Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.

˜˜˜

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars

The first thing we wanted to do when we got married was get a dog. When real life got underway (jobs, budgets, a move across an ocean), we realized that committing to a puppy wasn't realistic. So, we settled for the next best thing. No, not a cat (I love all domesticated animals equally). Obviously, I'm talking about a lemon tree. DUH.

Penn is great with the two-and-a-half foot tall tree. He initiated the research to figure out how to help it survive outside the tropics. He keeps it watered and well-lit. I love watching each year as the buds emerge.


The first year, we felt pretty successful when the flowers bloomed instead of dying.


From there, the lemons came out the size of Tic-Tacs and grew to full size over the course of a few months. Our first season taking care of the tree yielded six full, juicy, gorgeous Meyer Lemons.


The flavor is distinct and bright. The juice in each lemon is astounding! Each year, we have wedges for many months' worth of cocktails and recipes. The best part is, as long as it's still hanging on the tree, it won't spoil.

That brings me to my most recent adventure with my babies, our Meyer Lemons. We have two left on the tree this season and my mother-in-law recommended featuring them on the blog! I looked around for recipes and such, but finally settled on a combination of two items suggested/provided by my co-foodie sister-in-law, Laura. I believe I have created a staple dessert for my household.


So, here's how I concocted Grace's Meyer Lemon Curd Bars (the following is a combination and modification of the Key Lime Bars from Betty Crocker's Diabetes Cookbook and this fantastic Lemon Curd recipe on Epicurious):

Crust:

  • 15-20 Goya Maria cookies (discovered by UncleCharlieDad at the local 7-Eleven. They come in a sleeve and are a basic, hard butter cookie)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Grease sides and bottom of a square pan (The smaller the pan, the thicker the crust. It's really your preference).
Using a heavy-duty pestle and a strong, medium-sized bowl, break the Cookies up into fine crumbs. Reserve a spoonful of crumbs to sprinkle over the final product.


 Melt the Butter and stir it into the crumbs, along with the Sugar.


Press the mixture into the bottom of the greased pan.


Bake the crust in the oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes (I determined it was ready when it got really fragrant and slightly golden).
Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before chilling completely in the fridge while you prepare the other elements.

Meyer Lemon Curd Filling:
  • The juice from 1 full-size Meyer Lemon (roughly 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tsp. finely grated, fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 Tbs. butter, cut into bits
Zest the Lemon into a small bowl first (it's easier when it's still full of juice).


 Juice the lemon into a small bowl.


Whisk together the juice, zest, Sugar, and Eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan.


Stir in the chunks of Butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of the whisk and the first bubble appears on the surface, about 6 minutes (This happens suddenly, so be aware! Don't let it turn into scrambled eggs!).
Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl, covering its surface with plastic wrap.


Chill in the fridge until cold, at least one hour.

Creamy Topping:
  •  1 1/2 cup crème fraiche (I sorta made up a recipe for this, but I recommend finding some at your grocery store so that you can count on it working texturally)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Whisk the Creme Fraiche and Powdered Sugar together thoroughly.

Remove the crust and curd from the fridge.
Spread the curd evenly atop the crust to form a second layer.


Do the same with the creamy topping and sprinkle surface with reserved cookie crumbs.


Cut into squares and serve!

 
Though I'm usually a chocolate person, I loved this lemon dessert. The cookies are a good balance for the sour lemon and creamy cream. Just look at my babies now!

I think I'm going to go have a piece of toast with a little of the extra Meyer Lemon Curd I reserved.

10 comments:

  1. you should bring some to my housecooling party in 2 weeks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome! Trade ya some butterscotch brownies for some.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, you're more of my heroes than ever! I need to send you two of my favorite rcps for lemon things with *secret* ingredients!
    LOVE that you grew the lemons...some day I am going to have an Orangerie, like they do in all the palaces of France...someday

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like a snow day well spent! Yum! I'm so glad your lemon tree is still growing strong and producing well! I wonder where she'll live next year?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maria cookies are a staple in the Glunt household!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks spectacular, Grace!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Grace sent me walking to 7-11, walking, walking in the freezing cold blind and white blizzard to buy graham crackers. They didn't have any. I was afraid to come home empty handed, so I grabbed this weird tube of cookies hoping they might be a suitable substitute. Besides Julia, who on earth ever heard of Maria cookies?

    Much of the above story is true. Some of it isn't, but one thing I truly DO know: those cookies make an infinitely better crust than graham crackers EVER did. That heavy graham flour would have absolutely killed the delicate flavor of those innocent lemons, which taste kind of like what would happen if a lemon and a tangerine decided to make babies.

    This "Meyer Lemon Curd Tart" may chisel a place in history much the same as the "Key Lime Pie" ...which you really CAN'T make unless you have authentic Key limes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So, how can I get my hands on a Meyer Lemon? I don't dare try this with typical grocery store lemons...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well I'll be bullwhipped! ...the old taster hasn't lost his chops. Turns out that the Meyer lemon actually IS a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange.
    http://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/lore/meyer.html
    This is a place where you can buy your own tree and grow it in a pot just like Penn and Grace have been doing ever since they were... Penn and Grace. Their tree reclines in palatial splendor in a sunny bay window in our dining room. It appears that the skin is so delicate that it doesn't ship well, so you won't see them in grocery stores.

    I would bet you could simulate the flavor by combining some balance of regular lemons and tangerines.

    Bethany, why don't we do this: you try out this recipe using different percentages of lemon and tangerine... send them down to me and I'll tell you when you've got the balance right.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ha! Sounds like an awesome plan, Charlie. Oh to have that much time on my hands...

    ReplyDelete