In Singapore, we scarcely need to be reminded of summer, since its virtually perpetually summer-ish here. Despite that, I still love how lemons always manage to intensify the feel of summer, especially when they are baked into something delicious!
A while back, I wrote a post about Fresh Lemon Bars, and now, I've found another wonderful way to use lemons, and that is to make them into a versatile Lemon filling! This filling is truly amazing. On the first taste, it is almost too tart to bare, but by the second, third bite, the fresh, clean scent of lemon begins to fill your senses, the tangy sweetness of the filling making another mouthful irresistable. It can be used to fill a variety of things, and from one batch of this lemon filling, I made Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Lemon Meringue Pies =D
For the cake, I merely sandwiched the lemon filling between two layers of yellow cake, slap on some cream cheese frosting over the top, and voila, I had a delicious, light and surprisingly sophisticated cake on hand! It took almost no time at all to whip up. Unfortunately, only one slice was left by the time my sister was free to take photos of it, and so I can only present you with this one and only photo =) It is entirely possible to bake a round cake instead, cut 3 layers out of it, then frost the entire cake, instead of the just the top. You'll have a lovely lemon cheese layer cake on hand in the blink of an eye.
1 cups plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
50g butter, softened
2 small eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
* yield 1 30 X 20 cm tray of cake
Combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, before beating in the vanilla. Reducing the speed of the mixer, beat in the flour mixture alternatively with the milk, until just combined, scraping frequently. Bake in a preheated 180 degree celcius oven for around 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
You can either make one layer and split that, either with a knife or a piece of dental floss, or bake two layers.
3 large lemons
1 tbspn cornstarch
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten, set aside in a heatproof bowl.
*yields 1 cup. Only 1/2 cup needed for the cake
Zest and juice lemons. Combine the zest, juice and cornstarch in a saucepan until combined. Add butter and sugar, heat until boiling, then boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Beat a small amount of the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, then pouring quickly back into saucepan, stirring rapidly. Reduce heat to low, cooking until thick, but do not boil.
Once at desired consistency, press a piece of cling film or plastic over the surface of the filling and allow to come to room temperature. Once cool, it is ready to use.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cups powdered sugar
3 oz cream cheese
45g butter, softened
1 tspn vanilla extract
*yields 1 cup.
Beat everything up in a bowl, scrapping frequently, at midium speed. After 1 minute, continue beating at increased speed until smooth and fluffy.
Don't think I need to go into details on how to assemble right? =D
Once you have the lemon filling on hand, the Lemon Meringue Pie is drop dead easy. This is my first time making LMP, and I have to say, I love the result! Can't believe I've never eaten LMP until now...I also wanted to experiment with tiny LMP, because transporting the whole LMP would have been a nightmare, with that towering cloud of meringue just waiting to slide off the pie at the first opportunity. I'm happy to report that tiny LMP was a success! Gonna be seeing some of those at parties...
1/2 a recipe of short crust pastry [around 250g]
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
If you've never made meringue before...do a search on google, there are tons of dos and don'ts about meringue on the net, so I'll save myself the trouble of listing them out here. I played around with the pastry this time, making around 6 mini LMP, and around 10 tiny LMP =P
For the mini LMP, simply roll out the pastry, cut circles out of it, and press into a muffin tin, pricking the pastry well before blind baking. To make the base for the tinies, cut rectangles out of the pastry, prick it, then bake it until cooked.
Spoon in the filling, top with the meringue. Make sure the meringue touches the crust, then send into a preheated 200 degree celsius oven, baking for around 10 minutes, or until the meringue is brown. And don't freak out, it won't be crumbly at all, but is meant to be marshmallow-y ;)