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Ingredients

    Lemon Curd
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon peel (without pith)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • Puff Pastry

  • 1 12-oz. package puff pastry (varies in quality—bake a test piece to see how it puffs)
  • 1 8.8-oz. container mascarpone cheese
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
  • Candied orange or lemon zest (optional; may be purchased or homemade, see
  • recipe below)
  • Candied Orange & Lemon Zest

  • 4 oranges or lemons
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. water

    Directions

    Lemon Curd
    Chef’s note: Sometimes called lemon butter or lemon jam, this lovely sauce keeps in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container. It can be mixed with whipped cream or mascarpone and used as a filling for a tart or baked puff pastry.

    Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan, starting with 3/4 cup sugar and adding more as needed depending on acidity of lemons (be sure sugar is dissolved if added after curd is cooked). Cook over low heat, stirring continually, until thick; take care not to boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Curd may be strained of egg lumps if overcooked.

    Puff Pastry
    Roll the puff pastry out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes—hearts, circles, squares, etc.—about three inches in diameter. (One of the best cutters is a pastry wheel.) Freeze shapes and puff pastry scraps, which may be used for decorations, up to three months ahead. Refrigerate or freeze what is not needed and save for another purpose.

    When ready to make, preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Arrange frozen pastries on baking sheet, adding a few more than the number of people to be served, enough for one or two per person. Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes.

    Remove from oven and cool briefly on rack. Meanwhile, mix lemon curd with mascarpone to taste, starting with one or two tablespoons and adding more as desired. When pastries are cool, split and fill with the lemon curd mixture. If pastry is too thin to split, sandwich two together with filling. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and top with candied orange or lemon zest.

    Candied Orange & Lemon Zest
    Peel zest from fruit and julienne, being careful not to include bitter white pith. Bring small saucepan of water to a boil. Add zest and boil for five minutes. Drain, refresh under cold running water, and drain again. In small saucepan over low heat, dissolve sugar in one tablespoon of water. Add zest and cook until translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use as garnish.

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