Monday, March 26, 2012

Meyer Lemon Curd Brioche Crescents ...inspired by Last Holiday for Food 'n Flix

Possibilities.  Life is full of full of them.

I recently watched the film Last Holiday for Food 'n Flix (chosen by our host this month, Leslie).  I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before.  And actually I couldn't even recall seeing any trailers or previews or commercials for it.  It may sound like a "holiday" film - but holiday is used in the broadest sense.  Or maybe the British sense.  As in "going on holiday".  That would be vacation for us Americans.  Which leads me to believe that nobody who works in my public library system has actually seen this film that they have on their shelves.  Because I found it in with the Christmas movies.  It is NOT a Christmas movie.  Okay.  Anyway.
This is the story of Georgia Byrd.  Quiet.  Kind.  And full of dreams...of possibilities.  Georgia loves to cook all sorts of meals rich with butter and spice and eggs and calories.  But she doesn't eat them.  She feeds them to her neighbors and friends.  Georgia loves to dream of marrying the handsome co-worker that she has a mad crush on.  Georgia loves to imagine herself traveling the world, exploring new places, and trying exciting and daring things.  But she diligently goes to work, sings in the church choir, fancies her crush from afar, eats her Lean Cuisine, and saves her money like a good, responsible woman should.

Until, that is, one day when she is diagnosed with the incurable Lampington's Disease.  And given just a few weeks to live.   "You wait and you wait for something big to happen, and then you find out you're going to die."   So she pages through her Book of Possibilities saying "I should have eaten that" and deciding to cash in her IRA, stocks, bonds, and all of those responsible things - and go on her last holiday.
I've set the scene but I don't want to spoil the fun, so I'll leave you with that...and the temptation of many scenes laden with mouthwatering food, kitchen, and eating scenes to come.  Not to mention humor and maybe a tear or two (if you're me) brought to you by a fabulous cast that includes Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, and Gérard Depardieu as the fabulous Chef Didier.

So in the spirit of turning possibilities into realities...and living like you were dying...and not being so afraid of living...I bring you wonderfully butter and egg laden goodies.  Brioche and Meyer Lemon Curd.  Together.  Or separate.  Just enjoy them.

Meyer Lemon Curd Brioche Crescents

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: overnight
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Keywords: bake simmer breakfast bread condiment butter eggs Meyer Lemons

Ingredients (16 crescents or 2 loaves of brioche & 1½ c. curd)
    for Brioche Crescents:
    • 1 c. whole milk, lukewarm (110°-115° F)
    • ¼ c. sugar
    • ~5½ c. bread flour (scooped & leveled)
    • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temp.
    • 1 Tbs. rapid rise yeast
    • 1½ tsp. salt
    • 12 oz. (1½ c./3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
    • ~1¼ c. meyer lemon curd (or any type of citrus curd)
    • 1 large egg, beaten w/ 1 tsp. water (egg wash)
    • powdered sugar, for sprinkling
    for Meyer Lemon Curd:
    • ½ c. freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon juice (from ~3 meyer lemons)
    • ⅓ c. sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • couple pinches of salt
    • 4 oz. (½ c./1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    Instructions
    Brioche Crescents
    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine milk , sugar, and 1 cup of the flour. Add eggs and until mixed well. Add instant yeast and another cup of flour and mix until well combined. Add salt and remaining flour about a ½ cup or so at a time, until the dough comes together but is still fairly sticky. Let the machine knead it at medium speed for a few minutes.

    Add ⅓ of the butter at a time, waiting until well blended before adding the next addition. At this point the dough should be soft and supple like a buttery pillow.

    Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

    When you're ready to roll out the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut in half and set one half aside. You can wrap and put that half back into fridge if you want to bake one tray at a time.
    Roll dough out into a circle that is ~15" wide. Cut into 8 equal wedges (use a bench cutter or pizza cutter).

    Add one Tbs. of Meyer Lemon Curd to the base of each triangle. Starting from that base, roll each triangle of dough and form into a crescent shape. Pinch ends to seal.

    Place on a parchment lined sheet tray. Repeat with other half of dough (or do it later if you have a small oven). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for ~45 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 350° F during last 15 minutes of rise time. Brush each crescent with egg wash. Slide tray(s) into oven and bake for ~20 minutes.

    Transfer to wire racks to cool. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

    Meyer Lemon Curd (yield: ~1½ c.)
    Whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs, yolks, and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (napé).

    Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the butter.

    If you see any cooked bits of egg in the curd, set a strainer over a bowl and use a rubber spatula/scraper to push the mixture through. Transfer to a jar or other airtight container and refrigerate until chilled. Will last for up to 4 days in fridge.

    notes:
    You could also use the Meyer Lemon Curd to fill doughnuts, layer cakes, cupcakes, or crepes...spread on scones, toast, biscuits, or pancakes...stir into Greek yogurt or frozen yogurt...or simply eat it from a spoon. It's that good.

    If you like, you can use this dough to make 2 loaves of brioche (or make rolls). To make loaves, once you've divided dough in half, divide each half into 6 pieces. Form each into a round and place in a lightly greased loaf pan. Repeat with other six in separate loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. Brush w/ egg wash. Bake for ~45 minutes or until beautifully golden.

    I've tried many different Brioche recipes in my day. THIS one is my favorite so far.

    *Meyer Lemon Curd adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook and Brioche Crescents inspired by The Knead for Bread
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    Oh, and I just had to add this gratuitous kitty-in-the-sunlight shot.  It makes me happy.  Reality.
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