Category Archives: Meyer lemons

Meyer lemon tart and a recipe in pictures

Meyer lemon tart

One of our first purchases for our new home in Sydney was a dwarf Meyer lemon tree. $50 and several months later, we picked our first three fragrant fruit. Not bad for a partially sunny balcony in Sydney’s Inner West, don’t you think?

Meyer lemons, a cross between lemons and mandarins, have a bewitching floral scent and a sweet, tart, juicy interior, so they make especially good additions to baked goods.  With this in mind, I decided to use the juice from two lemons to make a tart and the zest to make a Meyer lemon vodka. The tart lasts several days in the fridge, and the Meyer lemon vodka lends the fragrance of these beauties to everything from cocktails to cookies for months after the citrus season has come to an end.

With the last lemon, we made homemade Meyer lemon-lime bitters—a fitting way to celebrate our first citrus harvest.

Meyer lemon vodka – a recipe in pictures

Meyer lemon vodka essentials

1. Gather ingredients.  Excellent vodka isn’t essential for this; Smirnoff or something similar will do.

Zest

2. Peel off the zest of the Meyer lemons, carefully avoiding the pith.

Finished product

3. Drop the Meyer lemon zest into the vodka, and let the flavor of the zest infuse in the vodka for a few weeks. When the vodka is fragrant, it’s finished.

This vodka is delicious in any fruity mixed drink, and also works well in baked goods calling for orange liqueur.

Meyer lemon tart with cardamom and orange zest
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Filed under Australia, baking, dessert, drink, local, Meyer lemons, seasonal

Disaster!

Come on, now. You know I would only post a disaster with promise.  This one starts with meyer lemons and ends in a sweet pudding, which would have been intriguing if only I could cook rice.

It all began with a mysterious package that arrived on Saturday. No note — just a meyer lemon, a massive shallot, and a bag full of jerusalem artichokes.  The leaf on the meyer lemon told me that this was FRESH, most likely from some warmer, more pleasant coast, and therefore might have something to do with my friend P’s attempt to coax me back to CA.  (Well, that and she told me the package was coming, but that wouldn’t make the story nearly as exciting, right?)

Anyway, I knew I had to do something special with the gift. Just the night before, I was reading The Spiteful Chef, and came across a post where she recommends adding condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla to some parboiled rice for a quick rice pudding.  I LOVE condensed milk, in a ridiculous, irrational, will eat an entire can if I’m left to my own devices kind of way. And I happened to have one on hand, along with some arborio rice, this meyer lemon, some raisins, and homemade vanilla extract.  With tea in place of stock, and the condensed milk to make things creamy and delicious, I figured it’d be the best way to stretch the meyer lemon out just a little bit.  After all, I could use the zest in the rice pudding and save the juice for something else.

And so I did. Here’s the final result:

You know what? It was tasty. The cream Earl Gray (Earl Gray with less bergamot and more vanilla) complemented the fragrant scent of the Meyer lemon, and the condensed milk made the lemon peel and raisins taste like candied goodness was sprinkled through each bite.  Unfortunately, it was also a little crunchy. Yup, that’s right — I undercooked the rice, thinking that cooking in the condensed milk would help soften things.  Boy, was I wrong. So file this under work in progress. I’ll post the recipe as I think it should be, with a note where I modified things. I’ll try this one again and update a final version when I get a chance.  In the meantime, thanks for making winter a little nicer, P!

Recipe after the jump.

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Filed under dessert, Meyer lemons, raisins, rice, tea, work in progress

Grown up cookies

Olive oil cookies

I never would have thought to make these cookies just a few years ago. I was a chocolate chip girl, fully devoted to “my” oatmeal chocolate chip recipe, straight from the Quaker Oats carton (shhhh, don’t tell!). But then I started getting into Spanish cuisine, thanks to Penelope Casas, who convinced me that olive oil could be sweet and luxurious all at the same time. When you start to learn about a new culinary tradition for the first time, you learn to accept the unexpected, and go ahead and give whatever odd combinations you might try a shot, without prejudice or expectation. More often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Cookies!

I call these grown up cookies because they have a slightly complex undertone, thanks to some good Australian olive oil and a bit of my homemade Meyer lemon liqueur (made of vodka, Meyer lemon peel, and time). They’re really simple, fairly quick, and best with a bit of good wine or a cup of hot coffee. And if you want soft cookies, these are not for you. But try them, regardless. Hey — olive oil’s good for you, right? (As if you needed an excuse.)

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Filed under baking, blood oranges, cinnamon, cookies, dessert, Meyer lemons, olive oil, stories

Ending the suspense, and a few timid steps

Meyer Lemon Shortbread

Can you guess what I have in store now? If you’re still puzzled, Saveur will give you a hint… This recipe was not just chosen on impulse from the pages of a magazine. It was, in fact, the answer to a very long (and yearly) search. And what a good answer it was …

Shaping Shortbread

I had Meyer lemons in my kitchen, just sitting there for days, looking like precious, golden, untouchable orbs of sunlight trapped in an ordinary bowl. I get them once a year — just four, enough to taste — and invariably struggle to find the best way to make their fragrant nature, skin and all, last just a bit longer.  I wanted a tart, slightly sweet, and citrusy bottle of meyer lemon goodness to spread, with something a bit more special than a simple slice of bread to spread it on.

This year, I decided to try my hand at two things that had previously struck me as entirely too mysterious for my hands: making jam, and canning.

How old fashioned do I feel at the moment? (In a kickass, hey, I can do anything sort of way, of course.)

Grating batter

I started with a citrus-derived pectin I found at the local health food store, which is designed for low-sugar jam concoctions. I didn’t want to drown the Meyer lemon in sweetness. Nor did I want my first foray into jam to end in disaster, so I played it safe. I followed the directions.

Meyer Lemon Jam

Isn’t it pretty? It’s a bit bitter, really, as marmalade can be sometimes, so if you want your sweets to be sweet, I’m afraid this isn’t for you. As for me, I don’t mind, but thought something a little sugary might make an interesting contrast. So when I saw this Hungarian Shortbread recipe, I had to play. The sandy, sweet-tart, buttery pairing of grated shortbread batter and tart meyer lemon marmalade seemed like the perfect match.

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Filed under baking, butter, dessert, firsts, Meyer lemons