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Meyer lemon surprise gift delivers welcome surprise

March 9, 2015

Meyer lemons contribute their unique sweet-tart flavor to individual lemon souffles. Food styled by Joan Moravek.

March, aptly named, is a slow, obligatory trudge. The scenery is best indoors: cup, counter, cookbook. A moment startled, one morning, by the buzzer; the man in the brown uniform handed off a brown box. Small, heavy and postmarked California.

I slit the tape, folded back the flaps and squinted into a blaze of sunshine: seven Meyer lemons, straight from Anns tree.

Outside, they were orange-yellow bright; inside they were orange-lemon sweet. I squeezed them down, stirred them thick and poured the brilliant lemon curd into a glass jar. Back then, my children were short and my refrigerator tall. I chose the highest shelf.

Some afternoons Id spring open the lid and spoon up one sunny bite. Some Id simply gaze at that fat jar of friendship all mine to savor.

MEYER LEMON SOUFFLES

Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: 9 minutes

Makes: 6 small souffles

Butter and sugar for pans

4 or 5 large Meyer lemons

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut up

Prep: Butter and sugar six 1/2-cup ramekins; set them on a rimmed baking sheet.

Squeeze: Zest 2 lemons. Squeeze as many lemons as needed to measure cup strained juice.

Thicken: In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together zest, lemon juice, yolks, cup sugar and the butter. Whisk over medium heat until thick, 10 to 12 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large, clean bowl. Let cool a few minutes.

Whip: Using a heavy-duty mixer and the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy. With the mixer running, cascade in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue whipping to glossy white peaks, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Fold: Whisk a big spoonful of whites into the lemon curd, to lighten it. Scrape in the remaining whites. Using a flexible spatula, fold curd into whites. Do this gently, so as not to crush the meringue and thoroughly, so as not to leave any white blobs. Ladle into prepared ramekins.

Bake: Slide the sheet of ramekins into a 425-degree oven and bake until golden and dramatically puffed, 8 to 9 minutes. Mindful of the hot ramekins, enjoy right away.

 

 


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