These elegant little gems are from this month’s Gourmet magazine. They are so perfect for a Christmas cookie plate! There were a zillion cookie recipes in this issue of the magazine, but for some reason none of them sounded that good to me. It was weird. Until I spied these. So elegant! Like little snow covered moons!
This dough was a revelation. So easy to work with and flaky and delicious. I have been thinking about filling these crescents with a variety of fillings. Some raspberry jam, some sort of almond deliciousness…the possibilities are endless. Well, maybe not endless, but you know what I mean. These were much better the next day, which is saying a lot because they were very good on the day I made them. But make them a day early if possible. Or just eat them everyday for a week if you are like me and don’t want to share them. They also are surprisingly resilient. They definitely can survive a trip in your backpack to a friend’s house.
Candied Orange and Pistachio Crescents (Gourmet, December 2008)
For sweet pastry dough
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- 1 large navel orange
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios (2 1/4 oz)
- About 1 cup confectioners sugar
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Beat together yolks and 3 tablespoons ice water with a fork and stir into flour (or pulse) until incorporated.
Gently squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, stir (or pulse) in 1 tablespoon more water. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and divide in half. Form each half into a 4-inch square. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Cut off peel, including white pith, from orange with a sharp knife and finely chop. (Reserve fruit for another use.) Put peel in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then fill with water. Add salt and bring to a boil, then boil, uncovered, 10 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve.
Bring granulated sugar and water (3/4 cup) to a boil in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Add peel to syrup. Gently simmer, uncovered, until peel begins to turn translucent and syrup is reduced to about 2/3 cup, 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain peel in fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, reserving 3 tablespoons syrup. Stir together peel, reserved syrup, and pistachios. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out 1 piece of dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Cut out 16 to 20 rounds with cookie cutter.
Put a scant teaspoon filling on each round, then brush edge lightly with water and fold pastry over filling to form a half-moon. Press edges to seal. Shape each into a crescent by pushing a finger against middle of flat side.
Bake 1 inch apart on baking sheet until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool 2 minutes. Toss warm cookies, a few at a time, in confectioners sugar to coat generously. Cool completely.
Repeat with remaining dough (cool baking sheet and line with fresh parchment). Reroll scraps once for extra cookies if desired.
***Dough can be chilled up to 1 day or frozen 2 weeks. Thaw in refrigerator.
***This made 24 cookies for me, without rerolling scraps. (I ran out of time!) If you reroll the scraps I think you could easily get 3 dozen cookies.
December 18th, 2008 at 12:41 pm
These look delicious. I am already brainstorming possible fillings…hazelnuts and nutella perhaps? Beautiful Post!
December 18th, 2008 at 2:51 pm
I can see why you fell for them! They look fantastic! Just added to my cookie list… right now. Thank you!
December 18th, 2008 at 2:55 pm
Hayley- Thanks, Nutella would be really nice!
Jesse- I think you’ll be glad you made them. I’m going to try another batch this weekend!
December 18th, 2008 at 3:02 pm
i love that these are filled cookies! beautiful.
December 19th, 2008 at 8:18 am
Your pastry recipe’s instructions mentions yolks, but none are listed in the ingredients. How many should be used?
December 19th, 2008 at 8:25 am
Alan, Thanks so much for catching that. It is fixed now.
December 19th, 2008 at 3:14 pm
These sound wonderful, and they look so delicate, it’s great that they’re pretty sturdy too! I’ve been meaning to try my hand at candying orange for a while now. Maybe this should be my excuse.
December 19th, 2008 at 5:01 pm
Just found your blog (via smittenkitchen) and wanted to compliment you on it and also on your wisdom in choosing among the Gourmet cookie recipes. I opted for the chocolate hazelnut ones, but am wishing I’d made these instead.
December 19th, 2008 at 5:04 pm
Thanks Amy! I was so excited when that Gourmet arrived in the mail and then sort of underwhelmed by the recipes I found. Although, these were amazing so I guess I shouldn’t complain. In any case, welcome and thanks!
And Hanne- yes, use these as an excuse.
January 25th, 2014 at 10:55 am
why not adding some orange instead of(or additionally to) pell and syrup
it can make these cookies more interesting, m?
January 25th, 2014 at 10:24 pm
Hi Ira- I would not do that because it will add too much liquid to the filling, and also because cooked orange doesn’t taste very good to me.
August 24th, 2014 at 9:49 pm
can these be frozen?