|Photo by Anderson Guerra from Pexels|
Recipe Alert: Fake Lemon Souffle at the end of the post.
Before I had a lemon tree, I thought I'd be picking lemons on sunny summer days.
To my surprise, I learned that the lemons from the trees many of us have in Houston are harvested around Thanksgiving.
The week before Thanksgiving, Darling Hubby put on his suit of armor and marched forth to harvest the lemons.
Just kidding about the armor, but lemon trees have wicked 2-inch thorns that can stab and rip the unwary. It's planted in the corner of our backyard next to a brick wall. I pity anyone who tries to scale that wall from the other side!
But Lemons Are Yellow
Yes, the ones you buy in the supermarket are, but, like oranges, supermarket lemons are given a beauty treatment.
Besides, these are Meyer Lemons. They grow much larger than the common variety sold in grocery stores, have about 4 times as much juice, and very few seeds.
The lemons begin to turn yellow after harvest. You can see one has started to turn.
If we'd left them on the tree until December, they would be mostly yellow. Since the weather forecast was for another freeze, we picked them all. They'd survived one freeze already—see the dark speckled spots on the exterior? That's freeze damage. We didn't want to lose them with another freeze.
What To Do With 3 Dozen Lemons?
That was my dilemma after we'd washed each lemon. Where to store more than 3 dozen lemons? Small fridge in the garage where we store soft drinks and beer. Produce drawer in the kitchen fridge. Fruit basket on the counter.
|The largest are the size of softballs!|
I didn't want to waste the bounty, but there was no way I could make a lemon something every day.
So Darling Hubby grabbed a strainer and a big bowl. He cut each lemon in half and squeezed the juice into a strainer to remove any seeds. I zested the prettier ones.
I poured the juice—organic and homegrown—into freezer bags and placed the zest in a smaller freezer bag. The now juiceless lemon halves went to our compost pile.
Fake Lemon Souffle
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons plain white flour
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Select an ovenproof baking dish that will make a lovely presentation since you'll be serving directly from the baking dish. Also put on some water to boil for step 6.
2. Grate the rind of the lemon until you have 2 teaspoons of rind. Squeeze the lemon to yield at least 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. In a bowl, mix sugar, salt, flour, rind, and juice. (I actually use 4 tablespoons of lemon juice because the homegrown lemons don't taste as acidic.
3. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a glass or metal bowl, not plastic. (Egg whites won't beat well in plastic.) In a large measuring cup or small bowl, beat the yolks, milk, and butter. Add this to the flour mixture. Then beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold this into the flour mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into the ovenproof bowl. Set the dish in a larger ovenproof pan. Pour hot water in the outer pan.
(This technique is called a water bath, and it keeps soufflés and puddings from burning or getting hard on the bottom and sides.) The water should come up to at least 1 inch on the side of the baking dish but not so high that it may slosh into the dish.
5. Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes. You know it's done when you insert a knife around the sides and there's no liquid left because it's all been absorbed.
6. Serves 4-6. This delicate lemon dessert isn't really a soufflé, but it's as light and delicious as any soufflé you've ever had, and it's delicious served hot or cold.
Something lemony makes the gray winter day so much better. Try it!
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