Posts tagged ‘lemon curd petit fours’

A civilised way to eat that something sweet & gooey

I found a way to make raw chocolate pastry cases when I created my pretty little raw petit fours and it was my lemon curd experiment that gave me the impetus to invent bite-sized raw almond pastry cases.

tiny almond pastry cases

This version uses coconut sugar, which gives a distinctly toffee flavour – however, as I have discovered, coconut sugar is not raw.

My limited research tells me that coconut sugar is derived by boiling the sap from coconut blossoms then evaporating the moisture from the resultant mixture. I am satisfied that there is enough goodness, like potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins, left in the relatively unrefined sugar (when compared with cane sugar) to justify its sparing and respectful use in my kitchen.

So to the pastry cases. This simple recipe has so many potential uses. It’s pairing with the lemon curd makes both components shine, and I could see it working equally well with a raw chocolate or stone fruit filling.

Recipe #113: Uncooked almond pastry cases. Makes ~32 cases.

For this recipe you will need some special equipment: a food processor or Thermomix, and silicon mini muffin trays.

You will need:
► 200g almond meal
► 120g coconut sugar
► 30g coconut flour
► 30g coconut oil [= coconut butter]

Non-Thermomix method:
1. If the coconut oil is solid, warm it over a double-boiler until it is liquid.
2. Process the dry ingredients in a food processor until combined really well.
3. Add the coconut oil, then pulse until the mixture resembles clumpy crumbs and easily comes together when pressed.

Thermomix method:
1. Whiz the dry ingredients together on speed 7 for 5 seconds and, if the coconut oil is liquid, go straight to step 3.
2. Place the dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then measure the coconut oil into the Thermomix bowl and warm it at 37°C for up to 2 minutes on speed 2.
3. Add the liquefied coconut oil to the dry mixture in the Thermomix bowl and process on speed 7 for about 10 seconds. Check the mixture; it should resemble clumping crumbs. If a teaspoon of mixture does not easily clump together when made into a ball, give the mixture another 10 seconds on speed 7.

that's the way the pastry crumbles

Then, for both methods:
1. Take small teaspoonfuls of the crumbly mixture and form it into balls.
2. Place the balls into the dimples of mini muffin tray, working quickly to press the mixture up the sides of the dimples. Note that, if you don’t work quickly, the mixture warms and begins to slide.
3. Put the tray into the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes, then carefully press each case from the tray.
4. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

in formation

Serve just-out-of-the-fridge with your favourite sweet filling.

my lemon curd petit fours, yet again :)

Enjoy!

H :)

16 January 2011 at 11:42pm Leave a comment

me like curd

Introducing my deconstructed lemon tart.

lemon tart...deconstructed

Did I mention it’s 100% raw?

And this is what lemon curd looks like, using raw lemon zest & pith powders – with absolutely no eggs, no butter, no refined sugar, no cream, no cooking.

lemon curdlike

Most zesty and delicious.

So how did I get to this point? Let’s start at the very beginning.

How it all began. The inspiration for my raw, vegan lemon curd came from failed orange juice.

One day I decided to juice an aging bag of oranges by pulverising them in Mac (my Thermomix) and pressing the resultant pulp through a nutmilk bag. The pulp was too thick to press through, so I mixed it with a little water. The juice was viscous and bitter. Not wanting to admit defeat, I added honey, and then I allowed myself to get sidetracked for a few minutes before consumption.

When I tried to drink my glass of orange juice, I couldn’t – because it had jellified!

This reminded me of the high pectin content in citrus fruit and gave me the most fantastic idea, which became the mission for this blog post. I would make a lemon curd with only raw & organic ingredients. [For those of you who don't yet know it, pectin is a highly soluble fibre that is naturally found in fruit and is used to set jam.]

My mission: to create a delicious, raw lemon curd. This meant organic ingredients, no eggs, no butter, no refined sugar – and no heat (above 45°C). Impossible, you say? I don’t even know what that word means.

Step 1: research it, part 1. I researched lemons and their properties. Did you know:

  • aside from being high in fibre, the pith of the lemon is a good source of vitamin C?
  • the lemon oil in lemon zest (limonene) has anti-cancer properties?
  • the pith of the lemon holds most of the pectin content?

Step 2: prepare for it. I have been separating lemons into their zest (dehydrated then powdered), pith (dehydrated then powdered) and juice for a while now. Without really having a formula in mind, I still felt the need for more. So I made more. Lots more.

everything lemon

This is a glimpse of my workspace during the production process:

my workspace

Step 3: research it, part 2. I researched traditional curd recipes to give myself a decent benchmark, and I discovered the same basic ingredients featured (eggs, sugar, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, sometimes cream) in varying quantities.

In the end, I used the following recipes as comparatives:

I used these comparatives to get a sense of the fat : sugar : zestiness ratios, and I relied on my memory of fresh lemon curd to compare the look and mouthfeel.

Step 4: create it. So I conducted a few foodly experiments over the course of a couple of lazy 40°C afternoons.

I developed three different recipes that looked reasonable on paper, based on varying degrees of pith and kuzu.

I had decided that kuzu [= wild Japanese arrowroot] would be a good option for partial jellification after spying this video. And then, on experimenting with a little kuzu myself, I discovered that it would only gel after exposure to heat above 80°C, and not when brought into contact with an acid. This discounted it for my raw experiments, however its interesting properties and health benefits (especially for circulation and digestion) mean that I may use it for another purpose in the near future.

Now I’d like to tell you a little story about the three curds:

  • Option 1 was too fatty. It involved cacao butter and coconut oil as the fats – and I found that the cacao butter was too strong a flavour for my curd;
  • Option 2 was too…meh. It used the right ingredients in the wrong quantity; and
  • Option 3 tasted just right. We ate it all up.

On refrigeration, the preferred option was very clear; Option 3 was the only one that didn’t chill beyond stirability. The other two developed a hard layer across the top that could not be reincorporated until the overall mixture warmed.

Only after all of my dehydration efforts did I stop to think that dehydrating the key ingredients may deactivate the pectin by changing its structure too greatly via dehydration & pulverisation. [Are there any food technologists out there who can enlighten me?]

This led to Option 4: three lemons blended in my Thermomix with some water and agave syrup. It tasted too bitter and didn’t set. Such a shame.

Step 5: use it. The verdict? I came up with a great curd substitute but, for someone who had something of a lemon curd addiction in her early teens [thanks to a certain friend's mum & her famous lemon curd cake!], it did not have the same comfort factor that I remembered.

Option 3 was definitely the stand-out [closely followed by Option 1, as judged by two discerning adults and a 2-year old] – lots of zing, a decent texture and just enough sweetness – so I am sharing this recipe with you today.

Recipe #112: Lemon curdlike. Aka “I can’t believe it’s not lemon curd!”.

You will need:
► 65g coconut oil
► 100g lemon juice
► 1 tsp dehydrated lemon zest powder (= ~4 tsp fresh zest)
► 10 tsp dehydrated lemon pith powder
► 125g agave syrup
► 1 small pinch Himalayan crystal salt, pounded until fine [I used my mortar & pestle for this]
► ½ vanilla pod, seeds removed and used elsewhere, cut into pieces

Non Thermomix method:
1. If the coconut oil is solid, warm it over a double-boiler until it is liquid.
2. Whisk all ingredients until combined really well.

Thermomix method: Whiz all ingredients at 37°C and speed 2 for 2 minutes.

Then, for both methods:
1. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
2. Strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine chinois, pressing it through the mesh with a spatula and discarding the pieces of vanilla pod and whatever is leftover.
3. Chill for at least 2 hours – by placing the bowl of curd into a cold water bath, which is then placed in the fridge.

Serve in a generous smear on fresh bread, or pipe into raw almond petit four cases for a little class.

pretty little raw lemony petit fours

Or sprinkle with coconut chips & nutmeg over a “sand” of almond meal & coconut sugar if you like the look of my deconstructed lemon tart [by the way, it happens to be delicious!].

more deconstructed fabulousness

Enjoy!

H :)

mini lemon tarts


Addenda of 6 January 2011:
(1) I added a few more words to make it really clear that there is no cooking involved.
(2) Note that I powdered my Himalayan crystal salt in my mortar & pestle before using. No one wants to discover an undissolved salt crystal in their lemon tart!

4 January 2011 at 12:01am 23 comments


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