Quince marmalade cookies

I have often read that, if one is photographing food, for a food blog, one should never, ever photograph with lamp light. Nor at night time.  I am, I must admit, someone who has trouble with authority figures and rules, bound as I am to break them at every chance - but not on a criminal, ilegal way, mind you! - striving to make my own set of rules as I shout along a much felt and meant "Says who?" when I am confronted with said rules no one knows where they came from or why they were set, from the start.

Alright, I understand the reason behind not photographing food with other than natural light, in the daytime, I really do. But it shouldn't be carved in stone, nor do I want it to be carved in stone as far as I am concerned. I often photograph food in my kitchen, which does not have a lot of natural light, and has overhead fluorescents. I like working with that light as much as I like working with natural daylight, using my son's room as set because it is the most well lit room in the house.

I had never yet plunged myself on night time photography, but I confess I had been toying with the idea for a while: the thought of being able to set a scene, a mood, made up of soft evening glow had been pulling at the back of my mind, reminiscent of Jane Austen novels, bringing to mind whole chapters of "Wuthering Heights" and "Jane Eyre". I wanted to do that. I wanted to showcase these quite lovely, gemlike cookies with a cup of coffee, on a very dark sideboard, lit by candle light and a lamp, as if portraying an elegant 1900's evening, where there would be bridge playing, and perhaps some piano tunes and a young girl singing, or just general conversation, drinking fragrant coffee and nibbling on these delightfull cookies. 

And how delightful, these cookies are!! They're like tiny jewels, the marmalade glinting in the lamplight, the icing sugar making soft sparkles, the sweetness cut off by a slight bitterness of the quince... lovely to have around the house on offer for visitors come the festive season - though I can guarantee they will not last that much - or as a Christmas gift for a loved friend or family member. They're easy to make, as well.

You will need:
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 150 gr flour
  • 100 gr butter
  • 50 gr icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Quince marmalade or any other type of jam you may have around the house
  • 1 to 2 tablespoos cold water
Start by turning on your oven to 180ºc. Mix the ingredients together, kneading them to a soft, silky consistency. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and let it rest inside your fridge for one hour. After that time, spread the dough with a rolling pin untill you have a 3mm even layer. Now you can start cutting with whatever cookie moulds you have, but remember that as this is a type of sandwiched cookie, you will need to cut off the insides of half the cookies you make, so you can have the upper layer that allows the jam to be seen. Of course you can make them into sandwich cookies, just filling the insides with the jam and covering one cookie with another whole one, it is a question of aesthetic preference -and they're light this way. After cutting the cookies, place them on an oven tray lined with parchement paper and bake them in the oven for about 12 minutes. Keep a very close eye as they cook really fast and tend to start browning real quick. As soon as they're done, get them off the oven and onto a cooling wrack, and let them be. After they have cooled, sprinkle the halves that have been cut a hole into with icing sugar, but make sure they've cooled, or the sugar will melt. Now onto the filling. Place a pan on the stove, and heat up one heaped spoon of the jam or mamalade with the water. You want to melt it all down a little and make it slightly more spreadable, if it's a quite runny jam you're using, you may have to skip this, but with quince marmalade - and let me tell you how good it goes with the lemon zest flavout on those cookies! - you really need to do this. As soon as the marmalade has reached a spreadable consistency, turn off the heat and let it cool and set a little. Spread them onto the cookies, over the half that has no hole in it, of course. Then cover these with the other half, the ones that have been holed, and that's it!! Quite easy, huh?

They'll go down a treat - ours lasted for 24 hours!! which was quite a feat, lemme tell ya! - and they look so pretty and so luxurious, it is a sight for sore eyes to have these around. As for the lamp light and the dark settings, the photographing at night time, I feel that this has not interfered with the look of the cookies, in my eye it has enhanced them, and it does not make them less apetizing for it. As I have mentioned before, photography to me is all about setting a mood and a scene to make other people's mind create a story around it. I feel these images are evocative enough to bring to the minds of imaginative, creative people a thought, an idea, thus making them dream away for a little while, and qui sas, maybe even want to go off and bake these cookies!!


  1. vou ter mesmo de os fazer de tão adoráveis e apelativos que ficaram! uma ótima prendinha de Natal também!


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