Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker's Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker’s Pantry

Spring is in the air…I can feel it.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  As I daydream out the window through the 30 degree bitter skies, I have desperate visions of it off in the distance.  I embrace each and every one of the seasons but am nevertheless always eager to transition to the next.  It has been dry, cold and barren in Denver now for over five long months and the warm Spring weather on the horizon teases us.  Even the bulbs are anxiously waiting as they sprout back to life eager for their offering to the season.  Inevitably, more snow will descend upon us covering the young flowering buds like a stifling blanket.  During this vacillating time, the weather imposes patience and fortitude onto us causing much time for daydreaming.  After all, the leafless trees allow you to see and dream quite far.  This daydreaming is what led me to this Spring-filled post; Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon curd.  Oh my.  It might not officially be Spring yet, but my taste buds are telling me otherwise!

Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker's Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker’s Pantry

Meyer lemons are a native fruit of China and are a perfect hybrid between a lemon and a mandarin.  This fruit exhibits itself in the shape of a lemon but tastes sweet like a mandarin.  Meyer lemons are seasonal typically from November through the end of March and admittedly can be difficult to find.  I have found that most Whole Foods Stores stock them.  If you can’t find them, you can always substitute either lemons or mandarins for this recipe.

Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker's Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker’s Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker's Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker’s Pantry

These scones are outrageously good!  Light, fluffy and biscuit-like in texture with a wonderful crunch on top from the turbinado sugar, these scones project just the right amount of sweetness.  The tart citrus notes are subtle and balance the sweetness perfectly.  Every now and then your taste buds receive a burst of amazingly sweet, tart chewiness from the candied lemon peel.  Don’t even get me started on the Meyer lemon curd…utterly ethereal.

Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker's Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker’s Pantry

My suggestion is to make the curd and candied peel a day in advance.  The scones come together quickly.  The scones can also be frozen before baking if you don’t want to bake the entire batch.  Simply place the wedges on a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour or so.  Then transfer the frozen scones to a freezer bag for longer storage.  When you’re ready to bake, remove the scones from the freezer, preheat your oven and bake the scones from frozen!  Just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.   This recipe requires some extra steps but I assure you it is well worth it!

Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker's Pantry
Meyer Lemon Scones with Meyer Lemon Curd | The Baker’s Pantry


Meyer Lemon Scones          {Print Recipe}

For the candied Meyer lemon peel:

4 Meyer lemons

¾ cup granulated sugar

Wash your lemons thoroughly.  Using a sharp knife, slice both ends off of the lemon.  Carefully cut off the peel in strips with a sharp knife or a peeler along the lemon and remove as much pith as possible.  Slice the peels into ¼ inch slices.

Place the peels in a heavy-bottomed pot and add just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil over high heat and boil the peels for 5 minutes.  Drain the peels, put back in the pot and cover with fresh cold water.  Bring to a boil and blanch again for 5 minutes.  Repeat this process for a total of 3 times.

In the same, but now empty saucepan, place the sugar and ½ cup of cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the peels and reduce the heat to low (you want to simmer them gently).  Simmer for about 20 minutes until they turn translucent.  Stir occasionally to make sure that they don’t burn.

Pour peels along with the syrup into an airtight glass container and store at room temperature.  You will use this entire batch for the scones.


For the lemon curd:

Yield: 2 ½ cups

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1 cup minus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

¾ cup freshly squeezed/strained Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

Fill a large bowl approximately halfway with ice and water and set aside.  Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water at least 2 inches, but not full enough to touch the underside of the top double boiler and bring to a boil.

Place the eggs, egg yolks and sugar into the top of the double boiler (off of the heat) and whisk until blended.  Add the lemon juice and mix well.  Reduce the heat to medium low until the water comes to a gentle boil.  Place the egg mixture over the water and heat, whisking constantly and scraping the edges frequently with a spatula (so that the eggs don’t scramble) until the curd is very thick, about 7-10 minutes.  The curd should coat the back of a spoon when ready or hold a distinct shape on the surface when the curd is lifted and falls back into the bowl.

Push the curd through a fine strainer with a spatula into a medium sized bowl.  Add the cold pieces of butter, letting it sit for a minute and then mix gently until combined.  Once all of the butter is melted and incorporated, place the medium sized bowl over the large bowl filled with ice water and let sit until the curd is completely cool.  Once cooled, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.


For the scones:

Yields: 16 scones

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and COLD

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk, divided

¼ cup grated Meyer lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)

½ cup diced candied Meyer lemon peel (see recipe above)

2 Tbsp turbinado or raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.

Add the cubed butter and with your fingertips and rub into the flour mixture until the butter is approximately pea sized.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, ¾ cup of the buttermilk and the zest.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently combine the dough with your fingertips.  Gently knead until the dough just comes together.  Add the candied lemon peel and knead to incorporate.  Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into two discs about 1 1/2“thick.  Try not to overwork the dough.

Cut each disk into 8 wedges and place onto the baking sheets spacing wedges about 2” apart.  Brush the remaining ¼ cup of buttermilk onto the tops of the scones and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar (be generous).  Bake scones for 25-30 minutes (rotating halfway through baking) or until they are golden brown.

Transfer the scones to a cooling rack.  They can be served warm or at room temperature and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for two days.

Recipe: Slightly adapted from Baked New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito



Homemade Donuts with Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce

Good Saturday Morning!

I was conversing with my Mom a couple of days ago and she was raving about her new kitchen wonder…a Fry Daddy.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, your world (and your waistline) is about to change forever as mine quickly did.  She was tantalizing me with all of the great things she’d successfully fried in it…fish, shrimp, chicken…the list went on and on.  While the above foods no doubt are divine dunked in a hot bath of oil, all I heard was donuts, donuts, donuts.  Donuts would be amazing after a nice swim in the Fry Daddy.  The seed had been planted at that moment and it’s grown into a full on obsession that I can’t shake…I must make donuts!

These delightful bites of fried dough, while quite indulgent, are worth both the effort and the calories.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s certainly much easier to stop by the donut shop and pick up a dozen, but there’s something added to the enjoyment when you know they’ve been made from scratch.

I know I know…donuts are not the healthiest of foods.  Delicious morsels of dough fried to perfection…shoveling them in because you can’t just eat one.  But don’t we all deserve a little guilty pleasure once in a while?  After all, life should be filled with small indulgences every now and then to get you through the day.  This is my philosophy when it comes to just about any sweet treat…dessert just makes people happy and trust me, these donuts will bring on some smiles.

Homemade Donuts          {Print Recipe}

Yield: 2 dozen

½ cup warm water

2 pkgs active dry yeast (not fast-rising)

1 ¼ cups plus ½ tsp granulated sugar

¾ cup whole milk

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet

1 ½ cups cake flour

1 Tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

4 large eggs

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, well softened

4-6 cups Canola oil, for frying

Spiced Sugar Blend

6 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cardamom

Place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it.  Make sure not to get the water too hot or the yeast won’t activate.  Add ½ tsp granulated sugar and stir to dissolve the yeast.  Set the bowl aside and allow the yeast to proof until foamy, about 4 minutes.  Place the milk in a small saucepan or a microwaveable container and heat until warm to the touch (about 20-30 seconds).

Place the all-purpose flour, cake flour, remaining 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in the bowl of an electric mixer and use the paddle attachment to combine them thoroughly.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the yeast mixture, warm milk and eggs.  Beat on medium until a smooth dough forms.  Beat in the butter, then add enough additional flour on low speed to make a smooth, soft and elastic dough.  Switch to medium speed and mix for 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn the dough into a bowl sprayed with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot (I used my oven with no heat).  Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough by pulling it from the sides of the bowl and turn it onto a floured surface.  Pat the dough into about a ½ thickness and cut circles with a plain-edged round cutter.  Place tem on a baking sheet dusted with flour and cover them with plastic wrap.  Allow them to proof while you heat the oil.

Heat about 4 to 6 cups of canola oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches about 350 degrees F.  Fry the donuts in batches in the hot oil keeping note of the oil’s temperature.  If you let the oil get too hot, the donuts will brown quickly on the outside, but not cook all the way on the inside.  Gently turn them until they are golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side (depending on the size).

Drain the donuts on a plate covered in paper towel and let cool slightly before rolling them in the Spiced Sugar mixture.  These donuts are ABSOLUTELY best when served warm, but they can be stored in an airtight container and reheated in the oven right before serving.

Florentine Doughnuts Recipe from Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, by Gina DePalma

Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce

Yield: 1 cup

6 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 Tbsp Nutella

Heat the heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan until just simmering.  Add the chocolate chips and the Nutella and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well incorporated.  Begin dunking.


Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs…where do I begin?  These are the most decadent of desserts to indulge in.  We had our neighbors over for a “French” inspired dinner and I felt compelled to challenge myself with my all-time favorite French dessert.  It turned out to be easier than expected, but the challenge came with several steps.  I originally decided to make Profiteroles which traditionally are Pate a Choux pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with a warm chocolate sauce…yum.  As amazing as those sounded, I just couldn’t get the thought of vanilla pastry cream out of my head!  In the end, I decided to fill the Pate a Choux with fresh vanilla pastry cream and drizzle homemade warm chocolate sauce over the top.  It was a cream puff meets a profiterole meets an éclair…oh my.  One of these decadent pastries is plenty to satisfy even the sweetest craving, BUT, who can eat just one?  With two under my belt in just one sitting, I am completely submerged into a blissful sugar coma.  I encourage you to try this recipe…there is a reason the French culture is so famous for their desserts.

Vanilla Pastry Cream:          {Print Recipe}

(recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

3 cups whole milk

½ cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup cornstarch

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

4 large egg yolks

¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter

Pate a Choux: 

(recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Barefoot in Paris)

1 cup whole milk

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

Pinch kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

Chocolate Sauce: 

(recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Barefoot in Paris)

½ cup heavy cream

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp prepared coffee

Preparing the Pastry Cream:

Yields: 3 cups

In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 ½ cups of the milk, the sugar and salt.  Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, flour and egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup milk.

Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolk mixture to temper them.  This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk.  Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve.  Stir in the butter and vanilla extract.

Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream, top with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream so it doesn’t develop a skin), then refrigerate until cool (At least 2 hours and up 5 days).


Preparing the Pate a Choux:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the milk, butter and salt over medium heat until scalded.  When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.  Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes.  The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan.  Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Pipe in mounds 1-½ inches wide and 1-inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  You should have about 18 puffs.  With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven (leaving the pastry in the oven) and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape.  Set aside to cool.

Once the Pate a Choux have completely cooled, spoon the pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Pipe the pastry cream into the small opening in the Pate a Choux until filled.  Keep the cream puffs refrigerated until ready to serve.

Preparing the Chocolate Sauce:

Place the cream and chocolate chips in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts.  Add the honey and coffee and stir until smooth.  Set aside.

To serve:

Drizzle the slightly warm chocolate sauce over the cold cream puffs or serve the chocolate sauce on the side…yum!!

Au Revoir!