Lemon, Honey and Thyme Curd
- 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup (80ml) runny honey
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup (125ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 50g butter, diced
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup (140g) fine brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup (50g) tapioca flour
- 1 cup (110g) ground almonds
- 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed blended unrefined raw sugar
- 200g butter, slightly softened
- Blended unrefined raw sugar or pure icing sugar to dust, optional
I once worked at a top-end catering company in Sydney where it was my job to make all the desserts and do all the baking. I had just left school and everything about the place filled me with much excitement. It was the first kitchen I worked in that had separate sections and being in charge of all things sweet meant that I could avoid working in the area I dreaded most (you got it: the meat section). It also meant that I fine-tuned my baking skills by pumping out tarts, pies, cakes and biscuits by the hundred every day.
These buttery almond shortbreads filled with honey-sweetened lemon curd are my version of a petit four I used to make by the tray full all those years ago. I like to use a floral but not too strongly flavoured honey, such as wildflower, red gum or yellow box here in Australia. Clover or rata would be my first choice of the NZ varieties.
You can prepare the shortbreads in advance and fill them before serving, which is always a bonus, I think.
To make the curd, whisk eggs and honey together. Add lemon zest and juice and whisk again.
Place butter and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat until butter has just melted but is not overly hot. Whisk in egg mixture and cook over low heat for 6–8 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Don’t let the mixture ever come near boiling point or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Alternatively, if this chef-style shortcut scares you, put all the curd ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until lovely and thick. Strain through a fine sieve, discarding zest and thyme. Transfer to a clean jar and cool before sealing and chilling in the fridge to firm up further.
To make shortbreads, place flours, ground almonds and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse a few times until a soft dough forms. Transfer to a lightly rice-floured bench, shape into a flat disc, wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 170°C (335°F). Grease 24 mini-muffin tins of 30ml capacity. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place one in each tin, without flattening. Bake for 12–15 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and, using the round handle of a wooden spoon or whisk, press down into the centre of each shortbread to form a little indent. Set aside to cool in the tins.
When cold, remove from tins (use the tip of a sharp knife inserted down one side of the shortbread to gently encourage it up and out of the tin. You may get a few breakages, but I just think of these as ‘chef testers’). Pipe or spoon a small amount of lemon curd into each one. Dust with raw sugar or icing sugar to serve.
Unfilled shortbreads will store, airtight, for up to 3 days and the curd will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Wine match, NV Equinox Late Harvest Riesling
Powerfully rich and weighty.
Lemon honey and thyme curd are the perfect accompaniment to the Equinox Late Harvest Riesling. Balanced acidity will refresh the palate, while fruit flavours linger.