|Meyer lemon shortbread bars with candied kumquats. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
This is an idea from David Tanis' marvelous cookbook, "Heart of the Artichoke and Other Culinary Journeys" (Artisan Books, 2010). Take a shortbread base, cover it with lemon curd, bake and top with candied kumquats. It's a sweet and citrus-y treat in the dead of winter. I used Meyer lemons because they're here (they're finally here!), but any lemon will do.
First, make the candied kumquats:
11 ounces kumquats
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1. Wash kumquats. Slice each fruit in half and flick out seed.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add water and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add kumquats and cook until the fruit is soft, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Let cool. Keep in airtight container in refrigerator.
Then the lemon curd:
Meyer lemon curd
2 1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1. Whisk the sugar with the cornstarch and lemon zest in a saucepan, until well mixed, then gradually whisk in the cold water and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat.
2. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl until smooth, then gradually whisk about 1/4 of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs. Whisk constantly to keep the mixture smooth. Add the warmed egg mixture slowly back to the saucepan with the remaining hot lemon mixture, still whisking constantly.
3. Cook mixture, whisking constantly, still over medium heat, until thick and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in the unsalted butter. Cool, then cover and chill thoroughly. Mixture can be held in the fridge for up to a week.
Then the shortbread base:
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
½ cup powder sugar (10X)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 325. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar, then add flours gradually. Add salt and vanilla.
2. Pat dough evenly into a 10-inch square pan, going slightly up the sides of the pan. Spread with a layer of lemon curd. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Top with candied kumquats.
Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer.