The May 2009, Challenge is brought to us by Khadidja Zehani from www.dessert-world.blogspot.com. Khadidja worked on two recipes to give us two choices; one for a wonderful savoury dish and one for outstanding dessert....
Dough (Outer layer)
note I'm using a "measure" which means use the same cup to measure the different ingredients. Could be a cup, 1/2 cup....etc. For instance if you use the "1/2 cup" you would need a 1/4 cup of the clarified butter. Also, I usually use the food processor to make the dough.
3 measures all purpose flour
1/2 measure clarified butter
pinch of salt
1 measure orange blossom water
In a bowl, mix the flour, clarified butter and salt. Work the ingredients between your hands until crumbly. Start adding the orange blossom water slowly until you get a dough. It shouldn't be very soft. Add enough water to make a dough that is not sticky. If using the food processor, follow the same instructions. Divide the dough into balls and color each one with the desired food coloring. It takes some time for the color to get incorporated in the dough, just keep working the dough with your hands and be patient! Keep the dough balls in a ziploc bag and let them rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
300g ground blanched almonds
180g powdered (confectioner) sugar
1 large egg
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients until you form a dough. It shouldn't be sticky to the touch. Form into a walnut size balls and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Orange blossom & Lemon Syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
1/4 cup orange blossom water
2 TBsp lemon juice
Lemon peels from 1 large lemon
In a sauce pan, mix the sugar, water and the lemon peels. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Off heat add the orange blosoom water and the lemon juice. Cover and let completely cool. The syrup should be cold when used.
Preparation of the cookies
Prepare your pasta machine. If you don't have one, you could use a rolling pin, but I don't think the result will be the same since we want the dough to be very thin. Plus, the machine makes the work much easier and faster.
If you want the cookies to be just one color (like the pink ones I made) there won't be too much work to do, you would put the dough through the machine and roll it out on the thinner setting.
If you want the multi colored stripped dough, here is what you would do: make strips out of the different colored doughs. Stuck the strips by alternating the colors. Make sure they are well glued to each other, you could use some water to make them stick (go easy on the water please!). Start rolling the strips on the medium thickness of the machine, then roll it again on the thinnest setting. while you're rolling and working, use some corn starch to make the dough dry out a little bit. Spread some corn starch on your work surface and lay the rolled out dough. Let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes, then cut out circles about 5 inches in diameter. Let the circles dry out another 5 minutes.
Put in the middle of each circle of dough a ball of filling and close the whole thing gently to form a
surprise package or some kind of a basket. Press gently so the dough in the middle stick well and won't open up during baking. Be careful not to press hardly otherwise the dough will get cut and the filling will come out during baking.
finish making all the cookies and arrange them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Let the cookies sit for at least an hour before baking. The more they sit the better they will keep their shape while baking.
Bake the cookies in a 320 f preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. They shouldn't get brown at all to keep their nice color. As soon as they come out of the oven, plunge them in the cold syrup. Let them soak the syrup for 1 to 2 minutes. Arrange the cookies on a cookie rack with a baking sheet underneath it to drain the excess syrup.
Note: You can use Honey thinned with orange blossom water instead of the simple syrup. Just heat the honey and orange blossom water and let the mixture cool. The consistency of the honey should be like a simple syrup