Originally I was going to make a lemon meringue pie, but then realized that a finger-food dessert would be better. And thus these tiny lemon curd pies were born … and devoured.
The beauty of this dessert is that if you have some pie dough in the freezer (I did) and lemon curd in the fridge (I didn’t … but I did have lemons, so I was able to whip it up), this dessert comes together very easily, which is key when you’re entertaining.
Tiny lemon curd pies
- Pie Crust Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (keep in freezer until ready to use)
- 2 1/2 tbsp, plus 1 to 2 tbsp whiskey (or use equal amount of ice water)
- Lemon Curd Ingredients
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the pie dough, pulse together flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Blend in butter by dropping a cube at a time into the food processer, just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.
Drizzle the whiskey over the mixture and pulse a few times until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more whiskey 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until just incorporated, then test again. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. With heel of your hand, smear the dough once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat.
Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one, and press into a ball.
Divide in half and form into 1 disks Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
In the meantime, make the lemon curd.
In a large metal mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and zest.
Whisk in the juice.
Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to make a bain marie and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl.
Stir the curd continually for 12-15 minutes until it reaches roughly 178-180 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.
Take the curd off the heat, and position a fine mesh sieve over a bowl.
Pour the curd through the sieve, using a flexible spatula to press it through, holding back the zest and any cooked egg. Discard.
Add the butter and stir until melted.
Let the curd cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. [Please note: this curd must be refrigerated ... it is not shelf stable].
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and center your oven rack.
When you're ready to bake the tiny crusts, remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 20-24 portions (mine came out to approximately 1/2 ounce each). Roll into a ball.
Grease a mini-cupcake pan and place each of the dough balls inside. Gently flatten each ball down into the base of the cup, then spread up, shaping the dough to fit each indent.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. The mini pie crusts will puff up a bit, but that's ok.
Remove the pan and place on a cooling rack. While the crust is still hot, us a melon baller, back of a spoon, or another utensil (Not your fingers! It's too hot!) to gently press the crust back down.
Let cool for 15-20 minutes before removing the tiny pie crusts from the pan and placing on your serving dish. Cool fully before adding a tablespoon of lemon curd to each pie crust.
Serve at room temperature and seal up any extras in an airtight container.