Quality Ingredient of the Week – Meyer Lemons

In season, in our backyard right now, are luscious, fragrant, and delicious Meyer Lemons

 

Our dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree...planted in a half wine barrel...

Our dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree…planted in a half wine barrel…

A Meyer Lemon is an excellent, sweet tasting lemon that is great for cooking.  They are thin skinned and have lots of juice.  It is the “lemon of choice” in our household. The Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree can grow in pots and even indoors.  It fruits abundantly in winter.  They are compact enough to grow on urban balconies and in small gardens.

Of all dwarf citrus trees, the Improved Meyer Lemon is one of the hardiest (it can withstand cold weather and some abuse). And it’s one of the most productive, for its size. And, best of all, it is a small compact tree which can grow well in most U.S. climates.

Meyer Lemon is a favorite of the “home grower.”  Because of it’s thin skin, it does not survive shipping well.  As a result, the Meyer Lemon is not widely grown by commercial lemon growers.

Yes, it is named after a man named Frank Meyer, an agriculture explorer who brought it from China in 1907.  A virus destroyed  most of the trees in the early 1900’s, then the Improved Meyer Lemon was introduced in the 1970’s.   It is a favorite of chefs and has been popularized by Alice Waters (Chez Panisse Restaurant and delicious, sustainable, organic  food revolution advocate) and featured by Martha Stewart.

Recipe:

LEMON CURD

Lemon curd is versatile.  It’s a traditional accompaniment to scones in an English tea setting.  This curd also may serve as a filling for your lemon tarts.  Save the egg whites for another use

Makes 2 cups.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME:   1 hour 20 minutes (includes chilling time)

8 large egg yolks. Reserve the egg whites for another use

Lemon zest from 2 or 3 lemons, finely grated

⅔ cup fresh lemon juice, approximately 3 lemons (Meyer Lemons if available)

1 cup sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons, cold, unsalted butter (1 ¼ sticks), cut into small pieces

 Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine.  

Cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the sides of the pan, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the pan from the heat.  Add the salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth with a wooden spoon.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate until chilled and set at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Lemon Curd...very lemony lemon curd

Lemon Curd…very lemony lemon curd

 

Next Topic:  Where to source quality whole leaf teas….

4 Comments

  1. I want one of those cute little tarts! What time is tea being served?

  2. I used this recipe for my award winning Lemon Cheesecake. However You are My favorite tart. Love your Book and Blog.

  3. Congratulations, Linda!!! I cannot wait to get my daily dose of tea/food wisdom!!!! I just picked up a few meyer lemons; perfect timing? Oh yes!

  4. I just got a bag of Meyer Lemons from a friend today. She also gave me an article from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that says when life gives you lemons, make this pie. It’s a recipes for a Meyer Lemon Chess Pie. I will just have to give both recipes a try.