Posts tagged lemon

meyer lemon sherbet

I remember the first time I ever saw a Meyer lemon.  It was six or eight years ago now, and the tiny bowl of lemons was just sitting there on top of a big display of citrus fruits.  I was attracted to them by the deeper yellow color, almost orange, and the smooth skin.  Picking one up, I noticed immediately how fragrant and floral they were.  This year, I was lucky enough to get a nice bag full from an acquaintance who has a Meyer lemon tree, and needed to figure out what to do with them all.  Some I knew would be destined for a marmalade, but it was hot this past spring, and I needed something that would cool us down.

Having never made sherbet, I was surprised at how easy it was.  Because I’ve been focusing on lower-fat ice creams or sorbets, I had forgotten how very soft heavy cream keeps frozen desserts even after days or weeks in the freezer.  This particular recipe is very intensely lemony and sour.  You can decrease the ratio of lemon juice to other ingredients if you desire a more delicately-flavored sherbet.

Meyer Lemon Sherbet (makes about 1 qt.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 8 Meyer lemons)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, water, and sugar.  Heat over medium until sugar has completely dissolved.  Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cold.
  2. Combine lemon juice mixture and cream thoroughly, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

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ridiculousy easy meyer lemon marmalade

The past few months have been for me an experiment on change and perseverance.  I’ve tried to learn when to let things go, and when to fight for what I need.  I’ve faced having to give up a job I really enjoyed for one that would make more money, and deciding how to let go of that job for what could be “the” career opportunity I’ve really never quite had.  I’ve faced almost getting kicked out of a school program, but ultimately passing classes by studying more than I ever have before in my life (except for taking the GRE – whew!).  I’ve experienced minor but persistent illness, periods of utter despondency and repeated loss of motivation.

Through this, I’ve relied a lot on my husband of six months (as of Saturday), with whom I’ve now spent four years of my life with.  It also helped to have the love and advice of two wonderful parents, the best kid brother anyone could ask for, great friends and extended family.  I don’t mind admitting that I found another source of comfort in learning to let go.  Although I take pride in finding a way to accomplish any kitchen task I set my mind to, sometimes it’s practical to admit that someone else has already perfected it, and it’s worth it to purchase what you need.  Case in point: chicken broth – sure, I’ve made it, but was it really worth it?  Not for me.  Bread is another one – bread-making can be great fun, relaxing, and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.  Yet there are over a dozen delicious loaves I can pick up from local bakeries at the grocery store, and it’s much easier when making bread seems more than a chore than like fun.

What is almost always worth it to me?  Jams and pickles.  I make refrigerator pickles, meaning that I make a hot brine and pour it over fresh or blanched veggies.  It’s easy because just a few small changes in spices can make for tasty new pickles.  I find fresh, homemade jams to taste better than the jarred stuff, with only a few exceptions.  When I made jam from Concord grapes last summer, it was a revelation.

This year I was lucky enough to get a bunch of Meyer lemons from an acquaintance of mine, and I couldn’t think of just the right thing to do with them, so I finally decided to preserve them.  Recipes for marmalade I often found very involved and had so many steps, I almost gave up.  Instead, I decided to simplify.  Forget separating pith and peel from fruit and boiling in changes of fresh water, and so forth.   Meyer lemons are naturally sweeter and more floral than regular Eureka lemons, so if you like a somewhat bitter marmalade, it’s best to just go the simpler route of putting it all in together.  Plus, tiny slices of lemon look excellent suspended in the yellow jam.

Easy Meyer Lemonade (makes about 6 c.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. Meyer lemons
  • 5 c. water
  • 5 c. sugar

Directions:

  1. Wash lemons and cut them into tiny slices.  I did it this way: halve lemons lengthwise, then each half lengthwise again.  Cut each quarter crosswise in 1/8″ – 1/4″ inch slices.  Seeds will essentially come loose from the flesh of lemon as you proceed.  It might be useful to cut on a cutting board with a channel to catch the lemon juice that will be produced.
  2. Place all lemon slices and collected juice in a large pot or dutch oven.  Measure out water in cups until they just cover the lemons.  Add an equal amount of sugar to the pot.  I needed 5 cups of water to cover the lemons (and thus added 5 cups of sugar) – your mileage may vary.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower heat, and simmer until the mixture gels.  Recipes I read suggested a temperature of about 220F, but I still used the “wrinkle test.”  Basically, you take a spoonful of jam and place it on a plate in the freezer.  After a few moments to let it cool, push the pool of jam with the tip of your finger.  If it wrinkles, it’s ready to be jarred.

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Make This:

Despite having lived in California for my entire life, where, I recently read, you can “find Meyer lemons everywhere,” I had actually never met one (or even heard of them) until two years ago.  I was very familiar with his cousin, the Eureka lemon, the bright yellow, slightly dimpled fruit with its clean, acidic flavors.  One house we lived in had two large lemon bushes in the backyard, and we were lucky enough to have two fruiting seasons, so we had plenty of lemons around.

It wasn’t until I had started to move into a more varied, natural, and organic sort of diet that I ran across mentions of the Meyer lemon, probably in Gourmet magazine or the like.  One day, I was strolling through the produce department at Whole Foods and found a little basket on top of the other citrus displays, with what looked like lemons, all right, except that their skin was smooth, more orangeish in color, and smelled like flowers.

That they were about twice the price of Eurekas meant that I never bought any.  I never really thought of anything special enough to do with them when they were in season, until last week.

This is amazing, and the picture doesn’t even do it justice.  This was the project I had set for myself with those luscious Meyer lemons I was lucky enough to get from the veggie box two weeks ago.  I wanted to pick something that would showcase the fruitiness and floral essences of the Meyer lemon, without being over-complicated by too many other flavors.  This meant chocolate was out, and even coconut was pushing it.

So what did I choose?  Goat cheese.  Yeah, I know.  Goat cheese is one of the tangiest, sharpest-flavored cheeses I’ve ever loved, and while it seems like it might overpower Meyer lemon, I thought it would mainly complement it, especially if it were tempered with sugar and eggs, and baked into a cheesecake.

Ultimately, I guess I was just a little disappointed that the cheesecake actually lacked any tang beyond what a regular cream cheese cheesecake would have, but it did taste lighter, with a more interesting texture.  The lemon curd I made to top it was pretty much the essence of the floral and lemony tastes, condensed.  If you’re going to make a lemon curd, I highly recommend trying Meyer lemons.

Lemony Goat Cheese Cheesecake (made 6 1/2 c. servings)

Recipe scaled down from Pithy and Cleaver.  Instead of cooking the entire recipe in a springform pan, I chose to cook the cheesecakes in 6 1/2 c. ramekins.  Do be sure to grease them well and cook in a water bath.  Mine shrunk away from the sides of the pan and unmolded well.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 oz. fresh, soft goat cheese (I used the local Laura Chenel’s goat cheese, some of the best I’ve ever had, very tangy and a little… well… “goaty”)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. light rum
  • 2 1/2 tsp. flour
  • grated zest of one Meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease ramekins (or springform pan), sprinkle with sugar, and shake out excess.
  2. Beat egg yolks and sugar in a pan until very pale.  Beat in goat cheese, one ounce at a time.  At first, the cheese might not beat in all the way smoothly, but don’t worry – it will all smooth out eventually.  Add remaining ingredients (except egg whites) and beat until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Stir a small portion of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, and then carefully fold in the remainder of the whites.
  4. Pour batter into pan(s).  Place in a baking dish.  Pour hot water into the baking dish, until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins (or 1 inch up the springform pan).  Cover the baking dish with foil and carefully place in the oven.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cake has risen slightly and looks semi-set.   Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until set.  Remove baking dish from the oven and let cakes cool, about 10-15 minutes.  Chill cheesecakes completely and serve with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or lemon curd.

Meyer Lemon Curd (makes about 1 cup)

Recipe scaled from No Recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/4 c. Meyer lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Place the butter in a medium saucepan.  Heat over low heat until mostly melted, and then remove from the heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  3. Separate the egg, adding the egg white to the sugar mixture, and the egg yolk to the butter.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk into the butter until well combined.  Then, whisk the sugar mixture together.  Finally, pour the sugar mixture into the butter mixture, and whisk all until combined.
  5. Heat over low heat, and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.  The curd is ready when it coats the back of the spoon, or to 170 degrees, if you are using a thermometer.
  6. Pour through a mesh strainer into a clean container, and chill until ready to use.

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