When it comes to cheese pairing, I am always looking for ways to push the bar between sweet and savory. Since specialty cheese is so complex in aroma and flavor, there are ways to balance out notes of citrus from a soft-ripened goat cheese, or the natural caramel characteristics of an alpine cow cheese.
This honey orange pistachio lace cookie provides the best of those worlds: the pistachios balance the sweetness of the honey, and the orange zest brings out deeper, caramelized flavors.
I chose the Thyme & Flowers Raw Honey from Cheese Companion. This honey hails from the Greek Isles, and is one of the rarest and most complex in flavor, as the thyme blossoms only bloom for a short summer duration. The natural herbaceous quality of the honey add another level of flavor to the lace cookies. It pairs well with creamy, spreadable cheeses, which are a perfect pairing for this cookie. I also recommend an Orange Blossom Honey, which will bring out the orange zest flavor even more. Orange Blossom honey is a little more robust, and pairs well with light-bodied cheddars and pecorinos.
Recipe, adapted from Strawberry Plum
- 1 ¼ c. finely chopped Unsalted Pistachios
- ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
- zest of 2 Oranges
- ⅓ c. Sugar
- 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
- ¼ c. Honey
- 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
- pinch of Kosher Salt
- about ½ tsp. Flaky Sea Salt (such as Maldon)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine chopped pistachios, flour, and orange zest in a medium bowl. Combine sugar, butter, honey, cream, and a pinch of kosher salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and bring to a boil. Pour the hot butter mixture into the pistachio mixture and stir to combine.
- Drop rounded teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets and flatten into 2-inch circles, leaving plenty of space for the cookies to spread. Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Keep a close eye on the Florentines as they bake—they burn easily. Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or 2 on the baking sheet, and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies must be stored in a cool, dry location.