Pack a picnic and take your parties outside! Authors and food writers Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson believe picnicking is an effortless way to entertain. In their recent book, The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket (Artisan, 2015), the offer dozens of creative dishes, shopping guides and advice for the novice picnicker. Try the following Lavender-Lemon Cream Pots for your next al fresco dining occasion.
Besides being the cutest thing since Bernese mountain dog puppies, these jars of buttery lemon curd are the ideal size for a single dessert portion, and they travel like a pro. When you arrive, top the lemon pots with freshly whipped lavender-infused cream and a flower petal.
• 3 large eggs, at room temperature
• 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
• 2⁄3 cup plus 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 1⁄2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)
• 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
• 4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
• 3 fresh lavender buds or 1⁄4 teaspoon dried lavender
• 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
• 6 small rose petals or other edible flowers (optional)
In the Basket:
• Whipped cream
• Quenelle spoons
• Edible flowers
1. Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, the 2⁄3 cup sugar, and the lemon zest in a large metal bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice. Place the bowl over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly but slowly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of sour cream, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Strain the lemon curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Ladle it into 4-ounce glass canning jars with lids, distributing evenly and leaving at least 1⁄2 inch headspace. Tap each jar gently on the counter to distribute the curd evenly and smooth the tops. Wipe the rims clean, seal the jars, and refrigerate until the lemon curd is thickened and completely cold, about 4 hours. The lemon pots can be made up to 3 days before the picnic.
4. Meanwhile, add the lavender to the cream and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to infuse. Strain and discard the lavender and refrigerate the cream until needed.
5. Just before leaving for the picnic, pour the cold lavender-infused cream and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of sugar in a large metal bowl and whisk briskly until soft peaks form (when the whisk is drawn from the cream, a peak forms and curls over). Put the softly whipped cream into a sealable container to transport to the picnic.
6. To serve, use two small spoons to make oval-shaped dollops (quenelles) of whipped cream and place one atop each lemon pot. Garnish with the petals, if using. Makes 6.
Tiny Tip: Leftover curd? Spoon it over scones, pound cake, warm biscuits, or pancakes, roll it into crepes, or fold it into Chantilly Whipped Cream for an easy lemon mousse.
Enjoy more herbal desserts with The Picnic’s Blueberry Cardamom Crisp Recipe.
Excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.