Last night, Ryan and I made a trip to the grocery store. As we parked our car and walked towards the entrance, I was transfixed by a huge flock of blackbirds, squawking as they departed and landed on parking lot trees.
Under the glow of artificial light, these birds made their presence known. Children pointed up towards the sky as their parents wheeled them out of the store. Old women carefully avoided walking under any bird-heavy tree. And as Ryan picked out a bag of grapefruits from an outside bin, I stood in the middle of the madness and thought about my day.
I thought about the phone conversation I had with my sister--how we laughed about and then mourned the absurdity of life.
I thought about the steaming bowl of cabbage soup that had nourished my cold-weakened body....I remembered the toasted cheese and hummus sandwich that had satisfied my stomach.
I thought about the record I listened to as I had cleaned our house--and the peace that sometimes settles when you perform the most repetitive tasks.
And I thought about how Ryan and I sat together on our couch. Just the two of us as the sun set and our living room grew dark.
What a great day, I said, as more birds settled in for their evening concert. If my life can be composed of days like this...I will be a woman truly blessed.
A simple butter pastry houses a sweet and vibrant lemon curd.
With your first bite, the flaky crust and then the smooth lemon melts on your tongue.
"Ah...", we all sighed as we ate one after the next.
I made these in honor of my mother, who loves lemon pies. We were able to share them with her a few weeks ago, and I hope that this post tempts her to come back to Austin in the very near future.
I used the same method to make these tiny tarts as I did with my chocolate pudding post. I would love to open a pie shop that specializes in these petite treats!
I would love to hear your suggestion for another flavor....I'll pick my favorite by the end of the weekend and make your tarts the following week.
1. To assemble tarts, spoon warm lemon curd into cooled and baked pastry shells. Cover each tart with a small piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool. Dust with powdered sugar once ready to serve.
*From Alton Brown
5 egg yolks
1 cup of sugar
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
1/2 cup of butter, (1 stick) cut into 12 small pieces
1. Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
2. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth.
3. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
4. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter, one piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next.
*makes 9 mini pastry cups
3 TBSP ice water, plus extra as needed
1.5 TBSP sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and frozen for 10 min
1. Mix 3 TBSP of ice water with sour cream together until combined. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. Scatter the butter pieces on top and process the mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until the butter is the size of large peas.
2. Pour half of the sour-cream/water mixture over the flour mixture and stir until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture. If the dough doesn't hold together when pinched, sprinkle 1 to 2 TBSP more ice water over the mixture.
3. Flatten the dough into a 4 inch disk, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough outward from its center into a 12-inch circle. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out 9 circles of pastry dough. Carefully place each circle of dough into a muffin tin. Gently press dough into the bottom and sides of each tin. Prick dough with fork.
5. Line each prepared muffin tin with a small piece of foil. Place pie weights or dried beans in the center. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and beans and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores