Monday, March 02, 2015
This time of year can be hard in these climes, when it comes to local, seasonal baking. Storage fruits like apples and pears are reaching the end of their viability and the warm weather berries and stone fruits are still a ways off, as much as we want them to appear. Even southern citrus is at the tail-end of its reign.
In these in-between moments, especially in spring when we’re craving the taste of fresh fruit, I like to opt for desserts made with jam. This genre of cookies, tarts, and pies offer a great opportunity to use up the stock of preserves you may have put up or accumulated over the winter, they work well with frozen berries, and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh spring fruit, you can make them into a quick jam.
The featured dessert of Purim— hamentaschen— also features the pairing of pastry and preserves, and baked goods with jam are also perfect for the weather-breaking tea party occasions early-spring offers.
I made these Jam Cookies, the dough recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, with some fig and apricot preserves I had in my fridge, as well as a quick frozen strawberry jam I whipped up while the cookies were in the oven. They would also be great with marmalade, apple butter or jelly, or any other preserves you have in your fridge or pantry.
Sugar cookie recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 stick + 2 Tablespoons (10 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and orange zest.
2. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute, until smooth. Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for 2 more minutes, until light and pale in color. Add the egg and yolk and beat for 2 minutes more, then add vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add dry mixture, just until incorporated.
3. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once chilled, roll out on a floured surface and cut circular cookies. Cut holes in the center of half of the cookies and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through. The cookies will feel firm, puffed, and just slightly golden when done. Remove pan from oven and let sit for at least 1 minute before moving to a cooling rack.
6. Once cookies are cool, spread jam on the circular cookies and top with a hole-cut cookie. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve. Keeps in a tin or Tupperware up to 1 week.
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