Owner and Executive Chef Dennis Chan
Sauces can differentiate desserts as well as savory dishes. Chef-owner Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo in Jacksonville, Fla., won an honorable mention in the dessert category for this recipe after competing in a contest that celebrates independent neighborhood restaurants. This single-serve, handheld version of a classic pecan pie features an accompaniment of a creamy lemon schmear as a unique dessert pairing.
Creamy Lemon Schmear
3 cups heavy cream, divided
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup corn starch
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. salted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
2 puff pastry dough sheets
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1. For creamy lemon schmear: In medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup heavy cream, 5 egg yolks and 1/3 cup corn starch; set aside.
2. In 4-quart saucepan, stir together remaining 2 cups heavy cream, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Slowly add egg mixture to hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Pour into bowl and cool for 15 minutes. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
3. For pecan pie: In 2-quart saucepan, whisk 3/4 cup heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons corn starch, 2 egg yolks and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Stir in pecans and cool pecan pie filling at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. To assemble, thaw puff pastry at room temperature until pliable but still cold, approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
5. Roll out each sheet on lightly floured surface to 12x16-inch rectangles. Cut each sheet into 12 (4-inch) squares.
6. Place 1 heaping scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) pecan pie filling onto center of each puff pastry square.
Brush edges of each square with beaten egg. Fold opposite corners together to create a triangle. Dip fork in flour; press triangles firmly along edges to seal.
7. Preheat conventional oven to 350 F. Place pies in 3 x 4 pattern on parchment-lined full sheet pans. Brush tops with remaining beaten egg.
8. Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or in convection oven at 400 F for 14 to 17 minutes. Rotate pan baked in convection oven one-half turn after 7 minutes of baking.
9. To serve, sprinkle each hand pie with powdered sugar. Serve with creamy lemon schmear sprinkled with lemon zest.