Saturday, February 17, 2007

When life gives you lemons, grab some tequila and salt!

“Huge lemons, cut in slices, would sink like setting suns into the dusky sea, softly illuminating it with their radiating membranes, and its clear, smooth surface aquiver from the rising bitter essence.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

The Barefoot Contessa and I are on the same length when it comes to our palates. In addition to her extreme dislike of cilantro (or, as I call it, soaplantro), on one episode she confessed that she would take a lemon dessert over a chocolate one any day.

I am sure Ina Garten then asks the same question I do: Who wouldn't?!?

My love of the lemon is infinite. In any shape or form, I languish in its light and refreshing taste. I love lemon drop martini cocktails, limoncello liquor, and lemonade. I love flavoring my foods with lemon, including a lemon spaghetti to go along with shrimp fra diavlo. My micro plane for zesting lemon is constantly being used; I even love the way the lemon zest clumps together on the plane before I place it into a mixture. I love lemon soup, Greek style, and I love making lemon chicken in the oven.

Still, lemon desserts are my Achilles' heel when it comes to the genre of lemons! One of my favorite desserts was at Batali and Bastianich's OTTO: a sweet corn gelato with blueberries and lemon curd.

There are two desserts that I enjoy making. Both are simple and not exactly "gourmet", but the flavors are refreshing and delightful, and both are somewhat figure friendly!

Notes: I first made the lemonade layer cake five years ago when I was a guest at my best friend's supper club gathering. Make sure you cool the frosting first! I made the pink lemonade pie for the first time a year ago for a pot luck, and it was a big hit. It is so easy to make and perfect for hot summer nights.

If anyone has some great lemon dessert recipes he/she would like to share, please send them along this way in the comments section! Thank you!

Lemonade Layer Cake (courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine)

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition.
Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare frosting, place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredients (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Chill 1 hour.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Pink Lemonade Pie

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (20 squares)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

1 quart (4 cups) vanilla frozen yogurt, softened
1/2 can (12-oz size) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 container (4 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Red food color, if desired
Lemon peel
Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients until well blended. Press in bottom and up side of 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
In large bowl, mix ice cream, lemonade concentrate, whipped topping and a few drops food color. Spoon and spread ice-cream mixture into cooled crust.
Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature a few minutes before cutting. Garnish with lemon peel.


sher said...

I was born in the South and in certain parts there, lemon is much more popular. Lemon meringue pie is considered the dessert in my family. We rarely had anything chocolate, as I remember now.:) Great recipe!!

work in progress said...

Yum. My favorite cookies ever are an italian frosted lemon cookie that always appears on Christmas Eve at Gram's house. I can't begin to estimate how many Christmas eves have I have found myself going home with a tummy ache because I fill up on them, knowing I won't see them again until next year.

Here's a link to a wonderful citrus cookie that LOVE. It's orange not lemon, but yummy.

Frumteacher said...

This blog is so refreshing! A traditional Moroccan jewish recipe is citrons confits. These salted lemons can be used to spice up sauces, or in little cubes on the side.

Citrons confits

6 lemons
6 tbsp sea salt
juice of 3 (or more) lemons

Wash and brush the lemons. Cut lemons in four, but make sure the parts are still connected on two sides. Insert seasalt and press tightly together. Insert in glass jar, just big enough to fit them all. Let stand 3 to 4 days. During these days, most of the juice will come out. The peel will become soft.

After four days, press lemons together again, and fill the jar to the lid with lemon juice. Close jar, and let stand in cool place for about a month. Before using a lemon, wash carefully under running water to remove salt.

Another way is to tahe one kilo of lemons, slice them, and sprinkle 3 tbsp of sea salt on them. Put in jar for three days and add lemon juice until all slices are covered. Finish with putting a thin layer of olive oil on top, and close jar for a month (at least).

PeeJ said...

Lemons eh? Well it has to be time for..

Ginger Lemon & Honey Cheesecake

You will need:

1 pkt digestive biscuits
2 oz butter
1 pot double cream
1 pot Mascarpone cheese (or similar soft tangy cream cheese)
1 large lemon
Icing Sugar
Root ginger, grated


Smash biscuits with rolling pin in a lightly oiled polybag. Melt butter in saucepan and slowly add biscuits until they start to clump together.

Press into a flan dish as the base.

Next, combine the cream, the cream cheese and a good squeeze of half the lemon.

Grate the rind from this, and put to one side.

Next, add the cream and cheese mixture to your flan dish over the base.

Combine the remaining half lemon with icing sugar and grated ginger for the topping (some people prefer to put the ginger in the biscuit base, and tbh this might be a better bet if you don't like strong ginger flavour but I do so nerrr!)

Glaze the top of your cheesecake with the lemon/icing glaze

Fridge for about 2-3 hours.



Passionate Eater said...

I don't know what it is about cilantro, but I know so many people who dislike it. But lemons, everyone likes lemons, especially when they read the way you describe lemon dishes!

lucette said...

Interesting--I'd never heard of a pink lemonade pie before last week, when I read the recipe for it in a vintage cookbook I just got. And now here it is on your blog!

Steph said...

I would also take a lemon dessert over chocolate! And I LOVE the Barefoot Contessa! I love that she isn't afraid to pull out the alcohol with her luncheons and dinner parties, whether it's a good wine or lemon drops. By the way, I make killer homemade Limincello. :)

Patti said...

my lemon tree has seven glorious lemons that will ripen this month. i drool when i think of them...

Arties32 said...

I can't have anything cilantro has even come close to. Check out Sure good for a laugh.

Leigh said...

Oh, I love cilantro...but I love lemons even more. I would agree with you anything lemon over chocolate.