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Les Mendiants (Lemon Cream and Nut Cookies)

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 35
Categories: Cookies / Desserts / Holidays

    -----TORTE PASTRY-----
10 1/2  oz  Unsalted butter, melted
1 2/3  c  Confectioners' sugar
2  lg  Eggs
3 3/4  c  Flour, sifted
    -----LEMON CREAM-----
3    Eggs
1 2/3  c  Sugar
11  oz  Unsalted butter, softened
3    Lemons, juiced and zests
35    Prunes, pitted and halved
3  oz  Whole almonds, toasted
3  oz  Hazelnuts, toasted
6  oz  Walnut halves
6  oz  Raisins, soaked in rum until
    -plump, and drained
70    1-inch pieces candied
    -orange peel

The colors the fruits used in the cookies suggest those of the robes forn by the four ordres mendiants, monastic orders that originally lived on charity -- the Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans and Franciscans. Torte Pastry: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together butter and sugar until light. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg. Pour 1/2 of the whisked egg into butter and sugar mixture, reserving the remaining half for another use. Add the remaining whole egg and blend mixture well. Remove paddle and replace with a dough hook. Add flour, mixing thoroughly. Form dough into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate 2 hours. Roll dough out to a thickness of slightly more than 1/8 inch. Cut dough into 35 1 1/2-inch ovals with pointed ends and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 350F oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until cookies are a light caramel color. Lemon Cream: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat combine eggs, sugar, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring mixture to a goil, stirring continually with a wooden spoon. Boil gently for 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover and chill thoroughly. Assemble: Spread each cookie with 1 heaping tablespoon of lemon cream and top with 2 prun halves, 2 almonds, 2 hazelnuts, 2 walnut halves, 7 raisins and 2 pieces candied orange peel. Makes approximately 35 cookies.

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