I’ve been working through a glorious box of Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies. Every year, I treat myself to a box of lemons from California and their lemons are the most beautiful, floral, bright sunny yellow fruits I’ve ever seen.
I made lemon possets, of course, because they’re just about the best dessert in the world. Serve with gingersnaps.
I made lemon curd because it is a food of the gods. I’ve toyed with a dozen recipes for shelf stable lemon curd, but I just don’t feel good about putting dairy and eggs in a jar and canning it, even pressure canning, so I put lemon curd in the refrigerator, where it lasts about three months, or in the freezer, where it will keep for six months. An 8-ounce jar will cover an 8 by 8-inch baking pan of shortbread for lemon bars in a jiffy. Or whip up egg whites into little pavlovas and plop some bright curd in the center, like the sun breaking through a cloudy sky.
With all those zested lemons, I squeezed almost a cup of beautiful lemon juice. I had just enough juice and three lovely lemons remaining. Reluctantly, I continued my experiments in marmalade. Sadly, I still don’t have a recipe I like. Oh well, there’s always next year.
12 Meyer lemons
8 cups vodka (see note)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 split vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (optional)
Zest the lemons using a vegetable peeler, removing only the yellow skin and leaving the white pith behind.
Divide the zest between to 2 quart jars. Cover with vodka, cover the jars and place in a dark closet for two weeks.
Remove the lemony vodka from the closet. Strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer and divide between four jars.
(for the limoncello)
Heat the sugar and water to boiling. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Add the cooled sugar syrup to 4 cups of the lemon vodka. Stir well and bottle in gift bottles. Set aside in a cool, dark spot for one month before gifting or drinking. Keep and serve cold from the freezer.
(for the crema di limoncello)
Heat the milk, sugar and vanilla seeds to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Combine with the lemon flavored vodka and shake well. Pour into bottles suitable for gifting. Store in the freezer and defrost for 30 minutes before serving.
Note: Because homemade liqueurs are one of my favorite hostess gifts, I keep a big jug of cheap vodka on hand. I know many people use grain alcohol for infusions, but that harsh back of the throat bite gets to me.
PS Oh, good golly, I’m exhausted. How do parents of little humans do it? Morty has turned our house upside down! He is such a joy and we love his presence so much. He makes us laugh all day and Louie just loves him.