Lemon Puff Pastry

In the spirit of bookclub culinary adventures, I dipped my toe into the uncharted waters of Martha Stewart cooking. There was more trepidation than usual, and her definition of “easy” is still a few too many steps for me. But in the end, it was a success! Adapted from her Meyer Lemon Pastry recipe, here’s my (simplified) version that was the perfect way to round out a tasty picnic at Breaux Vineyards.

7 lemons (I used regular, though Martha recommends Meyer lemons)
1 thawed puff pastry sheet
2 cups water
1.5 cups granulated sugar (divided)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Flour for rolling
Parchment paper

1. Bring water and 1 cup granulated sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

2. Cut out a circle of parchment that fits inside the saucepan. Add lemons to sugar water, and lay the parchment circle on top of the lemons. Simmer gently until lemons are soft and translucent, about 1 1/2 hours. At this point I let my lemons cool, then refrigerated them for 36 hours. They can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in the sugar syrup.

3. Remove lemons from syrup, and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Reserve remaining syrup in pan.

4. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 11-by-14-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. Lightly press a 1-inch border around edges using a fork. Brush entire surface of dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar (more or less). Bake for ~ 20 minutes.

5. With an immersion blender or mixer, whisk the cream, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 – 1/2 cup of reserved syrup until soft peaks form.

6. Lay lemon slices on top of baked puff pastry, top with whipped lemon cream and serve. I would suggest pairing it with Breaux’s 2011 Jolie Blond for a crisp flavor punch.

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