Monday, 27 April 2015

Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with Lemon Curd

Yes… I AM shamelessly posting yet another lemon recipe, but these are such delicious biscuits, that I find it impossible not to publish it! The truth is that I always have a stock of lemons available in my kitchen as I use them extensively in my cooking and baking in both sweet and in savoury dishes. Without a doubt I have a lemon addiction, but all things considered, there are worse things than this.

I regularly make my own homemade lemon curd and use it as a filling for various cakes, pastries and other baked goods that I make. I love it dolloped on freshly baked scones or spread on slices of soft white bread. I could quite happily eat it straight from the jar with a teaspoon and will admit to being the reprehensible kind of person who often does exactly that!!! I just love it! It also makes a wonderful filling for these biscuits which if you are a fan of lemon, you will love.
 
These shortbread-like biscuits have the most wonderful texture; at first bite, they are firm, but upon eating they just melt in the mouth. The biscuit dough is lightly flavoured with some finely grated lemon zest, and then the biscuits are sandwiched together with the aforementioned lemon curd and finished off with a light drizzle of lemon glacé icing. These biscuits are definitely a lemon lover’s dream!
 
As the dough contains quite a large proportion of butter, it is soft and a little tricky to work with. It is imperative that you chill it for at least an hour before attempting to roll it out. I find it easier to roll the dough to the correct thickness between two sheets of very lightly floured non-stick baking parchment and then transfer the stamped out biscuits to the prepared baking trays using a palette knife.
 
I used a large heart-shaped cookie cutter, but you can use whatever shape you like, but be aware that smaller biscuits may require less baking time, so keep an eye on them. I also stamped out a circle from half of the biscuits which I used as the ‘top’ biscuit in each sandwiched pair. Again, you don’t have to do this, but I think it’s nice to reveal a little of the filling on each finished biscuit.
 
These are fun biscuits, and other than the dough being a little sticky to work with, relatively simple to make. Whenever I make them, they tend to be snapped up in no time at all and I am regularly asked to make them for cake sales etc.
 

Ingredients:

225g butter, softened
125g icing sugar
1 large lemon, finely grated zest
2 large egg yolks
300g plain flour
To sandwich the biscuits together:
115g lemon curd (see recipe here) or use a good quality store-bought version
To finish:
100g icing sugar
Juice of ½ lemon

Method:

1. Place the butter, icing sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, cream together until light a fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix again, until fully incorporated. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, work into the other ingredients to form a dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to bring together into a ball (the dough will be quite soft, but try to resist the urge to add more flour). Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Line two or three large baking trays with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
4. Roll the dough out thinly to a thickness of about 5mm between two sheets of lightly floured non-stick baking parchment. Use a large (about 10cms wide at widest point) heart-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out individual biscuits. Stamp out a small circle (about 2cms in diameter) from the centre of half of the heart shaped biscuits. Using a palette knife, carefully lift the stamped out biscuits onto the prepared baking trays, leaving about 2cms between each as they will spread a little as they bake.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes or until just beginning to colour at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To finish:
6. Place the icing sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl and mix together to form a smooth, but slightly runny glacé icing. Place the icing into a disposable piping bag and snip the very end of the tip off to create a small hole. Pipe lines of the icing over the biscuits with the cut-out centres and allow to set.
7. Put a dollop (about 1tsp) of lemon curd in the centre of the underside of the un-iced biscuits (i.e. the side that was against the baking parchment when they were baking) and spread out a little before sandwiching together with one of the iced top biscuits.

Make 14-16 large sandwiched biscuits.