Sunday, January 27, 2008

When Life Hands You Lemons

Lemon Squares! At long last!

Let's face it, life does not always happen the way you want it to. Sometimes things happen that are not within one's control. When that happens I say, make Lemon Squares (or as some like to say, Lemon Bars). Okay, okay, I don't really say that, because believe it or not, this lemon lover has only made lemon squares twice. But a sweet treat always makes you feel better, doesn't it? Now, I'd love to give you this recipe, however, it's not mine to give. If you're interested in making these lemon bars, you can find the recipe in the book, Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham. Of course a google search will provide you with enough lemon square recipes to last you the rest of your life, all of them claiming to be the best. I can't tell you if this is the best because this is only the second time I've ever made lemon squares. The first time was back in my youth. Those did not turn out well. They tasted like eggs with some lemon. Yuck. I don't want eggy lemon squares. So this time, after I baked my crust with lemon zest baked right in, mixed my egg/lemon juice/sugar topping and put it back in the oven, the memory of those lemon squares came back to me. I looked up that recipe in an old cook book and sure enough it only called for 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. This new recipe called for 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Now that packs some lemon power!

We liked these lemon squares. The crust is very buttery, a little crisp, even after storing in the refrigerator. The lemon filling is smooth, tart, and oh so lemony. Yum.

If you're my husband, when wife hands you lemons you squeeze them. That's his job whenever I make lemon chicken for dinner, one of our favs. But the lemons, from the afore mentioned Miss Lemontree, are so easy to juice. I've never had such a juicy lemon. Two lemons, not even very large lemons at that, easily yielded well over 1/2 cup of juice.

Some lemon recipes do not require squeezing, such as Shaker Lemon Pie. This was my first attempt at this unique pie. This recipe is from early shakers who did not want to waste any part of a fruit they had to purchase rather than grow. Isn't it funny, that is basically opposite of why I wanted to make this recipe. I wanted to utilize the entire fruit for which I patiently waited so long to grow and ripen. I used my food processor to slice two lemons into thin slices (as thin as possible). My food processor only goes down to 2mm. For the interior of the lemon, that seemed very thin. You could see through the slices. For the pith and skin, I don't think it was thin enough. I picked out the seeds, now sliced as well, and put the lemon slices in a bowl with 1 3/4 cups sugar. I let it macerate for a full day, although the recipe calls for 8 hours. I had heard that others thought it better to let it macerate longer. Plus, this worked well with my schedule. I started the pie one day after work and finished it the next day after work.

The next day, I added 4 large eggs and a pinch of salt to the lemon and sugar and filled my pie crust. Doesn't that look pretty?

Love that yellow. Of course, this yellow is due to the egg yolks, but still bright and cheery to me.

You use a double crust for this recipe. So I added another crust to the top, sealed it, and then into the oven it goes.

I usually flute my pie crust edges, but this pie seemed like it needed an old fashioned treatment.

The result looks great. The crust is delicious. The filling's taste is lemony, just great. But the consistency... it's just not for me. The skin and pith just never soften and I really can't get past the consistency. It's sort of the same as I feel about shredded coconut. Too chewy or something. Hubby didn't like the consistency either, sadly. That is not to say that you wouldn't like it. Some may not mind that texture. Who knows. But for us, I think this ends the shaker lemon pie chapter.


John said...

I really enjoyed the lemon squares. It made me extra happy to know that the lemons were home grown too. Love the photography!

Marcia said...

Boy, good thing I wasn't in the neighborhood or I would have been right over there for some of that! Lemon's my favorite!

~molly~ said...

Ooh-those look delicious!!!

Here are some sayings about lemons:

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

When life gives you lemons, keep 'em.

When life gives you lemons, make lemon squares.

When life gives you lemons make lemon morangue pie.

And... in my opinion, the funniest, though not always a good idea, as lemons are good, too... (my friend lives by this)

When life gives you lemons, throw 'em back and demand chocolate!

(my comment: or lemon squares made by jen!!!!)