"When life hands you lemons," well... you've got options. A few months back, I posted a recipe for an amazingly tasty Rosemary Lemon Cake. Having all those lemons around sort of put me on a citrus cooking kick. The sweet tang of lemon is so refreshing for these hot July days, that I just couldn't get enough of the stuff. During an especially warm evening class at Shiso Kitchen, I needed something to cool us all down at the end of the meal, and I turned to a traditional Lemon Curd as inspiration. Lemon Curd is an old-school English recipe for a custard-style spread for scones. Using my more pudding based dessert as a case study, I found that everyone who tasted it loved it, but just couldn't get past the 'curd' in the name, and said they would never pick up the recipe based on the name. Bonus: this recipe is gluten free!
Another delicious by-product of the Rosemary Lemon Cake came in the from of a sprightly spritzer-style cocktail. I have previously mentioned that in the summer I love to keep some homemade infused simple syrup in the fridge for just that type of thing. Recently, I put it all together, and the result is the totally refreshing Lemon (insert favorite herb here) Spritzer. When making the simple syrup, you can use any fresh herb that you like. Mint, basil and rosemary are among my summer favs.
Creamy Lemon Pudding with Pecan & Almond Crust
For the nut crust, pulse together all ingredients below in a food processor until it 'catches' and has the texture of wet sand:
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
water, as needed
For the pudding:
2 egg yolks
2 lemons, juiced
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
whipped cream (as desired)
fresh berries (as desired)
1. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a sauce pan, and cook over medium-low heat, while slowly whisking/stirring for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens to a pudding-like texture. Remove from heat.
2. Press the nut crust into a pie dish, or several small ramekins. Pour the custard over the top and refrigerate for a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour or until the custard sets.
3. Serve with fresh whipped cream and seasonal berries.
Lemon Basil Spritzer
For 1 cocktail:
2 Tbs. Lemon Basil simple syrup (see below)
1 oz. vodka
5 oz. club soda
1 lemon wedge
2 fresh torn basil leaves
1. Pour the simple syrup, vodka, club soda over ice into a tall glass. Add basil, and mix with a stir stick. Garnish with lemon wedge and serve.
For simple syrup:
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
whole, fresh herbs of your choice
1. Combine all ingredients into a small sauce pan. Stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar.
2. Turn heat to medium, and bring mixture to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, and then remove from heat and allow to cool. Pull out the herbs and discard.
3. Store the simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville, where she teaches classes. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com.