Monday, March 2, 2009

edible flowers and a meyer lemon craving

Ah the beauty of being a food writer. The newsletter I work for when I'm not baking for PattyCake, Eat Life (, allows me the pleasure of delving into the foods I love; by this I mean any food at all. Comforting foods, quirky combinations of flavors and textures, tantalizing sweets…you get the idea. Today I spent the blustery, snow-laden day warm in the kitchen, testing a recipe I wrote for Eat Life titled Meyer Lemon Crème with Beurre Noisette Shortbread Crumble and Edible Flowers (can you tell I’m a student of the French pastry arts with a name like that?)

I’d had a craving to bake with Meyer lemons for the past few weeks, in fact I’m fairly certain that all those in a 20 mile radius of my life are grateful I finally did as I couldn’t stop jabbering about it, my eyes raised to the heavens as I imagined their glory. And glory they had.

I chose to make a traditional curd, adding just a bit of tangelo zest for good measure, allowing it to chill, then folding in softly whipped cream to create a light, airy and irresistibly tart crème. Instead of baking the curd atop its traditional shortbread accompaniment, I made a beautifully simple beurre noisette, or browned butter, shortbread. I started by melting unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the milk solids turned light brown and a nutty aroma hovered in the air. To this I added sifted confectioner’s sugar, all-purpose flour, finely ground toasted almonds and a pinch of salt. Baked in the oven till lightly browned, cooled and crumbled the shortbread created a fantastic not-too-sweet foil to the citrusy crème. To finish, I merely dusted the layers with a bit of confectioner’s sugar (an ode to one of my favorite parts of a lemon bar) and sprinkled a few edible flowers on top (because edible flowers were indeed the main focus of the article).

Perfection in an afternoon snack. Afterwards, I played with my camera for a bit, documenting the beauty of edible flowers, canary-yellow Meyer lemons and the fact that even as the snow falls outside, spring is just around the corner.

*Chef’s note: The recipe for Meyer Lemon Crème with Beurre Noisette Shortbread Crumble and Edible Flowers as well as another edible flower recipe for a fabulous caprese salad with rosemary reduced balsamic will be published in the March issue of Eat Life (out on March 15th) and I’ll be sure to post it, as well as photos, here after its debut.

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