Well, now I know for sure what I will be serving on my date
with Michelle Pfeiffer!
I think it would be a breakfast. Not so much pressure and if things go well, there's always lunch and dinner.
I cannot imagine for a minute that she wouldn't love these.
Thank You, Beth! -angelo
P.S. Apologies to David E. Kelley.
FROM BAKER BETH:
Angelo has a lot of admiration for a lot of women worth admiring: Tina Fey, as you so well know.
Meryl Streep. Kate Winslet. I could go on. The list is pretty long. But he seems to hold an extra-special place in his heart for Michelle Pfeiffer.
Angelo and I share an appreciation for "Grease 2," which is both delightful and cheesy. By which I mean that the film is both delightful and cheesy and the fact that we appreciate it is both delightful and cheesy. Everything associated with "Grease 2" is delightful and cheesy.
Whether or not you factor "Grease 2" into the equation, Michelle is unquestionably talented and strikes me as a lovely person, relaxed and refined.
So it will come as a surprise to exactly no one that I pondered a Michelle Pfeiffer-inspired cookie.
She's vegan. So I wanted to create a vegan cookie. I really did. So Angelo could invite Michelle over for tea and have something to serve to her. (You know Greeks and their hospitality ... .) But my psyche was not prepared for recipes that contain ingredients such as soy protein isolate and xanthan gum. I can't do it, vegan friends.
Angelo and Michelle will just have to meet at a vegan cafe for a coffee date.
But I carried on with the idea of a Michelle Pfeiffer-inspired cookie. I knew I wanted to bake something soft. "Nothing crunchy," I wrote in my notes. "It would have to be a soft bite of something, because I don’t see Michelle chomping on something crunchy. She should be able to chew it delicately, quietly. Someone refined and captivating wouldn’t be OK with sounding like she was chewing on gravel."
(My stream-of-consciousness cookie notes are full of tidbits like that.)
I had decided that lemon curd would be involved, which made me want an accompanying cookie that involved cream cheese, because cream cheese and lemon are lovely together.
Crumbs are not captivating.
Enjoy, kids! Angelo, have fun on your date!
Cream Cheese Cookies with Lemon Curd
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Additional granulated sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 350º. Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill dough for an hour or so to allow it to firm up. Roll small amounts of dough into small balls* then roll in granulated sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the sugar is just barely golden at the edges.
*I used small amounts of dough, about measuring teaspoonfuls, to make small cookies. You needn't be so obsessive. You can make slightly larger cookies, as normal people would do, and bake them a little longer. As for yield, it will depend on how big you make the cookies, but this recipe does not make a lot of dough.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 or 4 lemons)**
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will appear curdled but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Do not let the mixture boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools.
Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for two months.
**Note: The original recipe calls for stirring one teaspoon of grated lemon zest into the curd after it's taken off the heat. I omitted it for my purposes, because I didn't want bits of zest to mar the silky texture of the curd, but you may want to include it.
Yield: about 2 cups
One year ago: Portlandia Cookies
Two years ago: Sablés and Dark Chocolate Espresso Biscotti