You may not remember the saga of my little Meyer Lemon tree at the office, with its one heroic lemon. If you are interested, you can find it here. I am delighted to report that this good sized lemon has actually ripened. So , while the bent and straining 18" tree recovers from it's outsize burden, I'm going to make something of my one fruit citrus crop.
Back when I first posted about my indoor lemon-of-the-north, I made a lemon tart recipe that has been a standard with me, and a much favored dessert. I made it with some inferior store-bought puff pastry, and some supermarket meyer lemons and it was very nice anyhow. But I have been looking around for something that only needs one lemon, so I will know that I am tasting the Pittsburgh Lemon when I try it.
I was tickled when I saw that this week's NYTimes Magazine featured lemons and some good sounding things to do with them. Although I have a few bones to pick with foodwriter Amanda Hesser from time to time , we agree entirely on the importance of the lemon. Like Ms. Hesser, I believe that the lemon is a sparkler and a "desert island" item. Food, drink, seasoning, preservative,gelling agent, antiseptic, perfume-there's nothing else quite like it. There are a number of recipes in the article I intend to try-a lemoncello, a Babbo vinagrette, and the chicken, all appeal. (Although for lemon chicken it's hard to beat just roasting a bird with a couple of morroccan-style preserved lemons and some garlic inside.) But none of the recipes were one-lemon items, so they must wait.
In the end, I decided on a slightly adapted version of the one lemon tart from Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets, a favorite collection of French desserts. This recipe is from Rollet-Pradier, a Parisian patisserie and tea shop, and it uses every scrap of the fruit, except the seeds. Just the thing for my treasured and cossetted lemon. If you would like to make it too, this is what you need:
1 partially baked 9" tart shell (which I made from ordinary all-butter homemade pastry)
1 "average" lemon, washed and dried (average refers to size...mine was average in size only, I was sure)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tbsps cornstarch
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Put the partly baked shell, in its tart pan, on the sheet. Slice the lemon and remove all seeds. Put in food processor with the sugar and puree thoroughly, Pour in a bowl, whisk in the eggs, then the cornstarch, and finally the butter. Pour into crust. Bake 20 minutes. Turn oven to 350 and bake until bubbly and browned, about 20 minutes more, per Ms. Greenspan. Mine took more like 40 minutes, but my oven is cranky. Cool to room temp, remove from pan, and devour with like minded lemon aficiondos.
Call me crazy, but I may go so far as trying to plant the seeds, which I have not yet thrown out.