The golden rays of the sun can be impish and playful. They find their way through the tiny hairline cracks in the walls, and beckon me into the fresh air where the fullness of their glorious light can envelope me, warm me, purify me. A step taken outside and these little rays reach down out of the sky and touch me on the head, tussling my hair, seeping deep down penetrating my thoughts, imploring me to take a walk and spend some time in the quiet, thinking. Reflecting. The golden colors of clear days are the perfect hues for daydreaming. Appreciation for the sun’s light and all that it does to keep me growing, sprouting, and reaching for it, fills my lungs with a deep breath of joy for another day to be able to enjoy God’s glorious work in my life.
I’ve wondered what it would taste like to eat light out of a glass. Would the golden-yellow sharpness be tangy and sweet? Would it float gently on my tongue? I imagine that it would. It would invigorate and refresh, cleanse and uplift; its taste would hint at the flavor of fresh, tart lemons—those luscious little orbs that are the prefect representation of that very light, and divinely delicious.
Light supports life. It inspires movement. It inspires change. In the light, truth about all things is revealed, and standing in it can be extremely vulnerable, yet healing, too. I’ve wanted to capture the light, if only for a fleeting moment, in my glass, and enjoy it by the spoonful; to let it linger on my palette for a moment before it disperses into so very many fragments. And once it escapes from my glass, then it’s gone. Only it’s tart, sweetness remains, like a memory, on my tongue.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Lemon “Pucker Up” Parfaits with Vanilla-Bean Cream
(Serves 4 when using 4, 10 ounce glasses filled ¾ of the way up)
• Fresh Lemon Curd (recipe below
• Vanilla Bean Cream (recipe below)
16 butter shortbread cookies, crushed chunky (I used “Walker’s” brand in the plaid box)
• Lemon zest curls, for garnish
4 Lemon-flavored Rolled Wafer Cookies, for garnish
-Begin by adding your prepared and chilled Lemon Curd to a piping bag (or large zip lock bag with the bottom corner cut off), and do the same with your prepared and chilled Vanilla Bean Cream; have the two piping bags ready, along with the crushed cookies.
-Place all 4 of your glasses in front of you, and add 2 crushed shortbread cookies to the bottom of each; next, pipe into the glass over the shortbread cookies a layer of the lemon curd, about 3 tablespoons worth, starting in the center and working towards the sides of the glass; smooth the curd out gently with a small spoon to bring the curd to the edges; next over top of the lemon curd, pipe in a layer of the vanilla bean cream, about 3-4 tablespoons worth, again starting in the center and working towards the sides of the glass; smooth the vanilla cream out gently with another small spoon to once again bring the cream to the edges; next, repeat the layers once more beginning again with the cookies, next the lemon curd, and finally finishing with the vanilla bean cream, filling the glasses about ¾ of the way up, leaving a bit of room at the top of the glass; finish with a sprinkle of the lemon zest and with a lemon-flavored rolled wafer cookie for garnish; serve immediately while cold, or place into the fridge to hold cold until ready to serve.
Fresh Lemon Curd ingredients: (yields about 1 ½ cup curd)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon lemon zest
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
– In a medium glass or steel bowl, add the sugar and the zest, and incorporate the two well with your fingers; next, add the whole eggs and the yolks, and then the lemon juice, and gently combine with a whisk, just until the sugar is dissolved (be careful not to whisk too hard as you don’t want to incorporate air into the mixture).
– Next, set the bowl with the lemon curd mixture over a pot of gently simmering water (double-boiler method), making sure that the bowl is not actually touching the simmering water; using a rubber spatula, continuously and gently stir the lemon curd mixture (it will be quite thin at this point) making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl for even cooking and to avoid “scrambling” the eggs; cook for roughly 6-8 minutes or until the curd mixture thickens and has a ‘pudding’ consistency; next, remove the bowl from the pot of simmering water and wipe the condensation off of the bowl with a towel.
– Strain the curd into a clean bowl and cover top with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming; place into refrigerator to completely chill until ready to assemble the parfaits. (*For quicker cooling, you can strain the cooked curd into a bowl set into a larger bowl filled with ice, just be sure that it’s set securely in the ice and won’t slide around, spilling the curd out; stir with a clean spatula for a few minutes, then once cooled, set plastic wrap over the curd and place into fridge to keep cold.)
Vanilla-Bean Cream ingredients:
1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek-style yogurt, cold
1 vanilla-bean pod, cut length-wise and scraped for paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
8 ounces cold whipping cream, cold
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
-In a medium bowl, add the yogurt and the paste from the scraped vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract), and gently blend with a spatula; set aside for a moment while you whip the cream.
-In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk (or using a hand-held mixer and a separate bowl), whip the whipping cream until slightly thickened, add the sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
-Combine the vanilla/yogurt mixture with the sweetened whipped cream by adding the whipped cream into the yogurt-vanilla base in increments, folding each increment gently in with the spatula to create a light, fluffy cream; cover the vanilla-bean cream with plastic wrap and place into the fridge to keep cold until ready to assemble the parfaits.