I came to this French lemon tart almost a month ago, in the beginning of November. It was one of the first things I baked since coming back from Fiji, acquainting myself once again with measuring different flours and working with ingredients. The first time I made it, it was an instant hit with my brother – he wanted two pieces before even tasting it, ultimately eating most of it.
As we turn the corner to a New Year, I thought it would be good to make it again as a way to inject a little zest (pun intended) into the spirit of ringing in 2012. Using Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons, it also brings a splash of colour during the cold months of winter. (Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons and are generally described as a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges or tangerines. They are typically available from early February or March into May, although they can be available even earlier depending on location.)
While not quite summertime yet, it is Meyer lemon season and these lemons make a wonderful lemonade that’s on the slightly sweeter, less acidic side unlike lemonade made with regular, standard lemons. I find it funny, in an odd way, that while winter is associated with the citrus season lemonade is generally reserved for summertime, conjuring memories of children’s lemonade stands and hot days; returning from the beach and walking home, the pavement burning underfoot.
Meyer lemons are generally described as a cross between a regular lemon and a tangerine or mandarin; a hybrid fruit that is adored far and wide and cherished especially because of its short season and availability – unless you happen to live in California, then they’re available year round and there often even Meyer lemon trees in people’s backyards!
If you haven’t made lemonade from scratch before, it couldn’t be easier than this. This was my first time making lemonade and I was amazed at how easy it was, I don’t know why I didn’t before: simply mixing three ingredients together, the longest you have to wait is for the drink to chill. I find it’s best to drink it the day after, letting the flavours of honey and lemon infuse as it chills in the fridge. The honey merely sweetens, lemonade should really taste mostly of lemons.
(Meyer lemons not pictured, sorry. Those are ye olde standard lemons.)
Next to yogurt cakes, I’m a big fan of any cakes that use olive oil and show it with pride right in the recipe name. Despite the kind of citrus used in this recipe, the cake actually has more of a lemony flavour than grapefruit, as my brother described it; he was my first taster and loves this cake.
The original recipe, which I found on Smitten Kitchen, uses the grapefruit segments in the cake. I used a small amount of the grapefruit segments, cut up, into some of the batter and baked a test batch in a little cupcake liner. While I loved the extra fruit in the cake it left a bitter aftertaste that I wasn’t fond of, which I did not get when I ate the grapefruit raw. I’ve read about citrus becoming bitter after baking, even with copious amounts of sugar, but had never experienced it in my own baking until then. Oh well, it did look pretty.