Are there words or names of things that just make you want to giggle? Or maybe they conjure up visions (pleasant or not). Lemon Curd is one of those things that does it for me. It makes me think of curdled milk or Little Miss Muffet. What the heck is a curd anyway?! (I looked it up…click here for the definition)
I have used lemon curd in recipes before, but I don’t recall ever making it. After doing some baking on Friday, I was left with four egg yolks and a few naked lemons (only needed the zest for a previous recipe). I also had some blueberries in the fridge that were calling my name. Now, before I go any further here, I have to confess…I have no photos to share. It was an incredibly busy weekend and frankly, I wasn’t planning on blogging about it. But that darn lemon curd (snicker) was so delightful…
I decided to make blueberry lemon curd hand pies. Well actually, I decided to make lemon curd and I needed something to do with it! I searched the internet for recipes and found several that covered everything but I wanted the best recipe for each phase of the job. Recipe #1: Lemon Curd, Recipe #2: Blueberry Compote, Recipe #3: Pie Crust.
Even though there are no photos, I will share with you the links to the recipes and the notes I made along the way. Some of their photos are better than mine anyway.
Let’s talk about the Curd (giggle). When I was recovering from surgery a while back, I spent some quality time with one of the food channels where I met the Pioneer Woman. I love her, so when I was faced with a million Google returns on my Lemon Curd search, I zeroed in on her blog post, How To Make Lemon Curd.
I was skeptical when I first started making it. I didn’t see how egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice were ever going to thicken up – and then adding all that butter just seemed counter-productive to the task. But, I soldiered on and to my amazement, it worked! The. First. Time. It’s amazing what being patient and following directions can do – neither of which are my best qualities. This stuff is really basic in its ingredients and process but it does take a little time and attention. Overall, it is fairly easy to do and a great way to use up egg yolks. You will need eight of them, so if you save yours in the freezer, package them in fours or eights and be sure to mark your bag with the quantity and date.
The next component of my hand pies was the blueberry compote. I make a blueberry sauce that I was tempted to use because it is so yummy, but not being much of a pie master, I decided to, once again, follow directions. The recipe I used was found on the Vanilla & Bean blog. It was nicely written and I just had a good feeling about it. Click here to view it.
Now, if you wanted to, you could use this recipe as your “one-stop shop” because it covers everything from crust to curd (giggle). I only followed the directions for the compote and I was satisfied with the results, but I can’t vouch for the entire recipe. I found it interesting that one of the ingredients was maple syrup. I did not have any pure maple syrup on hand so I used pancake syrup. I wouldn’t advise it because it gives it a certain taste that I don’t think pure maple syrup would have. I compensated for this by adding some cinnamon and a little vanilla (please don’t ask me how much because I often channel my Italian grandmother with “a little of this, and a little of that”).
After finishing up both of the pie fillings, I let them cool and then set in the refrigerator for a few hours. Both thicken up nicely, but oh, that curd (heh, heh)! It was like satin butter, if there was such a thing.
Lastly I made the pie crust. This is not my forte. If you know me, you know my story about my dad. I learned to bake at his knee. He could make everything, but we never made pies together. He occasionally made pie crust but I was never included in the process – and frankly, as long as I got to eat the crust, I didn’t care. He always made it seem like rocket science – what with needing the right temperature of water and butter and so on. Rolling it out looked daunting, and of course he said it had to be just the right texture and thickness. I’m more of an instant gratification kind of girl. Pie crust was beyond my skills or interest. Besides, Mrs. Smith made a crust that couldn’t be any more instantly gratifying! Well, a few years after my dad passed, I decided to try making pie crust. I’m embarrassed to say it took me so long to do it. Easy peasy! This is the recipe I use and it’s the one I will stick with until my dying day. Sorry Dad, but it’s not rocket science!
I chilled the dough for about an hour before rolling out on a heavily floured surface. I used my Pampered Chef Cut-n-Seal to cut out discs for my hand pies. I made 32 discs for 18 pies. I covered two baking sheets with parchment and laid out the first 16 discs. I spread each disc with a heaping teaspoon of lemon curd (tee hee) to within a half-inch of the edges. I spread egg whites around the exposed dough. Next, I put a heaping tablespoon of blueberry compote over the curd (there, I said it without so much as a grin). I rolled the remaining discs a little thinner so that they would overlap the bottom discs. As I placed one over each base, I lightly pressed around the edges so that I could see the outline of the bottom disc. Covering it with the Cut-n-Seal, I pressed down to crimp the edges firmly. Finally, I made four slits in the top of each pie.
The trays went into the freezer. Let’s put this step under “Notes”. When you make a normal pie, it’s in a plate and therefore, sturdy to handle. Hand pies do not have any kind of reinforcements and can become quite messy before they are baked. I wanted firm pies to work with so I froze them for a few hours. This can be done the night before or the day of baking. If you do it the night before, be sure to take them from the tray once they are solid and place them in a bag to keep them from drying out in the freezer.
I took the pies out of the freezer and placed them on cookie sheets lined with non-stick foil. I love that stuff! I let them sit for a bit until thawed. After an egg wash and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, I popped them into the oven as directed in the recipe. Keep an eye on these because mine baked quicker than expected and there was too much work that went into making them to let them burn up.
The pies cooled for about an hour before I plated them and went off to the covered dish gathering. It was not the fastest treat I’ve ever made, but certainly one of the more satisfying. AND, I have a new-found respect for CURD!