I consider Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays, and love to prepare the traditional foods of America, with a few twists. For example, I always stuff a huge turkey, but use a very traditional Greek chopped meat stuffing, which includes chestnuts and raisins, (with no bread crumbs!)
Since I am a huge dessert lover, I always include one special cookie from my family archives to serve. It is an old Greek family recipe cookie from my mother, called ‘pastules’. It seems to fit the spot, since it’s a small, butter-type cookie, and is a perfect ending to a big meal. I make it all year round.
Quite simple to make, it’s basically a butter cookie, which has a few changes, namely, the fact that you dip the rolled balls of raw cookie dough into beaten egg whites, and then dip the cookie into a chopped almond mixture. You then place it on an ungreased cookie sheet, and make a small indentation in the center of the cookie. When the cookie is cool, you sprinkle with powdered sugar and add a tiny dollop of jam in the center. I try to use fig preserve, since fig preserve is very popular in the Greek cuisine. However, any other jam will suffice, and I usually use orange preserve.
These cookies can be prepared a week ahead and stored in an airtight container. Therefore, the interesting sidebar is that since these are easy cookies to make (namely make little balls, dip in egg white, and then roll in nuts), if my grandchildren are around, they like to help make them.
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
l teaspoon double acting baking powder
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
12 ounces shelled almonds, chopped
confectioners sugar for dipping
l cup fig or orange marmalade
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add baking powder and egg yolks one at a time. When yolks are blended, add flour 1 cup at a time, blending to form a soft dough.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy but not stiff
Shape dough into round flattened balls 1-inch in diameter. Dip each cookie into the beaten egg whites and then roll in chopped almonds. Make a groove in the center of each cookie and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about l inch apart. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Cool on the sheet and dip in confectioners' sugar. Place 1/4 teaspoon of preserve in the center of each cookie.
Yield: 40-45 cookies
Store in an airtight container.