It’s been a pretty sour week and a half at work. But you know what they say about what to do when life gives you things that are sour…like lemons…make…lemonade? Bit of an odd choice for a day when snowflakes kiss my cheeks walking outside from the car to the house.
Would a lemon tart suffice?
Just to go a little crazy, I made mine with Meyer lemons and blood oranges (which I think are the snootiest of citrus fruits) and just a touch of bourbon vanilla.
Sorry. I’m still hung up on the idea of Meyer lemons and blood oranges being snooty. Don’t you agree? Think about it: they’re the only citrus fruits with qualifiers in their names. Meyer. Blood. Unlike apples or pears, citrus fruit don’t usually describe themselves beyond “orange,” “lemon,” “lime,” or even “grapefruit” (which is a whole other confusing nomenclature). Whether that’s because there are not as many heirloom or cross-bred varieties of citrus fruits as there are of apples, I don’t know. Even the hybrid citrus fruits are just the name, for example, tangelo. No Mister Tangelo or Round Tangelo.
It’s like their flavor (or color, in the case of the blood orange) is so distinct from their citrus siblings that they want everyone to know.
Easy there buddy, I’m not just a lemon. I’m a Meyer lemon. Get it right. And don’t you forget it. I know where you shop.
Is that snooty? Maybe not. Maybe independent is a better word.
Vanilla Scented Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Tart (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Yum Factor: Alex – 6, Jessalyn – 8
Note: Deb’s recipe is designed for an actual tart. In a tart shell. In a tart pan. I only had a ready-made pie crust available. She also made her filling in a food processor, something that I do not currently possess. Nevertheless, here’s how I made it.
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
– 2 meyer lemons
– 1 small blood orange
2. Juice the lemons and orange (I used my Jack Lalanne power juicer with its ability to separate the pulp from the juice. It did pretty well). You don’t have to use a power juicer, but you will need some pulp. I finely chopped up a handful of what my juicer gave me with my knife.
– 1.5 cups sugar
– 1 stick unsalted butter, diced
– 4 eggs
– 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract such as Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
– 2 tablespoons corn starch
– pinch of salt
3. Mix the citrus juice, pulp, and zest with the sugar and butter in a stand mixer to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, corn starch, and salt. Mixture will be a bit lumpy and liquidy.
4. At this point I also used a pastry cutter and then a balloon whisk to help break down the butter a little bit.
5. Pour mixture into a pie shell (or tart if you wanna do it “right”) and bake for 40-45 minutes until filling is set and just starting to brown on top. Don’t worry if it bubbles over a little bit, especially if you’re using a ready-made crust (but you may want to put the pie or tart pan onto a baking sheet for easier cleanup). How do you know when it’s “set?” Deb from Smitten Kitchen describes it as just a “slight jiggle” when you tap the pan. If you’ve got tidal waves and sloshing when you tap it–it’s not ready. Be patient.
6. Let cool then slice and serve. Top with powdered sugar or mint or berries. I’m planning to store mine in the fridge.
Give it a try. Meyer lemons are sweeter-almost orangier-than other lemons which makes this tart irresistibly sweet but still leaves you with that brilliant lemony taste in the back of your mouth. Whether you’re having a good week or a not-so-good week, may you always find the time to enjoy a slice of tart–be they made of independent or group-minded fruits.