Meyer Lemon Pielets with Brown Butter Press-In Cookie Crust

I have my own Meyer lemon tree but I did have to purchase the lemons for this special treat- this year anyway. My tree is very sparse at the moment- and not that happy. šŸ˜¦ Hopefully it will have many lemons sometime in the future! Anyway, I love individual desserts. These were silky, creamy and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from The Book on Pie: Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies by Erin Jeanne McDowell. Such a beautiful and informational book. The lemon zest and juice can be replaced with Key lime zest and juice for a lime version. Alternate press-in cookie crust variations are included below as well. Very nice.

Yield: 12 mini pies

For the Brown Butter Press-In Cookie Crust:

  • 113g / 4 oz / 8 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 50 g / 1/4 cup / 4 T granulated sugar
  • 21 g / 1 large egg yolk
  • 5 g / 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 210 g / 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 g / 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 15 g / 1 T water

For the Pielets:

  • 1 recipe Brown Butter Press-In Cookie Crust (ingredients above)
  • 99g / 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 288g / 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 60g / 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 2g / 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1g / 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, for serving, optional
  • Meyer lemon zest, for garnish, optional

To Make the Crusts:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter begins to simmer and foam, the milk solids turn brown, and the butter smells toasty, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cool the butter to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cooled brown butter and sugar on medium-low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix on medium speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well.
  6. Add the flour and salt and mix on low-speed until fully incorporated, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Add the water and mix just until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute more.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350Ā°F/175Ā°C with a rack in the center.
  9. Grease the cavities of a muffin pan with nonstick spray.
  10. Divide the dough into 12 even rations in each cavity. (I used cookie scoops of various sizes.)
  11. Use your fingers to press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of each cavity.
  12. Use a small fork or tip of a paring knife to dock the dough all over.
  13. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
  14. Bake the crusts until they are lightly golden at the edges and appear set all over, 14 to 18 minutes. If the dough puffs up during baking, prick it with a fork when you remove the crusts from the oven so it lies flat again.
  15. Cool crusts completely. Then, use an offset spatula to gently unfold the cooled crusts onto a baking sheet. They should release easily. (I found that rotating them helped release them from the pan- the top edges of my crusts did crumble a bit though- still delicious.)

To Make the Filling and Serve:

  1. In a small pot, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together to combine.
  2. Add the cream and heat over medium-low heat, whisking, to dissolve the sugar. Do NOT let the cream come to a boil.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large container with a pour spout and whisk in the lime juice, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Carefully pour the custard into the cooled crusts, filling each one just over 3/4 full.
  5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours). Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  6. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and garnish with additional zest, if desired, and serve.

Notes:

  • The pielets can be made up to 24 hours ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • Any leftover filling can be chilled in a ramekin for a baker’s treat. šŸ™‚

Alternate Press-In Crusts:

To Make an Oatmeal Press-In Cookie Crust: Replace the brown butter with room temperature butter. Replace the granulated sugar with 53 g / 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. Replace 30 g / 1/4 cup of the flour with 74 g / 3/4 cup rolled oats.

To Make a Coconut Press-In Cookie Crust: Replace the brown butter with room temperature butter. Replace the granulated sugar with 53 g / 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. Add 50 g / 2/3 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut with the flour.

Dulce de Leche-Hazelnut Macaroons

These one-bowl cookies were quick to make and called for one of my favorite ingredients- dulce de leche. The crunchy roasted hazelnuts and chewy coconut providedĀ nice contrasting textures as well.

This recipe was adapted fromĀ Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking by Jennifer McHenry, via Scott Suchman of The Washington Post. I roasted and peeled the hazelnuts and adjusted the cookie size and resulting baking time. I double the recipe below and included them in my Christmas cookie assortment.

Yield: about 36 cookies

  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarseĀ salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.Ā Set asideĀ a third rimmed baking sheet, unlined, for the hazelnuts.
  3. Spread hazelnutsĀ on the unlined, rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until you see the skins crack.
  4. Immediately transfer the nuts to a clean dish towel; wrap up and vigorously massage the mass of nuts (through the towel) until the skins have loosened and fallen away. Discard the skins.
  5. When cool enough to handle, chop the hazelnuts.
  6. Combine the coconut, chopped hazelnuts, dulce de leche, vanilla extract and salt in a mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop by spoonfuls (about 36) on the baking sheets, spacing the spoonfuls an inch apart.
  8. Bake, on the middle rack, one sheet at a time for 7 to 12Ā minutes, or until just set.
  9. Cool completely on the sheet; repeat with the remaining macaroons.

Make Ahead: The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

Tropical Carrot, Turmeric, & Ginger Smoothie

This smoothie is the most unusual I’ve ever made- or tasted. It’s spicy but not too spicy. Savory but not too savory- thanks to the orange and mango. Super healthy. It was very ORANGE too! šŸ™‚

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I substituted chia seeds for hemp seeds and dried turmeric for fresh. I was too cold to add the ice! It was a perfect lunch with a small handful of walnuts.

Yield: about 2 cups, one serving

  • 1 blood or navel orange, peel and white pith removed
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed, coarsely chopped
  • Ā½ cup frozen mango chunks
  • ā…” cup coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon shelled raw hemp seeds
  • Ā¾ teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1Ā½ teaspoons finely grated peeled turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ice
  1. Using smoothie or ice crush setting, purĆ©e orange, carrot, mango, coconut water, hemp/chia seeds, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and Ā½ cup ice in a blender until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Morning Glory Muffins

IMG_0192

I love to treat my family (& myself!) to muffins for a special weekday breakfast. My kids have also become thrilled to have mini-muffins in their snack at school!

These muffins are loaded with healthy sweetness from carrots, apples, coconut, and raisins. The cookbook made them sound even more healthy and appealing because it stated that the bakery has toĀ make a fresh batch on weekend afternoons for the cycling club that stops in for their muffin break! šŸ™‚ This recipe was adapted from The Model Bakery Cookbook: 75 Favorite Recipes from the Beloved Napa Valley Bakery by Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen with Rick Rodgers. I adapted the recipe to incorporate whole wheat flour, and adjusted the baking time for mini-muffins and a convection oven.

Yield: 16-20 standard muffins, or 12 standard muffins & 24 mini-muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups (365 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) shredded carrots, about 3 large
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, & shredded
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) sweetened shredded coconut, plus 1/4 cup (30 g)
  • 1/2 cup (85 g) dark raisins

IMG_0165

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees (on convection). Line muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray, as desired. (I used cooking spray for the standard muffins and paper liners for the mini-muffins.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to combine.
  3. Combine the shredded carrots and apple in a small bowl.
  4. Beat the vegetable oil and sugar together in a stand-mixer set on medium-high speed until light in color, about 2 minutes.
  5. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating them with two equal additions of the carrot mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition.
  7. Mix in the 2/3 cup coconut and all of the raisins.
  8. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, transfer the batter to the muffin cups.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut over the tops.
  10. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes for standard muffins (on convection), and about 10 minutes for mini-muffins (on convection).
  11. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, transfer to a wire cooling rack, and let cool. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I initially made these cookies to bring to a friend’s home to watch the 4th of July fireworks… but, because of rain, the fireworks were postponed. It was impossible to postpone eating these cookies though! šŸ™‚

This recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook results in perfect cookies- sweetened with maple syrup and chewy from shredded coconut. They are my daughter’s favorite cookies. All-American and perfect for July 4th! We ate them with ice cream and blueberry pie. Delicious!!

Yield: Makes 5 to 6 dozen small cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; stir in the coconut. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the maple syrup, and mix to combine.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until well combined, about 1 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two batches; mix until just combined. Add oats and raisins; mix until combined.
  7. Chill the dough in the refrigerator, covered with plasticĀ wrap, at least 30 minutes, and up to one day, prior to baking.
  8. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop dough and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  9. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 14 to 15 minutes on convection, or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven.
  10. Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

One Year Ago:

Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry with Cashews

Sri Lankan Curry

I couldn’t wait to make this dish when I saw the recipe in the New York Times. I am the only one in our family who really loves curries, but, as the cook, I feel that I can make what I want to eat most of the time! My husband enjoyed it too. We ate it over rice which I cooked in the leftover stock and coconut milk. I included the optional parsnips, which were sweet and starchy. I also substituted light coconut milk and pre-roasted cashews for raw without a problem. This dish was time consuming, but worth it.

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut in 3-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons grated garlic (I used 5 cloves in a garlic press)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1 pound small parsnips, peeled and cut in 2-inch batons, optional
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, coconut oil or vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • A few sprigs mint and cilantro for garnish, optional
1.
Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and put it in a mixing bowl. Add ginger and garlic and massage into meat. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast cloves, fennel, cardamom, allspice, cumin and coriander until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind the toasted spices to a fine powder in an electric spice mill and add to chicken. Add turmeric, cayenne and lemon juice and mix well. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate up to 1 hour.
2.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put cashews on a baking sheet and roast until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes (if raw). Remove and set aside to cool. Spread the shredded coconut on the baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then let cool. Grind the coconut with 1/4 cup cashews in a small food processor to make a rough powder. Reserve 1/2 cup roasted cashews for garnish.
3.
Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a simmer, then add parsnips and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
4.
In a wide heavy-bottomed pot, heat ghee over medium-high heat. Add cooked parsnips, if using, and sautƩ until lightly browned. Remove and reserve. Add chicken pieces to the pot, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then remove and set aside. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes more. Add tomato paste and let it sizzle with onions for a minute or two. Add broth and bring to a brisk simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping up any caramelized bits from the pot. Add cinnamon stick, chicken and the ground coconut and cashew mixture. Adjust heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary.
5.
To finish the dish, stir in coconut milk and add reserved parsnips. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until parsnips are heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with reserved cashews. Garnish with mint and cilantro sprigs, if using.
YIELD:
4 to 6 servings

Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

My mom loves carrot cake, so these were the perfect birthday treat for her this year. Ā I added raisins instead of walnuts to please my kids, and opted not to top with additional coconut. I have also made the classic version with walnuts- of course. šŸ˜‰

We all thought they were great, very moist and tender. Ā This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. I modified the frosting recipe.

Yield: 12 cupcakes.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, separated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 large)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or raisins
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, plus more for garnish

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Oil a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  3. In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and eggs.
  4. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt.
  5. Add flour; mix.
  6. Stir in carrots, walnuts (or raisins), and coconut.
  7. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 minutes (on convection) or up to 25 minutes in a standard oven.
  8. Let cool completely before frosting.
  9. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, salt, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 T vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
  10. Frost cupcakes, and garnish with shredded coconut, if desired.

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