Lace Cookies with Orange-Mascarpone Filling and Raspberries
FOR THE LACE COOKIES:
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE ORANGE-MASCARPONE FILLING:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon orange flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (preferably mandarin orange)
- 2 half-pints raspberries, rinsed and dried (2 cups)
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
For the Lace Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line an 18 by 12-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place the pecans and sugar in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the butter, flour, molasses, cream, and vanilla and process until well mixed and the nuts are finely chopped. Transfer the dough to a bowl.
Place heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough on the foil-lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies far apart and leaving lots of room to expandmakes only 6 cookies at a time.
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until bubbly all over and golden brown. Watch the cookies carefully, as they turn from brown to burned very quickly; the baking time may need to be adjusted according to your oven. Remove from the oven and place, still on the foil, on a cake rack to cool completely. Continue to bake the cookies in batches until all the dough is used. (Make extra cookies, as they are very fragile and break easily.) Once they are cooled, very carefully peel the foil away from the back of the lace cookies; it is very easy to break the cookies. If holding the cookies for any length of time, place in an airtight container.
For the Orange Mascarpone Filling:
Place the cream in a small bowl and whip by hand or with an electric mixer until fairly stiff. Using a whisk, stir in the mascarpone, liqueur, sugar, and orange zest until the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to over mix, because the mascarpone might separate. Use immediately, or set aside and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
To assemble, place 1 lace cookie on a dessert plate. Spread 1 tablespoon of the filling gently over the cookie, or pipe, using a pastry bag. Place 4 raspberries, equally spaced, on the filling. Place a third cookie on top of the raspberries and top with 1 tablespoon of the filling. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.
Garnish each dessert with 3 or 4 raspberries and a mint sprig. Serve immediately.