I’ve only recently discovered a world of Turkish sweets that extends far beyond lokum and the ever popular syrupy baklava. Take these lemon meringue cookies for example. Just when you think you’ve seen and eaten every imaginable cookie, someone decides to spread meringue on cookie dough, roll it up, bake it, and unsurprisingly, it tastes pretty darn fantastic.
The cookies expand slightly in the oven and come out resembling a rose while smelling like a combination of nutty butter and lemon peel. Biting into one reveals a range of magical textures from tender crumbly cookie to meringue that is soft in the middle and slightly crisp around the edges. I haven’t yet managed to stop at just one.
This recipe lends itself to many variations. Chocolate with crunchy hazelnut meringue or an applied thin layer of cumquat marmalade come immediately to mind. Do let me know if you happen to experiment with any other flavours!
Lemon Meringue Cookies :
(makes 12, adapted from a recipe from Turkish Bakery Delight by Deniz Göktürk Akçakanat)
For the pastry :
1 small egg
25g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
180g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of sea salt
For the meringue :
2 egg whites
pinch of sea salt
125g caster sugar
zest from 1 large lemon
In a food processor (or Thermomix), combine the egg, sugar, butter and salt. Process until creamy. Add the flour and baking powder, processing until a dough just forms. Press the dough out into a flat disc, wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 160’C. Make the meringue by whisking the egg whites and salt in a mixer until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Stir in the lemon zest.
Roll the dough out to a rectangle roughly measuring 12″ x 9″, with the longest side of the rectangle facing you. Spread the meringue on the dough, leaving a 1″ border all around. Gently roll the dough up. This may be a bit messy as the meringue will try to escape a little but it’s worth persevering, I promise.
Cut the log into 12. Arrange the cookies cut side up on a lined baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cookies are golden.