Benjamina Ebuehi’s recipe for lemon and thyme thumbprint cookies

<span>Benjamina Ebuehi’s lemon and thyme thumbprint cookie. </span><span>Photograph: Laura Edwards/The Guardian. Food styling: Benjamina Ehuehi. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food styling assistant: Lucy Turnbull.</span>
Benjamina Ebuehi’s lemon and thyme thumbprint cookie. Photograph: Laura Edwards/The Guardian. Food styling: Benjamina Ehuehi. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food styling assistant: Lucy Turnbull.

When I’m feeling playful, I make thumbprint cookies. I remember making batches of them at school, and taking great pleasure in sticking my thumb into the middle to create a home for jam, curd or chocolate spread. These lemon-and-thyme versions feel a tad more grown up, though, with fresh thyme worked through the dough for an aromatic twist. I’ve made a very zingy lemon curd to dollop into the middle, but shop-bought would work just as well.

Lemon and thyme thumbprint cookies

Prep 20 min
Cook 20 min
Makes 16

For the biscuits
Zest of 1 lemon
90g caster sugar
6 thyme sprigs
, leaves picked and finely chopped
240g plain flour
150g salted butter, diced
2 egg yolks
Icing sugar
, for dusting

For the lemon curd
2 large eggs
100g caster sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
90ml fresh lemon juice
20g butter

Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5, and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

For the cookies, put the lemon zest, sugar and thyme in a bowl and, using your fingertips, rub the zest and thyme into the sugar until it becomes fragrant. Mix in the flour and diced butter, then use your fingers again to rub the butter into the flour until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. (You could also do this in a food processor.)

Make a well in the mixture, pour in the egg yolks and a teaspoon of water, then use a table knife to stir the mixture together. Once it starts to clump, use your hands to bring it together into a dough. Break off roughly 30g pieces of dough and roll them between your palms. Put these on the lined trays, leaving a little space between them, because they will spread while baking. Use a thumb to press a deep indent into the middle of each.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

While they are baking, make the curd. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the mix continuously for seven to 10 minutes, until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Pour the hot curd through a sieve and into a sterilised jar, then leave to cool completely.

Fill the indent in each cookie with some lemon curd, dust with icing sugar and serve.