Sweet on lemons

When life hands you lemons, make lemon bars, cake

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Last week's food column mentioned that Moroccan cooks consider preserved lemons an essential ingredient in many dishes native to their country.

Although preserved lemons are not common to American cookery, few households in the United States are ever without fresh lemons. Lemons, including their juice, pulp and rinds, have so many culinary uses that entire cookbooks have been devoted to this versatile citrus fruit alone. In addition, books on health and beauty, cleaning, even decorating, contain chapters dedicated to the many ingenious uses for lemons.

But no matter how well a lemon incorporates itself into beverages, salad dressings, main courses and more, I suppose the lemon's effortless glide into the realm of desserts makes it most appealing of all. Lemon bars, pound cakes, cookies, pies and pastries we love each and every one. Lemon bars, with their buttery crust and tangy-sweet, silky filling are good on their own, but they can also satisfy longings for lemon meringue pie and luscious lemon tarts.

And for those with a fondness for cakes, especially pounds cakes, few would challenge the appeal of freshly squeezed lemon juice or grated lemon zest as refreshing flavor enhancements.

I think lemons are incredible little things that taste good, smell good and even clean good. And in life that's a lot to be handed from something so small.

Sue Ade is a gourmet baker and collector of vintage cooking utensils and cookbooks. She can be reached at sueade@aol.com.

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