Butler’s Pantry baker shares recipe for Piccione’s Pistachio Orange Shortbread Cookies
Special Request

Butler’s Pantry baker shares recipe for Piccione’s Pistachio Orange Shortbread Cookies

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The Special Request column usually features recipes we gather at our readers’ suggestions from local restaurants. For the next eight weeks, however, we’re asking local chefs to share their favorite recipes for comfort foods, foods that feed body and soul. We’ll test the recipes in a home kitchen, as we usually do, and photograph the results. When restaurants reopen again for dine-in service, we’ll return to the regular Special Request column format.

Our comfort recipe for this week comes from Laura Dignon, the executive sous pastry chef at Butler’s Pantry. This recipe for Orange Pistachio Shortbread cookies originated at the now shuttered Piccione Pastry in University City where Dignon served as its first director. Today, she bakes Piccione’s famous Italian cookies, cannolis and desserts as part of the Boardroom catering menu at Butler’s Pantry.

“We start with our basic shortbread recipe, then add different mix-ins,” she says. “We’re known for our Italian cookies, as well as black and whites, lemon ricotta cookies, raspberry spritz and macaroons. The pistachio orange shortbread is a particular customer favorite.” It’s also the kind of cookie Dignon likes to bake at home with her daughters Amelia, 5, and Reagan, 14.

Dignon credits her love and her knowledge of baking to her mother and grandmother. “My mom always clipped newspaper recipes — stacks and stacks. I used to organize them in photo albums for her. We are a big dessert family,” she says. “I learned from my mom, who learned from my grandmother, who is of Austrian descent, so we have amazing cookies at our house.”

Baking is a sure-fire way to create comfort at home. From the whir and clack of the mixer to the sweet smells that fill the house to the ding of the timer on the stove, baking delivers.

For Dignon, baking also holds special meaning. “I still write recipes on cards in an index file of cards at home; it’s something I can pass down through my family. I baked with my grandmother’s passed-down recipes. I may be old-fashioned and sentimental, but I feel connected when I see her handwriting and notes in the margins.

“I always say I bake for the love of it. I think everyone connects with food; it’s something everyone can talk about.


Butler’s Pantry

1414 Park Avenue

314-664-7681; butlersboardroom.com


See recipes from the top 100 restaurants in St. Louis

“If I can share my talent and my gift with someone else, to put a smile on somebody’s face — that’s my way of giving back to people.”

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