meyer lemons: dessert and liqueur

Does everyone have a lemon bar recipe?

It seems so, but most people think of them as a summer dessert.  Peak season for this fruit is the same as other citrus varieties-November to early March-and while it may not be seasonal exactly where I live, it is grown slightly south of here.  The Meyer lemon was named after Frank Meyer, who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1900’s and brought this fruit back from China.  It is more of a cross between an orange and a lemon, making it less bitter.  Also, the rind is supposedly edible (a fact that I haven’t verified personally).

Aside from cheesecake, these lemon bars are the only non-chocolate dessert my youngest daughter will eat.

meyer lemon bars (can be made with regular lemons, too)

Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup extra-fine sugar

8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

Filling

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

pinch of salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (approximately 5 lemons)

Make crust:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with foil, extending the foil over the rim.  Spray foil with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine flour, extra fine sugar, and butter.  Mix with fingers until blended and press into the bottom of prepared dish.  Bake until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.

Make filling:  In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until blended.  Add eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until blended.  Pour filling onto hot crust.  Bake until set, approximately 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Lift out of pan using foil as handles.  Place on a cutting and dust with additional fine sugar before cutting into squares.

I promised a liqueur…

In the past, I referred to my family’s wacky holiday traditions.  In addition to adding the cow bell to the usual “Rock Band” lineup, our family does shots of limoncello on Christmas Day.  I’m not sure when it started, but I’m positive that my oldest brother initiated it.  We gather around the breakfast bar in the kitchen and the number of participants in any given round of shots is limited to the number of glasses on hand (currently 8), and they aren’t washed in between.  The rationalization that the alcohol kills any cross-contamination seems to work for us.

After reading several recipes, I decided on this one from the blog, rock ur party. It looks simple enough:  lemons + alcohol + patience = sweet, tart, sticky liqueur.  If you want to take this journey with me you will need a half gallon glass container with a lid (if my dairy farmer only knew what I was doing with my empty milk bottles), a 750 ml of grain alcohol, and 7-8 Meyer lemons.  It’s important that they are Meyer lemons because the rind isn’t bitter,which means   you can leave it on.  Otherwise, if you are using regular lemons, you have to peel the lemons first.

Quarter the lemons, put them in your container, add the grain alcohol, put the lid on.  Here’s where the patience comes in.  Leave it alone for a few days.  Pick your jar up and give it a shake.  Then leave it alone again.  Continue to do this until further notice.

Meet me back here in a few months and we’ll pick up where we left off…

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