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. 😦 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:
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- 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.
- Cool the butter to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
- 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.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix on medium speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well.
- Add the flour and salt and mix on low-speed until fully incorporated, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the water and mix just until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute more.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C with a rack in the center.
- Grease the cavities of a muffin pan with nonstick spray.
- Divide the dough into 12 even rations in each cavity. (I used cookie scoops of various sizes.)
- Use your fingers to press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of each cavity.
- Use a small fork or tip of a paring knife to dock the dough all over.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
- 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.
- 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:
- In a small pot, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together to combine.
- Add the cream and heat over medium-low heat, whisking, to dissolve the sugar. Do NOT let the cream come to a boil.
- Transfer the mixture to a large container with a pour spout and whisk in the lime juice, vanilla, and salt.
- Carefully pour the custard into the cooled crusts, filling each one just over 3/4 full.
- 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.
- Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and garnish with additional zest, if desired, and serve.
- 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. 🙂
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.