Spring weather is certainly fickle and we experienced that in full force today. We've had quite a bit of snow this year, but I didn't imagine that we would still be having it. A little after noon, it started hailing and within the next 45 minutes, the snow had followed on its heels, and this is what our backyard looked like!
Crazy stuff!! That's a lot of snow! (I really should bring the umbrella in for the winter—now that winter is almost over!)
I've always wanted to try making Lace Cookies and they've always kind of intimidated me. Lace and cookies combined sounds a little scary. However, I took an opportunity to make them last week when we had a small dinner party. The menu was fairly simple: Butter Lettuce Salad with Olive Oil dressing and Goat Cheese Crostinis (tres francais!). The entrée was Brook Trout with Browned Butter, Pecans, and Parsley, accompanied by Thymed Rice. So good. I wanted something somewhat simple for dessert that could be made ahead of time. I wanted to use fresh berries, too, and had the fabulous idea of making Sabayon, or Zabaglione in Italian. It's a little like a Crème Anglaise, but a bit lighter, and goes really well with all kinds of fruits. You can serve it warm like a sauce, or you can chill it. I make it in the summer with grilled peaches. Yum! That got me to thinking about a little cookie that could go along side and tie the whole meal together … and I found just the ticket in the March 09 volume of Martha's Everyday Food Magazine. (I call her "Martha" like I know her!) The cookies are John's Pecan Lace Cookies from the back of the magazine.
This is a cookie dough that does not require a mixer. You start it out in a saucepan, then refrigerate it a couple of hours before putting the cookies out on the pans to bake. You MUST use parchment paper or Silpats or you'll regret your carelessness. (Can you believe I don't own Silpats?) The recipe doesn't call for rolling the cookies, but I thought a rolled cookie would look pretty with the Sabayon … so I rolled them! After each pan came out of the oven, it was a mad dash to see if I could get them rolled before they hardened too much! After a bit of trial and error with the handles of various wooden spoons as my rolling tools, I ended up rolling them around dowel rods. It seems the easiest.
After twirling them around I thought, they needed another name …
How about Pecan Pirouettes?
- 2/3 c. packed light-brown sugar
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ c. light corn syrup
- 1 t. grated orange zest
- 1 c. pecans, finely chopped (I used the food processor with the large blade.)
- 2/3 c. cake flour
Here's my collection of Pecan Pirouettes:
In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, butter, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 7 minutes.
Remove pan from heat; stir in orange zest, pecans, and flour. Transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Drop dough by teaspoons (REALLY! Don't use more than this!), about 2 inches apart, onto sheets (6 per sheet); roll into balls.
Bake until cookies are golden brown (they will harden as they cool), 9-10 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cookies cool completely unless you are rolling them. If you are rolling them, you must roll them right away and touch lightly or you'll burn your fingers! (I know from experience!)
… and see? I was right! They do look pretty accompanying the Sabayon!
You want to recipe for the Sabayon, too? OK … Here goes:
(This one comes from Martha, too—July 02 MSLiving. Hers accompanies grilled peaches and therefore calls for 2 T. of peach liqueur. I didn't add that, of course, because I was using berries! I doubled the recipe for my party and these instructions exclude anything to do with the peaches … )
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/3 c. plus 1 T. sugar
- 1/3 c. champagne or sparkling wine (I use Prosecco.)
- ¾ c. heavy cream, chilled
Prepare an ice bath; set aside. (To do this, find a bowl that is slightly smaller than the bowl you'll use to make the sabayon in. Fill it about half-full of ice and add water just to cover the ice. When you put the bowl with the Sabayon in it, the water will rise up around the bowl to chill it.)
Make the sabayon by combining the egg yolks, sugar, and champagne in a large bowl set over a large pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is very thick and has expanded in volume, about 7 minutes. Place the bowl in the ice bath; let cool completely, whisking gently occasionally.
Place the chilled cream in a large chilled bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into egg-yolk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator at least 20 minutes. (I just ladled mine into stemmed glasses and refrigerated them like that.
I bet you also want the recipes for the Trout and the Rice, huh? I'll get them up for you, I promise!
(I'm still working on the download thing for the recipes. When I get it figured out, I'll load up a ton of stuff for you, OK?!)