Waggs Walkabout

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lemons Lemons Lemons

It’s lemon harvest time in my hemisphere and after MANY batches of lemonade and many cups and tablespoons of lemon juice safely stored in the freezer. A couple dozen lemons were zested prior to juicing and the resulting zest has been dried and stored for future use. It’s now time to venture into other uses for lemons.

By no means am I shunning the old favorites of lemon squares and lemon pie but I’m discovering a few new and intriguing uses for this humble citrus fruit.

Preserved lemons (as well as limes) are something; I’d seen before on the shelves of gourmet shops and had no idea what to do with them. Last year, I followed the directions of a friend by simply quartering some lemons and stuffing them in a glass jar and packing them in kosher salt. After keeping them in a cool dark place for a few months, I was rewarded with the most amazing flavor which is mildly tart but intensely lemony.
The technique is centuries old, dead easy and worth the wait. I’ve used preserved lemon in marinades, sauces, pasta dishes and in creating tasty little appetizers.
With the jars refilled with this year’s crop and I’ve searched through my recipe collections and found a Lemon-Vanilla Tart recipe for the Better Homes and Gardens (USA) January 2010 issues that is extraordinary. Although the oven candied lemon slices are garnish they are easy to make and WELL worth the effort.

Lemon-Vanilla Tart

Prep: 40 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes

1 recipe Tart Pastry (recipe below)
2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 recipe Oven-Candied Lemon Slices (recipe below)


1. Prepare Tart Pastry. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wrap the rolled-out pastry around a rolling pin. Using pin, ease pastry into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, taking care not to stretch the pastry. Press pastry into fluted sides of tart pan. Trim edges even with the pan. Line pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5 to 6 minutes more or until crust is golden. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, finely shred 4 teaspoons peel from lemons. Set aside. Squeeze enough juice from lemons to measure 6 tablespoons; set aside.

3. In medium bowl combine sugar and flour. Add eggs. Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3 minutes or until mixture is light in color and slightly thickened. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, butter, and vanilla. Pour into pastry shell. Place tart pan on a baking sheet.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is set and lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

5. To serve, remove sides of pan, and top tart with Oven-Candied Lemon Slices. Makes 8 servings.

6. Tart Pastry: In medium bowl cut 1/2 cup cold butter into 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour until pieces are the size of small peas. In a small mixing bowl combine 1 beaten egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon ice water. Gradually stir the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Shape into a ball. If necessary, cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes or until dough is easy to handle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough on an 11-inch circle. Use to prepare Lemon-Vanilla Tart.

7. Oven-Candied Lemon Slices: Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Cut 2 small lemons crosswise into 1/8-to 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange in a single layer on pan. Sprinkle lemon slices with 1/4 cup sugar. Bake in preheated 275 degree F oven 45 to 50 minutes or until lemons are almost dry and covered with sugary glaze. While still warm, loosen slices from paper to prevent sticking.

Not only is this delicious it is beautiful as well.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it even if you’re like me just trying to find new uses for yard waste!


Anonymous said...

Can one make lemon curd with the yard waste or is that not something you can preserve, it has to be fresh?


Walk with me said...

Kim - I haven't found any canning recipes for lemon curd. Most say you can store in the fridge for only up to a couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...