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Pineapple Thyme and Lime Linzer Cookies

What could be so delicious that it once held the title of New York’s best cookie? In 2016, I read in Saveur magazine about a 350-square-foot hidden tea shop in the West Village of New York City, called Te Company. This little gem is on the second floor of a five-story apartment building with its name pasted on a sign at the door. Portuguese chef Frederico Ribeiro and his Taiwanese wife Elena Liao run the shop and also serve Spanish tortillas with oozing centers, garlic and cilantro soup, and pheasant fare made luxurious with poached eggs and shaved watermelon radishes.

The cookie in question is baked in fleeting batches and sold for $40 for a dozen at their shop and online. They are buttery hazelnut shortbread rounds dusted with sea salt and filled with pineapple jam seasoned with yuzu kosho (a fermented Japanese chili paste) and made from lime zest, rosemary and fresh pineapple. This pineapple linzer cookie is Ribeiro’s homage to the Taiwanese crumbly, buttery pineapple snack cake bursting with fresh pineapple. This month in the New York Times, I read an editorial by Florence Fabricant who again recognized this cookie. She called it “a good luck cookie for the year of the pig.”

Ribeiro’s recipe for his pineapple linzer cookie has inspired me to make this cookie easy for home cooks to bake and enjoy. The flavors of the original recipe are not quite familiar to most people, although one bite will kind of short-circuit your taste buds. I simplified the recipe with my own buttery almond shortbread dough and an easy filling of canned crushed pineapple, lime and fresh thyme reduced to a delicious jammy confection. My topping is a sprinkle of sugar and lime zest just before serving. Now we have Tampa Bay’s best cookie, easy enough to bake and for everyone to enjoy.

MODERATE

Pineapple Thyme and Lime Linzer Cookies

You will need five limes for this recipe. Plan on starting this cookie a day ahead, as the filling needs time to firm up in the refrigerator and the dough should be cold when you roll it out.

For the cookie dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup almond flour

¾ cup finely granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon pure almond extract

1 tablespoon heavy cream, or more if needed

Zest of 2 limes

For the filling:

1 (16-ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup light brown sugar

Juice and zest of 2 limes

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

5 fresh thyme sprigs, bundled with butcher string

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping:

Zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the butter, egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, cream and lime zest. Pulse just until a smooth ball forms. If the dough seems too dry, add a tablespoon more of cream.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface, knead into a ball, cut in half and form two flat discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. You can also make this cookie dough in your stand mixer.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the crushed pineapple (and its juice) and cornstarch. Stir to blend. Add the light brown sugar, lime zest and juice, vanilla, thyme sprigs and salt. Stir to blend. Cook on medium heat until the pineapple starts to caramelize, darken and thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Refrigerate before filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface and working with one ball of dough at a time, roll ball into a ¼-inch-thick circle. Using a 2 ½-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out the cookies and transfer to the baking sheets, 12 to each sheet. Using a ¾-inch round or star-shaped cutter, cut out another circle in the middle of half the cookies. Reroll the scraps and repeat. Refrigerate the dough if it becomes too soft.

Bake two sheets at a time for about 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Wipe off the parchment paper on the two cookie sheets and bake the remaining cookies. Cool completely before filling.

Just before serving, spread atop each solid cookie about 1 teaspoon of the pineapple filling, almost to the edge. Top with a cookie with a hole in it. Gently press to seal. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the cookies.

Makes 24 cookies.

Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski

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