Oh how I adore a classic lemon tart: that crumbly, lightly sweetened almond flour outer shell filled to the brim with a creamy, lemony center sometimes topped with fresh whipped cream and strawberries or maybe a toasted meringue… aaaaand I’m drooling. I probably get my appreciation for lemons from my dad, who isn’t into sweets AT ALL but always got a lemon meringue pie from his mother on his birthday. Or it could be because my mom used to feed me lemons when I was a baby because she thought the faces I made were funny. Wherever it comes from, I’m down with lemons!
I like that these fruits are versatile on the savory to sweet sliding scale. I use lemon a lot when baking chicken, seasoning fish, or adding some zing to pasta dishes, but I also love to use in drinks such as teas and cocktails (Sidecar, anyone? #myfavorite) or as a light and fresh ending to a meal, like I did last night.
Here on the island, I’ve been given the opportunity to cook with some massive lemons. When I say massive, I mean these babies are bigger than my fist!! Which is pretty awesome when you need fresh squeezed lemon juice for a recipe. I really appreciate only juicing one, maybe two lemons instead of 15 tiny ones to get the required amount of juice for my recipe.
Speaking of juicing a lemon, here’s my tip of the week: It’s ok if you don’t have a proper lemon juicer, you can still get fresh juice with every day kitchen items. The first method you can use to juice a lemon is if you have a pair of tongs that are connected at the end as opposed to in the center (like scissors are). Position the halved lemon in between the two arms of the tongs and squeeze the ends so you crush the lemon and extract the juices in one fell swoop.
Another way (and my preferred method, since I’m very clumsy with the tongs method. Seriously, after the photo snapped, I lost my grip on the lemon, it dropped into the bowl of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and splashed all over me ::sigh:: ) is to slice your lemon in half, and grab a fork. Hold the lemon half in one hand, and push the fork into the pulp with the other hand. Squeeze the lemon half around the fork, repositioning the fork to un-juiced areas as all the juice is expelled, until you’ve extracted all the juice from the fruit.
For both of these juicing methods, I recommend juicing over a bowl that has a strainer placed in it so all of the seeds are effortlessly separated from the juice when you remove the strianer. #worksmarternotharder
(Side note: If you're wondering why these photos look a little off, it's because I'm a leftie so this probably looks backwards to you. Never fear though, these methods can be done right handed as well! Just grab a right handed fork, and you're all set!)
(Another side note: after all of these photos I'm seriously considering a new career as a hand model ::flips hair:: what do you think?)
This pretty little tart was made for my coworker and dear friend. When I started the conversation with her about what she would like me to make for her birthday, all she asked for a simple lemon tart with a graham cracker crust. Being that I tend to go overboard for my friends, I asked her if she wanted anything on it/in it/with it. She shrugged and said there was nothing that she could think of. The conversation continued as my other coworker/dear friend and I peppered her with flavor combinations that combine deliciously with a lemon dessert, and we both mentioned blueberry. The birthday girl seemed a little caught off guard and asked “Blueberry? With lemon?!” And OMG how we started throwing examples at her of all the blueberry and lemon combinations we’ve ever eaten (I was actually kind of impressed!). She seemed convinced that the flavors worked together, but didn’t ask for anything blueberry on her birthday tart, so I decided to give her the opportunity to try it together, but not ruin her birthday tart if she didn’t like it.
That morning before I went to work, I cooked down some fresh blueberries with some sugar and lemon juice and set it in the fridge to cool while I was at work. After I came home, I whipped up some mini macarons (because that’s all I have space for. I tried to make normal sized macarons in my real [non-convection] oven the night before and they just failed miserably, but my toaster oven has a convection setting [HALLELUJAH!!] and a tray that is 11 inches long by 9.5 inches wide so mini macs it is!) and put birthday sprinkles on them to complete the birthday theme. This way if she somehow didn’t like the blueberry and lemon combo she could remove the mini macs and eat them separately.
I think she enjoyed the dessert as is though. I left her birthday dinner party with my belly full, but my heart was fuller <3