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Poppy-Seed Cookies with Meyer Lemon Curd and Swiss Meringue

A Swiss meringue may sound fancy, but it's really very simple to make. For browning the meringue, you'll need a small kitchen blowtorch (available at amazon.com). The cookies can be made up to two days ahead and stored at room temperature, and the curd can be made up to a week ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The assembled cookies can be made ahead and stored at room temperature one hour or in the refrigerator (do not cover) up to six hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 48 cookies
Poppy-Seed Cookies with Meyer Lemon Curd and Swiss Meringue

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2013

Ingredients

Poppy-Seed Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 large egg yolks, 3 egg whites reserved for Swiss Meringue, below
  • 3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)

Swiss Meringue

  • 3 large egg whites (reserved from Meyer Lemon Curd, above)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, or 1-gallon freezer bag

Directions

  1. Cookies: Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture. Add butter, egg yolk, and vanilla to well, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Knead a few times to form a cohesive dough, then transfer to a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Form dough into a 12-inch-long, 1 1/4-inch-diameter log. (It's okay if it cracks in places.) Wrap in parchment, pressing top and sides to ensure a tight, uniform log. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in upper and lower third. Unwrap dough, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cookies are firm in center and golden brown around edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

  3. Curd: Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add whole egg. When thoroughly combined, gradually add egg yolks, then lemon juice. (Mixture will appear curdled.) Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Refrigerate curd until cold, about 2 hours.

  4. Swiss meringue: Whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and a candy thermometer inserted into mixture reads 160 degrees. Remove from heat and beat with a mixer on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.

  5. Assembly: Place cookies side by side on a baking sheet. Top each with 1 teaspoon curd. Place meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip (Ateco #806) or a gallon freezer bag with 1 corner snipped to make a 1/2-inch hole. Pipe spirals of meringue on top of each cookie. Lightly brown meringue in places with a small kitchen blowtorch.

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