Quick Bites from Pender

Lemon Drops

In Lessons From Cooking School, Recipes on May 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm


This recipe draws upon techniques I learned at not 1, not 2, but 3 professional culinary schools.  That’s 6 1/2 months of instruction from professional chefs, bakers and pastry chefs — nine hundred and thirty-eight hours of training to be exact.

Better not dwell on that though.  Howard will inevitably begin to add up the tuition in his head — which would normally be ok on its own, but as you’re about to see, this recipe contains 7 egg yolks, almost a cup of butter, and a whole lot of sugar.

After the number of these little cutie pies we scarfed back, it’s best not to put any more stress on his heart.

A bite-sized version of a lemon meringue tart with 3 separate components.

These are quite a bit of work — a 2 day project once you let the dough rest overnight — but they are worth the effort for a special occasion:  baby showers, engagement parties, Sunday brunches, summer picnics, book club meetings, ladies luncheons, you get the idea.


  1. The sable breton is a sweet tart dough enriched with lots of egg yolks and butter.  It’s tender yet crisp texture  holds up nicely under the weight of the curd and meringue.  This is the first recipe I’ve shared with you from my recent week at the San Francisco Baking Institute.
  2. The lemon curd is also rich with egg yolks, but without tasting “eggy.”  The recipe comes from my Culinary Skills Instructor at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Chef P.  He worked as a child in the 3 Parisian bakeries his father owned, so, although not a pastry chef himself, I tend to trust his take on desserts.
  3. The meringue is a basic 1 part sugar/1 part egg white mixture I  learned while doing one of a few weekend workshops I’ve attended at Northwest Culinary Academy in Vancouver.

A bit extreme on the learning for some, especially just to make a cookie — but it took me almost 20 years to follow my culinary dreams, and I’m goin’ for broke.

Lemon Drops

Yield:  approx (48) 1.5” cookies

Sablé Breton Crust

Pastry Flour 235 g 8.5 oz
Baking Powder 20 g .75 oz
Fleur de Sel or Table Salt 2 g Pinch
Unsalted Butter, soft 175 g 6.25 oz
Granulated Sugar 165 g 5.75 oz
Egg Yolks (approx 4 large) 70 g 2.5 oz

g=grams       oz=ounces (weight)

Combine the flour, baking powder and fleur de sel.  Set aside.

Mix the butter and sugar in a mixer on low speed with a paddle attachment.  Cream together well, but do not incorporate air into the mixture.

With the machine on low, add the yolks one at a time.  Add the flour in 2 stages, and mix on low until just incorporated.

Divide into 2 equal pieces, and form into 1” thick discs.  Wrap well and chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Dough will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Remove the dough from fridge about 10 minutes before you roll it out.  If storing it in the freezer, it is best to move the dough to the fridge the night before using.

To roll:  Remove one dough disc from the fridge and roll out to 6 mm (1/4”) thick.  Working quickly, so the dough doesn’t get to warm and fragile, use a small fluted cutter to cut out cookies, and transfer them to a parchment or Silpat lined baking tray.  Leave 2.5 cm (1”) between cookies to allow for spread during baking.

Once the tray is full, chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the cookies to firm up.  Roll out, cut and chill the other disc of dough as above.

Adjust the oven racks to the middle positions and preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C).

Bake the cookies until deep golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Turn and rotate the pans after 10 minutes, then watch carefully after that.  Remove from the oven, cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Use immediately, or store in an air-tight tin on the counter for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

yolks lemon-curd-butter

sable-breton-dough sable-breton-cutouts

Lemon Curd

Granulated Sugar 180 g 6.5 oz
Cornstarch 28 g 1 oz
Salt pinch
Cold Water 225 g 8 oz
Egg Yolks 3
Lemon Juice 80 g 2.75 oz
Lemon Zest 1 lemon
Unsalted Butter, cold 20 g .75 oz

g=grams       oz=ounces (weight)

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water in a small stainless steel saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the mixture is thick and clear.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the eggs.  Return to the heat and stir until thick and smooth.  Stir in lemon juice and zest.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter to melt.  Cool completely, cover and refrigerate until firm.

Spoon or pipe dollops of curd onto the cookies.  Refrigerate while making the meringue.

Curd can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.  I have read that lemon curd can be frozen, but I have yet to try it myself.  Anyone out there who can tell us?

whisk piping-bag

lemon-curd-cookie meringue


Egg Whites 125 g 4.5 oz
Granulated Sugar 125 g 4.5 oz

g=grams       oz=ounces (weight)

Whip egg whites to soft peaks in a mixer on high with a whisk attachment.  With machine running, gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Move oven rack to top position and preheat the Broiler.

Spoon or pipe dollops of meringue on top of the lemon curd.  Broil until golden, about 2 minutes – watch them closely.

Cool, dust with icing sugar  and serve.

Note:  These are best served within a few hours of broiling the meringue.  As the meringue is not cooked through, and as a food safety precaution, store in the fridge until ready to eat.


  1. I love the last sentence of your post. 😉 Plus, these are absolutely adorable.

  2. They’re absolutely delightful!

  3. Wow, they look yummy!

  4. Hi, Theresa. I enjoyed this post, as well as the “fancy pants assonance” of the last one (if not your mother, wherever did you get that??). Do you get the shrimp boat from Prince Rupert, too? They’re peddling the side-stripe prawns these days, which do remind me of Xmas and candy canes….Dan

    • Dan,

      Haven’t seen any side stripe prawns yet this year…variety is always good! As for my fancy assonance, I’m proud to say I came up with it on my own — took me the greater part of the afternoon, mind you…

  5. Nice use of the Sable Breton, those look delicous! You’ve got mad piping skillz!

    • Thanks! I`m making about 100 of these for our Farmer`s Market this Saturday — they`re going to be even smaller than these…wish me luck.

  6. Your lemon drops look amazing, and I think i’ll give them a try, since i have a party i need to cook something for this week. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. These are beautiful — wonderful presentation and great photos too. thank you for posting the recipe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: