Lemon Meringue Tarts

August 15: National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

We have not been as lucky with lemons lately when we have failed at making a lemon meringue pie (the filling was too runny and the meringue was overbrowned). So we tried to make the best of the situation and bake mini pies (tarts) using phyllo cups and lemon curd. The filling was too sweet when paired with a supposedly crispy-turned-soggy shell. Determined to overcome these Food Flops, we tried again to make mini lemon meringue tarts using a different crust (from our Pecan Tassies recipe). They turned out terrific for our tea time gathering! And now we can post our version of lemon meringue tarts for National Lemon Meringue Pie Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • lemon curd
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white 

Directions

Make the mini pie/tart crust by mixing the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the flour to make a soft dough. Roll into a ball, cover with a plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour to harden. Then divide the dough into 24 one-inch balls.

Flatten, press and shape the crusts in the wells of an ungreased muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Fill the crusts with a teaspoonful of lemon curd. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until foamy. Continue beating the egg whites and gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fill a piping bag with a star tip (we used Tip 1M) and squeeze a little meringue on top of the lemon curd. Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 5-7 minutes, being careful not to overbrown the meringue. Remove from the oven (be careful as the lemon curd is hot and liquefied). Use a toothpick to remove the tarts from the pan when cooled. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate any leftovers. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.

Notes

  • See our Food Flops page for a photo of our runny lemon meringue pie and other culinary catastrophies.

Lemonade Cake

Lemonade Cake

August 20: National Lemonade Day

Lemonade is summer’s quintessential thirst quencher. And when the temperatures rise to a scorching heat in South Texas, we definitely like to cool down with the tart and tasty citrus drink. Sure we support the neighborhood children whenever they open up their lemonade stands on the street corner. But what if the little entrepreneurs had a summer bake sale and offered slices of lemonade cake?!? That may be a creative idea (but perhaps too ambitious). Nevertheless, lemonade in a cake still makes a sweet summer treat, especially on National Lemonade Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn)

For the lemonade cake

  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) lemon cake mix
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the lemon cake mix with the water, vegetable oil and eggs. Mix until smooth. Pour into two 8-inch greased round cake pans. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, testing the cake for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool the cakes in the pan for about 15 minutes.

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Make the lemon glaze by mixing the lemonade concentrate with powdered sugar in a bowl until smooth. Poke holes in the warm cake with the tines of a fork. Drizzle the glaze on the cake, letting it seep through the holes. Cool the cakes completely. Invert one of the cakes onto a cake board or plate. Make the lemonade frosting.

Lemonade Cake

For the lemonade frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons lemonade concentrate, thawed (leftover from the cake recipe above)
  • 3+ cups powdered sugar
  • 2+ tablespoons water

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the lemonade. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Thin with water for a spreadable consistency.

Lemonade Cake

Spread frosting on top of the bottom layer of the cake. Top with the second cake. Spread frosting on top layer and down the sides of the cake to crumbcoat. Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour to set.

Lemonade Cake

Frost or decorate as desired (we covered our cake in rosettes; refer to our blog post for the Mystical Rosette Cake for additional directions). Slice and serve the cake.

Lemonade Cake

Notes

  • We doubled the recipe for the lemonade frosting to crumbcoat and decorate the cake in rosettes. We tinted half of it with a lemon yellow color for the latter.
  • Try substituting pink lemonade and tinting the batter and frosting in pink for a different color cake.
  • Love lemons? Search our blog for other lemon recipes!

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

June: National Lemon Month

Many cultures have their own version of boneless meat, which is coated in seasoned flour/breadcrumbs/batter, then fried or baked, and accompanied with gravy or sauce. Lemon chicken from L&L Drive-Inn, a popular chain restaurant in Hawaii and in select spots around the world, is one of Islander and her brother’s favorite deep fried chicken dishes with a tangy sweet lemon sauce.

During our undergraduate years in Hawaii, we would walk down our hilly campus to the L&L restaurant and treat ourselves to a cheap lunch or dinner when we did not want to eat cafeteria food or cook in our dorm kitchen. When we first ordered the lemon chicken, it looked like a giant, sliced chicken nugget with a sunny yellow dipping sauce on the side. As simple as the entrée was, we just loved the lemon sauce! It really is what makes the chicken a delicious dish.

For National Lemon Month, make lemon chicken for a local-style plate lunch.

Recipe

(Adapted from L&L Drive-Inn via the Star-Bulletin Archives)

For the chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken (we used thinly sliced chicken breast meat)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chicken-flavored bouillon (we crushed a bouillon cube)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Pound the chicken meat to ¼-inch thickness or cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside and make the marinade. In a large glass bowl, mix together the water and vegetable oil. Blend in the cornstarch and flour. Stir in the egg. Season with salt, bouillon, white pepper and garlic powder.

Lemon Chicken

Mix to make a smooth batter. Coat the chicken in the marinade and leave for at least two hours. Deep fry the chicken in 350-degree oil until golden brown (5 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

Lemon Chicken

For the lemon sauce

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar (we used cane sugar vinegar)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • small piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon of yellow food coloring
  • slices of lemon

Directions

In a measuring cup, make a slurry by dissolving the cornstarch in lemon juice. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.

Lemon Chicken

Add the ginger, lemon extract and a few slices of lemon. Tint with yellow food coloring. Slowly stir in the cornstarch-lemon juice mixture until thickened and smooth. Discard the ginger. Serve the sauce on the side with the lemon chicken.

Lemon Chicken

Notes

  • The lemon sauce may be made ahead of time and re-heated. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
  • This lemon chicken is a Chinese-influenced recipe. There are other lemon chicken recipes inspired by international ingredients.
  • Serve L&L Drive-Inn lemon chicken with scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Onolicious!
  • For another fruit-flavored sauce with chicken, try the recipe for honey orange glazed chicken listed in our September archives (National Chicken Month).
  • Love lemons? Search our blog for more lemon recipes.

Lemon Cream Pie

Lemon Cream Pie

November 29: National Lemon Cream Pie Day

Islander loves the lemon fresh taste in cakes. So naturally she likes them in pies, too. Although pumpkin, pecan, apple and sweet potato pies are popular during the current season, lemon cream pie is a nice alternative. The sweet-tart citrus flavor, smooth velvety texture and fluffy whipped cream topping bring to mind sunny and warm days. Make someone’s upcoming holidays happy with a pie and make lemon cream pie on National Lemon Cream Pie Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

For the lemon pie

  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (5-6 lemons)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pie crust (we used a graham cracker crust)

Directions

Juice the lemons and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Stir in the sour cream. Add the lemon juice.

Lemon Cream Pie

Mix in the salt and blend well. Pour into the pie crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. The middle of the filling will still jiggle slightly. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare the cream topping.

Lemon Cream Pie

For the whipped cream topping

  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • lemon peel curls (optional garnish)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the lemon cream pie. Or fill a pastry bag with a decorating tip and pipe designs on top of the pie. Garnish with lemon peel curls (optional). Chill the pie for at least another hour before slicing and serving.

Lemon Cream Pie

Notes

  • If using a frozen pre-made pie shell, bake it in the oven according to the directions on the package until golden brown. Cool before filling.
  • Do not worry if the lemon filling cracks during baking. They will be covered in cream and still taste delicious.
  • The cream topping ingredients yield a generous amount. Feel free to half the recipe to cover/decorate the lemon cream pie.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Lemon Chiffon Cake

March 29: National Lemon Chifffon Cake Day

We recently blogged about lemon macarons to welcome the spring season. Their sunshine yellow color and fresh lemon scent brighten up our days when it is cloudy or when there are spring showers. Likewise, during Lent, we like to eat a light dessert, such as lemon chiffon cake. The zesty glaze enhances the fruit’s flavor of this simple, citrusy treat.

Make lemon chiffon cake with lemon butter glaze to celebrate spring, a love for lemons and National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from AllRecipes.com)

For the lemon chiffon cake

  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 6 eggs, divided use
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions

Zest and juice one lemon. Separate the eggs, reserving the yolks and whites. In a bowl, combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder and ½ cup of sugar. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the vegetable oil, water and lemon zest and mix well.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Stir the lemon extract in the batter. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and continue beating until stiff.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Fold a portion of the egg whites into the batter and gently blend well. Continue folding in the egg whites until the batter is evenly mixed. Put the batter in an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Remove the cake from the oven and invert the tube pan with the cake still in it. Allow it to cool completely. Loosen the edges with a spatula to remove the cake. Brush away any crumbs and place on a wire rack. Prepare the glaze.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

For the lemon butter glaze

(Adapted from Wilton)

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grate lemon zest
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Mix in the lemon zest. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Mix in the fresh lemon juice and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Use immediately on the cake before it hardens.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Pour the glaze on the top of the cake and allow it to drip down the sides. Quickly spread the glaze around the sides of the cake (optional). Allow the glaze to set/harden before slicing the cake.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Notes

  • We love the lemony butter glaze a lot! So in addition to drizzling it on top of the cake, we iced the sides as well to get the full flavor of the citrus all over.
  • Look for more lemon recipes on our blog.

Lemon Macarons

 Lemon Macarons

March 20: World Macaron Day and First Day of Spring

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When Mum gives you homemade lemon curd, make macarons! That is exactly what we did to observe World Macaron Day. So we added lemon flavoring and a sunny shade of yellow to basic macaron shells and filled them with Mum’s homemade lemon curd. Take the opportunity to make lemon macarons as they are a wonderful way to welcome the spring season.

Recipe

(Adapted from TeaTime magazine – January/February 2010)

For the lemon macarons (Italian meringue method)

  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites (fresh, unpasteurized and aged overnight at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • yellow food coloring (we used AmeriFoods brand lemon yellow food paste gel color)

Directions

Sift the almond flour/meal with the powdered sugar. Grind in a food processor in batches to remove any lumps (optional). Whip the egg whites until peaks form.

Lemon Macarons

Make a simple syrup to stabilize the egg whites by boiling the sugar and water together until it reaches a temperature of 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer (or until it reaches a soft ball stage). Pour into the egg whites and whip again until stiff and glossy. Fold in the almond flour/meal-sugar mixture until the consistency “flows like magma.” Stir in the lemon extract.

Lemon Macarons

Tint the macaronage with yellow to make a sunny shade of lemon. Pipe one-inch discs on a parchment paper on top of an insulated baking sheet. Let the discs air dry to develop a thin skin for at least 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes. Watch the “feet” develop, but be careful not to brown or burn the macarons. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the macarons from the parchment paper. Sort by size and match pairs. Make the lemon curd filling.

Lemon Macarons

For the lemon curd

Lemon Curd

Directions

To complete the macarons, spread lemon curd between two shells. Sandwich them together and repeat the process for the rest of the shells. Refrigerate the macarons to set. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Macarons

Notes

  • Search our site for more macaron recipes. Or click on our MacAttack page to see our macaron gallery. Happy World Macaron Day!
  • Dale Carnegie coined the famous quote: “When fate hands us a lemon, let’s try to make a lemonade” (see variations of the phrase at the Innocent English website). With this statement, he meant to encourage others to turn a negative into a positive position and to take the opportunity to change a disadvantageous situation into an advantageous one.
  • Thanks to Highlander’s Mum for the lemon curd and recipe.  Store-bought instead of homemade lemon curd may be substituted for the lemon macaron filling.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for the ground almonds from Germany.
  • See our Food Flops page for our lemon macaron mess.
  • This post is our entry into the MacTweets monthly challenge #27 for World Macaron Day. Take a look at all the lovely macs on the site!
  • HI Cookery is proud to partner with M5 Cake to make macarons this month. See our lemon macarons paired with the strawberry macarons that we made together below and on their site.

macarons

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour

August 25: National Whiskey Sour Day

We somehow acquired some liquor samples on our shelf over the years. They are used more for cooking and baking than making mixed drinks. However, Islander tries to be a bartender for our blog on national liquor holidays, while Highlander is the occasional taste-tester of her spirited experiments. Below is a recipe for a Bourbon-based lemony libation that we made for National Whiskey Sour Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Mix That Drink)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces whiskey (we used Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ice
  • maraschino cherry

Directions

Pour the whiskey, sugar and lemon juice in a shaker with ice.  Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Whiskey Sour

Notes

  • Whiskey Sour may be served with or without ice, depending on one’s preferences.
  • A thin slice or curled peel of orange (traditional), lemon or lime may also be used to garnish the rim of the cocktail glass.