Actually I wanted to make something Hungarian but I realized that the really typical sweets and our most famous pastries are all big cakes or rich, filled pastries. No cute, little cookies.
So, I decided to make something which I have been making for a couple of times for Christmas and it was always a big hit: mini Ischler cookies, those famous elegant Austrian cookies made of two linzer cookies sandwiched together with raspberry jam and glazed with chocolate. And with that I’m only some hundreds kilometers far from the Hungarian border..
But then what happens: I realize, no chocolate, no raspberry jam in the house. And since we got such a huge snow over the night here in Brussels that I just really enjoyed so much being home and was absolutely lazy to go to anywere, so I applied the creative approach and filled those cookies with something else: orange curd. ( So, actually I should call these cookies Ischler with orange curd but that sounds a kind of bizarre, don’t you think?) I totally love lemon or other citrus curd (which is by the way absolutely unknown in Hungary – for the Hungarian version of this post I really had to think for an appropriate translation). I tried a few different recipes and I found one which is the perfect one for my taste: it is included in a fantastic book, one of my favorites: Serena, Food &Stories. So I used this recipe, substituting oranges for lemons.
All in all, I love these cookies. I absolutely don’t recomment to make them ahead (although they probably keep very well) because you will need to make new batches again and again every weekend until Christmas…
Recipe (makes 30 pieces):
200g/7oz all purpose flour
150g/5oz cold butter
100g/3,5oz icing sugar
70g/2,5oz ground walnuts
pinch of salt
big pinch of cinnamon
100g/½ cup sugar
zest of two big oranges
½ cup fresh orange juice (1 big orange)
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
120g/8 tablespoons of butter
Prepare the orange curd (at least a day ahead): put orange juice, zest, sugar, salt in a saucepan and whisk. Add egg yolks and whole eggs and whisk smooth. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Now add the butter and stir until the mixture thickens. Cool and store in the fridge. (Keeps for a week int he fridge or int he freezer for two months.)
Prepare the cookies:
Preaheat oven to 180C/350F.
Make a firm dough mixing the flour, sugar, ground walnuts, cinnamon, salt and the butter (I like to grate the cold butter). I make it with my hand but you could certainly use a food processor for this. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough (I find it easier to do this in two batches) and cut small circles with a cookie cutter (inch). Put the cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or a silicon sheet) and bake for about 6-7 minutes. They shoul be light in color and feel still a little underdone (the will set as they cool). Cool completely.
Sandwich each two cookies with a little orange curd. (Resist to put too much curd between otherwise you lose control over the shape and the filling will ooze on the sides)
And now comes the toughest part of the recipe: let rest for at least half a day covered with foil so that the cookies can soften.