Of course, one of the great benefits of this is the range and variety it has brought to food in Britain. Polish food is now a familiar sight in UK supermarkets, and has become a part of modern British food.
I’ve been interested in Eastern European food for a few years now, and I am steadily building up a collection of Eastern European cookbooks. These lemon cookies are inspired by a recipe in one of these books – ‘Polish Desserts!’ by Kathy Gary.
They are delicious with a cup of tea or coffee and I think that they make a perfect addition to that most British of meals, Afternoon Tea.
These Lemon Cookies are so light, they just melt in the mouth. They’re delicious on their own, but even more scrumptious if you sandwich them together with the zingy lemon buttercream. If you prefer, they would work just as well with orange juice or clementine juice (perfect for Christmas!). But remember to scrub the skins well under hot water if you can’t get hold of unwaxed fruit.
Polish Inspired Lemon Cookies (makes around 60 cookies)
For the Lemon Cookies:
165g caster sugar
225g softened unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
290g plain flour plus a little extra for shaping the cookies
For the Lemon Buttercream filling:
75g softened unsalted butter
375g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Milk (as needed)
Icing sugar to serve.
To make the cookies:
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/Gas5
Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the caster sugar and softened butter together until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolk and beat in well, and then add the lemon juice and zest and beat again.
Add the plain flour, a quarter at a time. I use my electric mixer for the first half, but it’s easier to use a wooden spoon to beat in the last of the flour.
Line baking sheets with baking parchment, and then use two teaspoons to place small rounded spoonfuls onto the sheets. Leave 5cm gaps between each cookie – I put 12 cookies on each sheet.
Put a little plain flour in a bowl, and dip the bottom of a glass in the flour. Press the glass lightly on each ball of cookie dough to flatten, dipping it in the flour when necessary.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown, the cookies should be a light sandy colour. When you take them out of the oven, leave the cookies on the sheet to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream:
Put the butter in a large bowl, and beat briefly with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, together with the lemon juice.
The buttercream should be light and whipped, not like a heavy paste. If it is too thick, add a little milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the right consistency.
Sandwich the cookies together with the buttercream, and dust with icing sugar to serve.