These are sort of a cross between traditional thumb-print cookies and a lemon merginue pie. Instead of jam, the lemon shortbread shells are filled with tangy lemon curd and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Why lemon curd instead of jam? Because I wanted to, and because it's delicious! They're like tiny little lemon pies.
Everyone knows that making things tiny increases their appeal by 200%.
The lemon curd recipe comes from Crave Cupcakes which is a cupcake store here in Canada that bakes up some delicious and popular cupcakes. I was thinking of trying out their curd recipe and then took it as a sign that I should when I opened my fridge and had exactly 7 eggs which is the amount the recipe calls for.
If you're in Calgary you can catch Crave cupcakes at the Calgary Home + Design Show on the Trail Appliances Cooking Stage on Family Day (Friday, September 20) at 2:00PM. It's always fun watching live cooking demonstrations. I mean, watching them on tv is fun, but you don't get to smell or taste anything and that's the best part!
Their lemon curd recipe is pretty straight forward and the results are pure tangy deliciousness. The egg yolks are whisked together with lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar, then stirred over a pot of simmering water until thick. Then it's removed from the heat and some butter is whisked in before it goes into the fridge to chill overnight.
To prevent a skin from forming on the lemon curd, it helps to place the plastic wrap directly on top of the curd before putting it in the fridge. You can do this with puddings as well, unless you are one of those people that relish the pudding skin, in which case you might as well skip the plastic wrap altogether. I feel like I might enjoy it more if it wasn't called 'skin'. The name in combination with the fact that you sort of have to peel it off has me firmly pressing my plastic wrap directly on the surface of my spoonable desserts. Sorry skin lovers.
The base of the cookies is simply shortbread with a bit of lemon zest. Might as well jam lemon flavor into every element. None of this 'less is more' philosophy here. In fact, I wish I had made lemon scented whipped cream instead of regular whipping cream..regret!
I made a couple of batches, and with one batch I actually baked the lemon curd along with the cookie instead of spooning it in before serving. Baking it creates a firmer filling that's better for transporting, but it bubbles up quite a bit so you don't get to fill the cookies with as much curd. Both versions were delicious but I'd say that the curd spooned on after baking edged out the baked curd.
Once they're filled with lemon curd it's all topped off with a dollop of whipped cream and then popped directly into your mouth. And then repeated over and over because they're mini so you can justify eating basically a whole batch. Some times a little justification goes a long way.
Recipe from Crave Cupcakes
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 Lemons)
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter cubed
2 cups flour minus one tablespoon
1 TBSP corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter soften/room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 TBSP lemon zest
Make the Curd
1. Bring two inches of water to boil in a large heavy bottomed pot.
Reduce to simmering.
2. In a medium size glass bowl (big enough to sit on top of the simmering pot)
combine egg yolks, sugar lemon juice and lemon zest.
Whisk until combined.
4. Set bowl over the pot of simmering water and stir often until the mixture
thickens and reaches 172°F.
5. Remove from heat and strain though a fine mesh sieve.
6. Allow to cool slightly (about 5 min)
7. Add cubed butter to the mixture. Stir to combine until the curd
is smooth and thick.
8. Cool completely before using,
cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make the cookies:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Stir together the flour, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the icing sugar, butter, and zest together until light and fluffy
3. With the mixer speed on low stir in the flour mixture until combined
4. Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out the dough and roll into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and create an indent in the center of the cookie using your thumb. Place the tray of cookies in the freezer to chill until firm, then bake them for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly golden along the bottom. Cool on a wire rack
Assemble the Cookies
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tsp icing sugar
1. Whip together the cream and the sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Fill the cookies will a spoonful of lemon curd and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to a week, the lemon curd will keep in the fridge for up to five days. It's best to store them separately and then assemble before eating.