The sibling to the Lemon Meringue Pie and Key Lime Pie cookies, this one was a tricky one when it came to the filling given its cherry. Cherries don't taste of cherry flavouring funnily enough because cherry flavouring is based around the maraschino cherry, so I was stuck in the place where either I used fresh cherries but it lacked the flavour or find a way to make them cherryish. I didn't want to use a pre-made filling, and jarred whole maraschino cherries aren't the easiest to get except for cocktail cherries which are morello cherries (part of the fam). With these I think I have made the kitschiest curd you can make. I mean look at it. It can be a little sweet but I think the unsweetened cream and cocoa powder help off set this and give you somewhat a decadent mouthful.
Hands-on Time 30 minutes plus chilling (overnight)
Baking Time 15 minutes
320g Unsalted butter (softened)
200g Light brown sugar
325g Caster sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
4 Eggs, large
300g Plain flour
100g plus extra for dusting Cocoa
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp plus a pinch Fine salt
1 tbsp Instant coffee powder (fine)
250g Maraschino cherries (2x225g jars of cocktail cherries, drained)
2 tbsp Lemon juice
2 Egg yolks, large
450ml Double or whipping cream
Freestanding mixer with paddle
Baking sheet (ideally aluminium)
Piping bag with nozzle
Add 250 grams of butter, light brown sugar, and 175 grams of caster sugar to the bowl of the mixer and beat on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes until you have a very light and fluffy mixture.
Add the vanilla and 2 eggs and beat for a couple of seconds until combined.
Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb, teaspoon of salt, and instant coffee and again beat for a couple of seconds until combined. Scrape the sides down using a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
Take a sheet of baking parchment and place the dough onto. Shape the dough into a wide, long sausage and roll up before popping it into fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Take the dough out of the fridge, slice into 16 equal rounds. Roll each round into a ball and place onto the lined baking sheet.
Pop the sheet back into the fridge, ideally overnight, so the dough balls can firm up.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Slide the baking sheet out of the fridge and leave the dough balls on the shelf.
Once the oven has warmed up line the baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
Place approx 6/8 balls spaced about 10cm apart from each other onto the baking parchment.
Pop the tray into the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 15 minutes.
Once the time is up remove the tray from the oven. Slide the parchment carefully, with the cookies, onto the worktop. Immediately use a round bottom spoon to press down into the centres of the cookies to make a dimple for the curd.
Re-line the baking sheet with more paper and bake your next batch.
After the cookies have rested for a couple of minutes they should be firm enough for you to transfer onto a wire rack to fully cool. Don’t forget they will get firmer as they cool.
When the cookies have cooled you can get on with the cherry curd and whipped cream.
For the curd finely blitz the drained cherries, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a blender until there’s no large chunks.
Transfer the mixture into a sauce and place over a medium heat until bubbling, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime in a clean bowl whisk together 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 150 grams of caster sugar.
Whilst still whisking the eggs add the heated cherries to them. Keep whisking until combined.
Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and place back over a medium heat and stir until thick.
Tip the cherry mixture back into the bowl and add 70 grams of butter and stir until it has melted and combined.
Set the curd aside until cooled and slightly set
When you’re ready to assemble the cookies whip the cream until stiff in a clean bowl.
Transfer the whipped cream into a piping bag and pipe a circle around the craters you’ve made in the centres of the cookies.
Spoon the cherry curd into the centres of the cookies before piping the rest of the whipped cream over the top, sealing it in.
Spoon a little cocoa powder into a fine sieve and slightly dust the tops of the cream covered cookies.