Quince is for lovers and it’s Valentine’s Day. What better way to celebrate than by making heart-shaped Quince Lintzer Cookies to share with your loved ones?
Quince has a long, and sometimes rocky, association with love. When young Paris chose Aphrodite, over Hera and Athena, as the fairest goddess, Aphrodite made good on her promise to entice the most beautiful woman in the world fall in love with him. That was Helen. Unfortunately, Helen was married to the King of Sparta, so when Aphrodite united Paris and Helen in love with the gift of a golden quince and Helen went off to Troy to be with her lover, the King of Sparta vowed to get her back. The Trojan War began, and the quince became known as the “Golden Fruit of Discord.” Fortunately, over the centuries, the fruit’s reputation improved. It became less about discord and more about passion, love, and fertility. Today, in Greece and in many countries of the Middle East, newlyweds are given a fragrant, ripe quince as a way to bless their union with lasting love and numerous children.
Quince Lintzer Cookies
makes 2 dozen cookies
Homemade ruby-red quince jelly sparkles as the bull’s-eye of these festive butter cookies. They taste as amazing as they look.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups Quince Jelly
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
1. Sift together the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until pale yellow and fluffy. The butter needs to be whipped for a long time; otherwise the batter will be too stiff when chilled.
Add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until very pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until well blended. Slowly add the flour mixture until the batter collects into a dough.
3. Shape the dough into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2½ hours. Dough may be kept refrigerated up to 3 days.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch to ¼-inch thick sheet. Use a circular cookie cutter to cut 3-inch rounds. Place half of the rounds 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets. Substitute a lintzer cookie cutter for the circular cookie cutters, if desired.
Spread each evenly with a thin layer of quince jelly. If the jelly is too firm to spread evenly, warming it slightly should do the trick. Then, using a 1½-inch circular cookie cutter, cut a hole in the center of the remaining rounds to form rings. Place one ring on top of each jelly-layered round to make an open sandwich cookie. Repeat the assembly process, rolling all the dough and scraps, until all of the dough has been used.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
7. When cooled completely, sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar, if using.