I discovered that I don’t bake much in the first trimester of pregnancy. In fact, I don’t do much of anything but try to eat enough protein frequently enough to keep my body from deciding that since I thought I could go for five minutes over the limit without eating, I would just have to suffer the miseries of nausea until I finally lost the food (that I dutifully ate anyway). Suddenly, I didn’t like food. Food was gross. In fact, I remarked on this new-found truth multiple times a day, especially when I had to eat it or (far worse) prepare it and THEN eat it. *shudder* BUT! Good news! I like food again! And I have energy to cook and bake again! This miraculous development may not last for long, but I’m loving it while it does last. Which brings me to my subject for today. For the last several years, I’ve gotten up early on Easter Sunday (well, last year, not so early) and put together a big blueberry lemon curd pastry to serve hot with breakfast. This year, however, we’ll be in a bit of a hurry Easter morning, and my body doesn’t believe in getting up at five to bake. No, sirree. At five, I’m dreaming about innovative new ways to surf (in the ocean AND in snow…really, though, I think it was a dangerous idea, and I’m lucky to have made it out of that dream alive). So this year, I’m taking my pastry to our late night Easter feast. I wanted to make individual pastries to make them easier to serve, so first I tried just making foldover pastries.
You see that? It’s stained purple because of the blueberries, but it’s actually screaming “LEMON!” I’m not a big fan of screaming, except when it comes to lemon curd. If you haven’t had lemon curd before, you really should. Even if you don’t want to stick it in pastry. It’s good on scones, English muffins, toast, fingers…
Blueberry Lemon Curd Pastry
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes 32 pastries
Lemon Curd (a.k.a. Edible Sunshine)
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest (or lemon extract, if you don’t have fresh lemons on hand)
1 stick butter, cut into narrow slices
Whisk together all ingredients except butter in bowl of double boiler (if you’re a normal person like me and don’t have a double boiler, you can use a mixing bowl and saucepan; you’ll need to make sure the bowl fits (is big enough to rest against the edge but not so big that it can’t reach the water) and you don’t put so much water in the pan that the bowl bobs up and down). Place the bowl in a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides, until the curd starts to thicken, about ten minutes. Add the slices of butter and continue to stir until it is completely melted and the curd is quite thick and smooth. Place in a container and press plastic wrap against it; refrigerate until needed. (Seriously. If you don’t taste it before you put it in the fridge, something’s wrong with you).
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup melted butter or oil (I use oil, but it makes the dough a little harder to manage)
3 3/4 cups flour
Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon; cover lightly and let rise for two hours. Refrigerate until needed, at least two hours or up to five days.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Dust the surface of your dough heavily with flour and pull out one fourth of it. The dough is very moist and sticky, so you will need plenty of flour for your work surface, the dough, and your hands. Knead the chunk of dough just enough times to give you the ability to shape it into a circle or a square; divide into eight equal pieces. Working with floured hands or on a floured surface, roll each piece into a 1/4-1/2 inch wide rope. Beginning at the centre, twist the rope into a coil, tucking the end underneath and pinching it to hold it together.
Repeat for remaining dough; arrange coils on the prepared baking sheets. Let rise for half an hour. Preheat oven to 375*F. Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water and brush lightly onto pastries. Using three fingers, make a deep indentation in the centre of each coil.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
And, because I was too creative and caffeinated to have just one project going, I made twice baked potatoes for lunch.