June 5, 2015

Lemon desserts for your summer sweet tooth

Lemons and sugar are a match made in heaven.

Lemons and sugar are a match made in heaven.

Summer is a time for lemonade, lemon bars and lemon ice. Plus, this bright yellow citrus fruit is sour and tangy and perfect for baking. Many families have top-secret recipes for bars, drinks and desserts made with lemons. Thankfully, lemon trees produce year round. According to Sunkist, one tree can produce 500 – 600 pounds of lemons in one year. For super fresh lemons, look for ones from California and Arizona, the two biggest lemon-growing states in the U.S. Together, their production accounts for 95 percent of the lemons grown in the country. Here are a few recipes to try while working on Austin culinary arts homework:

Lemon bars
A quintessential summer dessert that many people bring to barbecues and gatherings during the summer would not be the same without lemons. Blogger Crazy for Crust uses marshmallow meringue in her lemon bars. For crust, crush up buttered shortbread cookies (easy and delicious!). The meringue is made with egg whites and sugar that have been whisked continuously in a bowl over simmering water until they reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a perfect opportunity to test out your candy thermometer. Once the mix reaches the proper temp, add it to an electric mixing bowl (or whisk by hand) and beat until peaks start to form. Scoop the meringue and add it to your lemon bar base. A great base option comes from blogger Happy Hooligans. She uses lemon pudding with added lemon juice and milk for her version. Whisk these three ingredients together and pour on top of the cookie crust. Then scoop the marshmallow meringue mix on top and flatten it out. Here you can get artsy and draw interesting designs in the bar with a whipped cream topping. Then, sprinkle lemon zest or other fresh fruits as your final topping. Get patriotic with blueberries and strawberries for a 4th of July motif.

Lemon sugar cookie tarts
For tiny little bite-sized tarts that are perfect finger foods, try this recipe by Inquiring Chef. The blogger uses cupcake tins to make lemon tarts. The crust is a simple cookie dough that has been refrigerated so it keeps its shape in the oven. Simply portion the dough so that there is enough for each baking tin and then spread it as if the individual cupcake areas were their own pie. Then, add the lemon filling, which is made with eggs, whipped cream, sugar and lemon. The baking time for these morsels is only 10-12 minutes, or until the crust has set. After the tarts are fully cooked, set them in a safe place to cool to room temperature. Once they have cooled, place the tarts in the refrigerator until you want to serve or eat them. Add a touch of whipped cream on top and you’re good to go.

Lemon cheesecake mousse
Cheesecake is so rich and decadent when it comes in its regular form. Blogger Let’s Dish created a recipe for lemon cheesecake mousse that is unbelievably good. It’s perfect for doling out into a tall glass or small dish for those super hot nights during summertime. All you need is 15 minutes and the following ingredients: whipped cream, cream cheese, lemon curd or lemon pie filling, vanilla and powdered sugar. Use a stand or handheld mixer to whip all the ingredients together into one uniform mix. For a fancy look, add it to a piping bag with a large hole and pipe the mousse onto bowls or into a dish. Add some fresh fruit to the top and enjoy.