a day, or more ahead.
Scrape the skin of one lemon, then cut them in half and strain the juice. I needed three lemons to get the quantity indicated in the recipe.
Step 3: Make the Curd
Put eggs (whole eggs), sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan and cook it at low heat, stirring constantly, until it gets dense (custardy). It is ready when you pull your finger across the back of the spoon and the mark stays there (pic. 3.).
Set it aside for 5 minutes, then add the butter gradually, cube by cube, combine well before adding the next one.
If you not use the curd straight away, it can be kept in the fridge for weeks. I usually press a piece of plastic foil directly on top of it, so that no skin is formed.
Step 4: Toast Poppy Seeds
Pour poppy seeds on a baking tray, toast in the preheated oven (180 Celsius) for 10-12 minutes. You won’t see a change of the color, but you will be able to smell the fragrance of poppy seeds. You’re not mistaken, that are a lot more poppy seeds in the picture than it says in the recipe. I use it quite often therefore I toasted a bigger quantity and store the rest in a jar.
Step 5: Make the Dough
I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Cut butter into small cubes (the colder the butter, the easier it is to work with).
Put flour, almond meal, salt and butter into the mixer bowl and start mixing it at low speed until it is formed into crumbles.
Add sugar, toasted poppy seeds and mix.
Add egg yolks and combine.
Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface, and form it into a ball. Slightly flatten it, wrap it in parchment paper and put it into the fridge for an hour or so.
Step 6: Roll, Cut and Bake
Remove dough from the fridge, put it on the lightly floured countertop. Roll dough evenly to 2-3 mm thickness. You may have to sprinkle some flour underneath the dough every now and then to stop it from sticking, don't forget to check this regularly. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough. Transfer the cookies to a baking tin lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Cut (using a smaller cookie cutter) the middle of every other cookie.
Bake in the preheated oven (170 C) for about 12 minutes depending on your oven. The key is not to overbake them, if you see the edges get brown, it's late.
Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Step 7: Assemby and Done
Take a cookie, turn it upside down, so the curd goes on the side facing the parchment paper, put some curd in the middle and cover with another piece of cookie that has a hole in the middle forming a window for the cream. One teaspoons of cream should be enough per cookie, the actual quantity depends on the size of the cookie. Make sure it goes underneath the top cookie but does not flow out on the sides.
That's it. Enjoy!
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