Les mendiants (lemon cream and nut cookies)

Yield: 35 Servings

Measure Ingredient
10½ ounce Unsalted butter, melted
1⅔ cup Confectioners' sugar
2 larges Eggs
3¾ cup Flour, sifted
3 \N Eggs
1⅔ cup Sugar
11 ounces Unsalted butter, softened
3 \N Lemons, juiced and zests grated
35 \N Prunes, pitted and halved
3 ounces Whole almonds, toasted
3 ounces Hazelnuts, toasted
6 ounces Walnut halves
6 ounces Raisins, soaked in rum until plump, and drained
70 \N 1-inch pieces candied orange peel

TORTE PASTRY

LEMON CREAM

TOPPING

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 ½ 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 ⅛ inch. Cut dough into 35 1½-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.

From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at www.synapse.com/~gemini

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