"Mom, how come you don't have a whisk?? where is that cake pan I used to bake all my chocolate cakes in?? your oven is weird!!!" this is what you would hear me say when I am in my mom's kitchen. Even though I've spent most of my time ( when I was single of course!) in this kitchen, I feel like a complete stranger who just came into a new place and keep asking for things here and there. Unfortunately, I don't have the privilege to visit my parents that often........
I used to spend hours in the kitchen, baking obviously. I used to love it, love every little corner in it. For me, it was the best equipped kitchen: I had my Philips mixer which I used to adore, my pans, my so few tools, my cookbooks, the good and the not so good! Oh and the marble counter top which I think is the only "luxury" I am missing. Now, I can see that a LOT is missing in this kitchen, especially when it comes to baking, but still when I think about all the cakes, cookies, and many other desserts I created there, I truly believe that it doesn't really matter how fancy your kitchen is. It is true that having the right equipment helps, but if the passion is there, you can create amazing things with pretty much......nothing.
The first time I made these cookies I was so excited, yet scared to mess them up. Everytime I do mess up my mom would not be happy.....not at all sometimes! The part I was mostly scared of was the meringue. What if it doesn't come out right? what if the cookie burns and the meringue comes out soggy?? Fortunately, they came out perfect: a melt in your mouth biscuit sablé, a crunchy meringue and that addition of sweet apricot jam, a lovely and tasty combination. These cookies are simple, light and elegant, just perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.
Meringue & Jam Cookies
600g all purpose flour (about 5 1/2 cups)
330 g ( approximately 3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed.
80 g powderd sugar (3/4 cup)
3 to 4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 egg whites, preferably room temperature. First, separate the eggs while they are cold because it's easier, then keep the whites aside.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Apricot jam or any other jam you prefer.
Make the biscuits sablés: sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and rub the mixture until crumbly. Add the vanilla and the yolks one by one until you form a dough. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 320 f. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 in thickness (the cookies will be snadwiched so don't cut them too thick) . Cut out the cookies, preferably using a flower shape cookie cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie pan and refrigerate. Since the cookies are rich in butter content, the refrigeration process helps keep their shape while they bake.
Make the meringue: Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peak. Add the sugars gradually until the meringue is shiny. it shouldn't feel runny. Add the vanilla. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small tip with the meringue and set aside.
Remove the pan from the fridge and using the pastry bag, put dollops of the meringue all around each cookie. Bake the cookies until the meringue is set: shiny and crunchy. If you notice that the meringue is starting to brown, reduce the temperature to 300 f. The cookies should have a very tender, melt in your mouth lower layer and a crunchy meringue on top. Once cooled, fill each cookie with the jam of your choice. I personally prefer the apricot one because of its mild flavor.