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BellaOnline's Desserts Editor

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August 28 2006 Desserts Newsletter



Sweet Sensations
Editor: Sandra L. Garth

August 28, 2006
Issue #2

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CONTENTS
o Editor's Notes
o Lemons
o REVIEW: Krusteaz®Lemon Bars Supreme Mix
o Lemon Recipes
o Copyright Info

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o Editor's Notes
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Hi Dessert Lovers!

This issue is all about lemons, one of the most versatile and economical fruits around. Hope you’ve had a chance to stop by our forum. We have a dessert name game going on that has prompted some interesting responses. Also, in the poll on the most popular chocolate, milk or dark, dark chocolate seems to be the overwhelming favorite with 67% vs. 33% for milk chocolate. Don’t dismay milk chocolate lovers, it’s all good and it’s all chocolate. Enjoy the articles and recipes. Don’t forget to let me know if there is a particular topic you’d like to see covered.

Life is Short, Have Dessert
Sandra


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o Lemon Lore
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In today’s vernacular the word lemon has some bad connotations. If you buy a defective product, or pet (yikes!) you’re said to have a lemon. There is even a lemon law to help you recoup your financial loss. Going through some bad times? Well meaning friends are apt to say “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. The lemon took the scenic route from the Mediterranean region to China before landing in Florida and California. Most every part of the lemon can be used and its uses go way beyond cooking and baking. From medicinal applications to house cleaning the lemon is one of the most versatile fruits. Lemons grew in popularity during the Gold Rush Era. Miners routinely ate a diet that was lacking in Vitamin C. During this period scurvy was almost at epidemic proportions. When it was revealed that lemon juice contained high amounts of Vitamin C the demand increased and lemon trees were planted en masse.

Anyway You Slice It

Cut a thin slice from each end. Score fruit lengthwise and then remove peel. A knife tends to make it come off cleaner, but it’s easiest with your fingers. Remove all the pith, (the white part). This step is best done with a knife, just scrape it away. Your next step is to cut the lemon in half lengthwise. Then with shallow V- cuts, remove white center cores, and seeds; and cut lemon in small chunks.

What You Get For the Money

6-8 lemons = 1 cup of juice
6-8 lemons = 35% of Vitamin C needed for one day
Juice of 1 lemon = 90% USDA for women
1 lemon = 18 calories and 5 g of sodium

More Lemon FYI

Arizona and California supply 95% of the country’s crop. Libson and Eureka are two of the major varieties but Meyer’s are one the most popular. Meyer lemons are named after Frank Meyer who discovered it in China in the early 1900’s. The Meyer lemon is actually a cross between a lemon and a type of orange. It is less acid, sweeter, and has a thinner skin. Its thin skin keeps it from being shipped so it’s generally not grown commercially. When shopping for lemons keep in mind that larger, thick skinned ones have less juice. Choose fruit that is bright yellow, glossy and firm. The juiciest ones are going to be heavy with fine grained skin. Lemons will keep 2 weeks at room temperature and almost 6 weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Let your lemons sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to get the most juice. Can’t wait that long? Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.


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o REVIEW: Krusteaz®Lemon Bars Supreme Mix
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Homemade. Made Easy. That’s the slogan for Krusteaz® baking mixes. From pancake mixes to fat free fudge brownies the Krusteaz® brand is holding its own in the baking isle. The company started out in 1932 with only a pie crust and an idea to make home baking easy and quick. In keeping with our lemon theme, I tried the Lemon Bars Supreme Mix.

Prep and Baking

The package contained two pouches, one for the filling and one for the crust. Additional ingredients needed were 1/3 cup of water and 3 eggs. A quick stir of the water and eggs followed by blending in the filling mix, took less than two minutes. The filling had a pronounced lemon aroma, not bad or artificial smelling. After spraying my baking dish with a butter flavored non-stick spray, I simply patted the crust mix into the bottom. I was surprised that there was nothing more to add. The directions indicated that the crust would be pale after baking; it also felt underdone to the touch. As tempted as I was to pop it back in the oven, I followed the instructions and only baked it for eight minutes. The next step was to pour the filling on top of the crust and bake in a 350° oven for 22-26 minutes, or until the center didn’t jiggle. It took 30 minutes.

The Taste Test

The bars were quite tasty with an equal amount of tart and sweet flavors. The crust was like a chewy sugar cookie and just a little bit sticky. Dusting the top with powdered sugar was optional and I’m glad I opted out. That would have made them too sweet. For the price of the mix and the time involved it was a pretty good deal. You should try them.


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o Lemon Recipes
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The tie that binds this recipe collection is of course lemons, and there may be other similarities. When talking about sweet lemon treats, you have to include the classic, Lemon Meringue Pie. Personally, making pie dough from scratch has been relegated to the same category as cooking regular rice the long way. I’ve stopped berating myself for not mastering those two culinary techniques. With the convenience of pre-made pie shells and almost ready dough mix, the process has been made easier. Better still, and much to my delight the fairy godmother of pie dough has seen fit to grace me with her presence. After 30 years, the mister decided to bake pies. My husband makes the flakiest and most tender piecrust I have ever had. Let me tell you my domestic inner goddess was not offended. Always willing to share, he reveals his Lemon Meringue Pie recipe and his five no fail steps to the best piecrust ever.

Frank’s Lemon Meringue Pie

1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 ¾ cup water
2/3 cup lemon juice
3 TBS butter
1 tsp grated lemon rind (optional)
1-2 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)
Baked 9-inch pie crust
Meringue

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. In a separate mixing bowl blend egg yolks, water and lemon juice (If you have fresh squeezed ok, but it will still turn out well with bottled juice). Blend ingredients with a wire whisk 1-2 minutes till foamy, then stir into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, and don’t stop stirring whatever you do until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove pan from the heat and stir in butter, lemon rind, and food coloring (if you’re using it). Spoon into prepared pie shell and then make your meringue. Spread the meringue over the still hot lemon filling, taking time to spread to the edges to seal. Bake at 325° for 25- 30 minutes. Let pie cool before slicing and store leftovers (if there are any) in the refrigerator.

Pie Crust

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup plus 1 TBS shortening
3-4 TBS ice water

Be sure and read Frank’s tips below for the perfect pie crust.

Mix the flour and salt then cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle ice water a tablespoon at a time over mixture. Mix with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened, too much water and your dough will be tough. Shape dough in a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When ready to use, roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Take the extra time to keep dough in a circle, but don‘t play around with it too much. Gently lift the dough and place in the pie plate. Trim any excess edges and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Fill as directed.

Tips for a Perfect Crust

Precise measurements are a must.
Learning to determine the correct amount of water by sight and touch is important also, due to temperature and humidity of kitchen.
Blend dry ingredients with water until you have pea size particles.
Refrigerate dough covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.
Roll dough out in a circle, starting at center and rolling outward to keep circle shape.

Meringue

3 egg whites
½ tsp cream tartar
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

The beaters and bowl should be completely grease free so that you will get the desired volume from your beaten egg whites. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl at medium speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form (when you lift the beaters the meringue will turn under slightly). Add the sugar, 1 TBS at a time beating at high speed till stiff peaks form and the sugar has dissolved. Stir in vanilla just until blended, too much mixing will break down the meringue. Use as directed for the chosen recipe.


Triple layers, triple flavor. Be prepared to get in some extra exercise after eating this one.

Triple Layer Lemon Dessert

Lemon Filling
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup water
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 TBS butter
3 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS lemon rind (optional)
1 cup Shortbread crumbs*
3 TBS melted butter
Lemon Mousse

Lemon Filling

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; add water, and mix well. Don’t worry if the sugar and cornstarch doesn’t completely dissolve. This usually doesn’t happen until they are heated thoroughly. Cook over medium heat ,stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Pay attention to it. The mixture will scorch easily. Boil 1 minute.
Gradually stir about ¼ of the hot mixture into the egg yolks; then add to remaining hot mixture, again stirring constantly. Return to boiling or until temperature on a thermometer reads 165°, keep stirring. Remove from heat and stir in butter and rest of ingredients. Let filling cool completely. While it is cooling make the crust. In an 8 inch square baking dish, combine butter and shortbread crumbs. Mix well and press evenly against the sides of the dish. If you only have a 9 inch dish that will work also. There always seems to be more crumbs than you need. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool. The whole purpose of baking the crust is to make it hold together. When cooled to room temperature pour Lemon Filling inside crust and then top with the Lemon Mousse. Garnish with grated lemon zest or lemon curls. Store in refrigerator.

Lemon Mousse

3 egg yolks
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, whipped and divided

Beat egg yolks in a small bowl at high speed of an electric mixer, till thick and lemon colored ( of course). Slowly add condensed milk and blend thoroughly. Add lemon juice and mix well. Gently fold the whipped cream into lemon mixture. A mousse is supposed to be light so gently folding in the ingredients helps to keep it that way.



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o Copyright Information
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