Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Meyer Lemon Bites

Eureka on the Left, Meyer to the Right: photo by Wayne Surber

Meyer lemons--another "not until I came to LA" delight. These mild and sweet lemons have begun their annual appearance at the farmers' market, and if you Californians take an afternoon ramble around the block, I bet you'll find a Meyer lemon tree or two in your neighborhood.

Their smooth, dark yellow-ornage skin gives them away, as does their (usually) squat, circular shape. Their peels tend to be softer and less thick than your regular lemons. They were first discovered in China, and scientists believe they are a hybrid of a regular lemon and a mandarin or orange. Due to their sweetness, I like my Meyers in desserts, but they can work in savory recipes as well, but not as well in things that should be acidic, like vinaigrettes.

Some recipes I want to try include preserved Meyer lemons, Meyer lemon black pepper icebox cookies, Meyer lemon martini, and the very intriguing Meyer lemon pizza. For even more on these special citrus fruits, check out Cooking with Amy's All About Meyer Lemons.

On to my New Year's Day creation. Take a recipe for lemon bars, a mini-muffin pan, and viola. They're so small, no one will know you've already broken your resolutions by baking them.

Meyer Lemon Bites

3/4 c. flour
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
3/4 of a stick of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tbsp. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2 tbsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tsp. finely grated Meyer lemon zest
powdered sugar for sifting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 24-count mini-muffin pan.

For the crust
Whisk the flour and sugar in a medium bowl to combine. Using a pastry mixer or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Using your fingertips, press about 1/2 tbsp. of dough in each mini-muffin cup, filling about 1/3 of each cup. Bake for about 10 minutes, until tops are pale gold.

For the filling
While the crust is baking, blend the eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Blend in the flour, sugar and baking powder until thoroughly combined (iIf you're not lazy like me, you can mix the dry ingredients together in a seperate bowl before adding to the lemon mix. I didn't want to dirty another bowl).

Add a few spoonfuls of lemon mixture to each mini-muffin cup. You can fill them quite full--they don't rise much. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes in pan, then remove to rack. When completely cool, sift powdered sugar over the top.


Anonymous said...

this sounds delicious. i made preserved meyer lemons last year when a giant basket of them magically appeared on the kitchen counter at work. they are the gift that keeps on giving!

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Cat likes eating them plain, but I wanna try the dessert!

- Chubbypanda

Kristen said...

Oh my...those sound fantastic. I'll have to bookmark that recipe as my parents just came into town with a load of oranges and lemons. I had planned on making lots of lemon drop martini's. I may have to reserve a few for those bites though!

brian said...

I love the mini muffin pan idea. I've been debating using mini tartlet pans since people love the edge pieces (with more crust) when I bake these in a 9x13 baking dish. Muffin pan sounds like a lot less work, though the edges would be prettier with mini tartlets.

I used to make these with eureka lemons for years but my viola teacher has a meyer lemon tree here in the SFO Bay Area. I had no idea meyer lemons were a rarity for a lot of the USA. My viola teacher made me promise not to give away her address when I photographed some lemons from her tree! As if!

Meyer lemons are so great because you can easily jack up a recipe's quantity without increasing sourness.

wayne said...

It's nice to see fun article written using my photo. Ah the power of the internet.

I'm a cook and there are thousands of great meyer lemon recipes, some great ones can be found in Chez Panisse Fruits. Preserved meyer lemons, particularly the rind/zest adds a wonderful zing to beans, salads, etc.

Moroccans and folks in the Mediterranean have been using them for centuries.

My website, www.emptyhighway.com\, mostly dormant, soon to re-awaken, has a few articles about food you might be interested in. So does my wife's. Thanks again. Ciao!

Holly said...

Hey Erin! Merry Christmas! I just got some Meyer lemons from someone at work and thought of you. Thanks for the recipe. Will be yummy for the holiday. Take care!

Anna said...

Delicious! I just made them for a Super Bowl party. Only problem was that even though I sprayed the non-stick muffin tin generously, I could not get them out! I ended up putting them in the freezer for a few minutes and was able to get some out without completely destroying them. Thanks for sharing!

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Joseph said...

Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and an orange hence its orange colour and distinct flavour