Make more than lemonade this summerPublished 5:28pm Thursday, June 16, 2011
I couldn’t have been happier last week to see some rain. I’ve been watering my potted plants, little garden of tomatoes, squash and herbs but my real concern has been my lime and lemon trees.
It doesn’t matter if I water them or not, their true love is rainwater and since my lime tree is covered with blooms and my lemon trees have 4-6 lemons on each one I was getting a little nervous.
I’m getting very close to picking from my ponderosa lemon and as soon as I get a couple I’m going to make my favorite two lemon recipes (besides lemonade).
The most important thing to remember about zesting or peeling a lemon is to be sure you only get the yellow peel. The white pith underneath is very bitter. I use a microplane grater to zest my citrus. If you use this the zest will be fine enough that you can skip the food processor step with the sugar in the second recipe.
This first recipe is from “Lee Bailey’s Country Desserts,” it is my favorite lemon square recipe, and I have used it forever.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
4 large eggs at room temp
2 cups sugar
Grated rind of 1 large lemon
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 by 13 pan. Beat together the butter, 2 cups of flour (notice you did not use the 1 tablespoon) and the powdered sugar until fluffy. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth into a thin layer covering the bottom. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar until light. Add the lemon rind and juice and mix. Sprinkle the tablespoon floor and 1/2 teaspoon baking over all. Combine well.
Pour lemon mixture into crust and return to over to bake for another 35 minutes or just until filling is set. Let cool slightly, then cut into small squares. Loosen crust from around the edges before removing the squares from the pan.
I love shortbread and with the kiss of lemon flavor it is the perfect summertime treat. If you want something extra special, make the shortbread recipe, and while it is cooling take fresh strawberries and slice them into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Let them set in the refrigerator. When the shortbread has cooled take a triangle and split it with a fork in half. Set the two slice on a plate, spoon sliced strawberries and their juice over the shortbread and top with a spoon of fresh whipped cream.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest
1 cup butter, room temp
1 teaspoon lemon oil (ordered from Bakers Catalogue)
Position your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter two nonstick baking sheets.
Whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Process the sugar and zest in a food processor unit the zest is finely ground.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the sugar mixture and lemon oil and beat until well combined. Reduce the speed to low add the flour mixture and beat just until blended, the dough will be crumbly.
Knead the dough in the bowl for about 2 minutes or until it begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Place two of them on each baking sheet and pat each piece in to a 5-inch round disk about 1 /2 inch thick. Score the surface of each disk into 8 wedges. Then using the tines of a fork press around the outside edges of the disk.
Bake for 12 minutes, rotate the baking sheets between your upper and lower racks and bake for 12 more minutes, until the shortbread are a light golden color. Remove from the oven and cut through the scored lines. Wait 5 minutes and remove shortbreads with a spatula to a wire rack to cool.
Christina Hall writes a column for The Democrat. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.