I have no physical proof that spring is here, other than my backyard is not covered in 6+ inches of snow and the date on the calendar changed from March 19th to March 20th. We’ve had a few ‘teaser’ days with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, then it’s been right back to cold and windy. I guess that’s why they say, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”
This dessert definitely feeds off my desire for spring-like weather! The lemon flavor is subtle, like a lamb. The layers of pastry and butter puff up to be light and airy, like a spring breeze. Since this dessert requires no fork, it can also be enjoyed just about anywhere, which means it’s perfect picnic food! We usually meet my husband for lunch a couple times a month in the spring and summer at the park across the street from his office. I think I’ll surprise him with these lemon straws for our first picnic of 2014! Just hoping it happens sooner, rather than later….come on, Mother Nature, give us some picnic weather, please!!!!
The base of this dessert is a delicious, homemade lemon curd. The ingredients are so simple, egg yolks, sugar, butter and lemon. That’s it! With a little elbow grease, you can transform them into a creamy lemon sauce perfect to fold into whipped cream, slather on a piece of toast or pound cake, layer in a trifle with berries and angel food cake, or make lemon straws! The lemon curd is brushed onto the puff pastry, cut into ribbons, twisted three times, and baked until golden brown. Perfect for a spring breakfast, brunch, dessert or midnight snack! Did I mention they are fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Enjoy! 🙂
Yields: 2 dozen straws
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for rolling out pastry
3 TBSP butter
Juice and zest of two lemons
1 pkg. (2 sheets) of puff pastry (I use the Pepperidge Farm brand)
Juice and zest two lemons. Set aside. Separate sheets of puff pastry and place on a plate on your counter to defrost while you make the lemon curd. Set a medium saucepan with 2 cups water on the stove to boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer. In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks, sugar and butter and place over the pan of simmering water to make a double boiler. Whisk constantly for 5 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken and turn a pale yellow. Add the lemon juice and whisk constantly for an additional 5 minutes. I told ya, LOTS of elbow grease, but TOTALLY worth it, you’ll see! 🙂 Add the lemon zest. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and place the mixing bowl in the bowl to make an ice bath. Continue whisking for 2 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. When you pull the spatula up, the lemon curd should fall back on itself in a ribbon. That’s when you know it’s done! 🙂
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle your board or counter with sugar. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and sprinkle with more sugar. Roll out dough to a 13 X 13 square. Press on the rolling pin as you roll out the dough to help the sugar adhere to the dough. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, spread half of the lemon curd on the dough, making sure to go all the way to the edges. Using a REALLY sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/2 inch ribbons. Twish each ribbon of dough 3 times, then place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat steps with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining lemon curd. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve at room temperature.