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.
I have a few bar desserts to share. Great for a crowd, party or pot luck event. I have made all of these desserts on more than one occasion! Quite an endorsement. 🙂
These tart, tangy, and sweet bars were fabulous- the crust was absolute perfection. I made them off-season and used bottled Key lime juice. They are a must try with fresh Key lime juice! Fresh Key lime slices would also be a lovely garnish.
This recipe was adapted from the Key lime pie from Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, via Martha Stewart Living.
Yield: 16 bars
1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs (8 full cracker sheets)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
finely grated zest of 1 lime (about 1 1/2 tsp)
2/3 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice (about 23 Key limes total)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1/4 cup heavy cream, for garnish, optional
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons, for garnish, optional
confectioner’s sugar, for garnish, optional
Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a 8-inch square, or equivalent, baking dish with parchment paper, letting it hang over 2 sides.
Using a food processor, pulse graham crackers into fine crumbs.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of the prepared baking dish. (I used the bottom of a dry measuring cup.)
Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Leave oven on.)
Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.
Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula.
Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars.
Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, and/or a slice of lime, as desired.
Note: The bars will keep, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to three days.