This winter grey has carried on for what seems like an eternity. Each day I have peeked out of the window of my kitchen and from the warmth of my house, where the radiators clang to life and bursts with steamy hisses of warm air to see the dark, almost angry skies and I watch as the snowflakes blow around in the wind, swirling and blowing sideways. The snowdrifts are growing. I shudder with a chill and think that I absolutely hate the idea of going outside- bundling up, wrapping myself in scarves and mittens and a heavy wool coat that weighs on my shoulders and curls them forward making me hunch like an old woman, head down against the wind and cold.
Winter is a miserable season.
Thankfully, I was able to close the curtains and retreat back into the coziness of my kitchen. It’s a snow day, today, and everyone will get to stay home. It’s a good day to turn on the oven. On the counter sits a bowl of bright yellow orbs of sunshine- Meyer Lemons- just beckoning to be transformed into something to chase away this perpetual winter.
A custardy, soufflé-like cake that bursts with rays of flavor- bright and refreshing, luscious and lemony is sure to banish this dreary weather once and for all. Meyer lemons are winter’s answer to sunlight.
These citrus fruits are sweeter and less tart than your typical every day, store bought lemons. Their season is short and supplies are usually quite limited depending on where you live, so if you see them in the store, grab a few, or a maybe even a dozen to use. You can store them on your counter, but they will last longer in the fridge.
tbs butter,cut into 1 tbspieces, room temperature + more for preparing the baking dish
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
tbsMeyer lemon zest
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbs. powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a
1 quartsoufflé dish.
- In a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy at medium speed. Add egg yolks, one at a time and continue to beat until completely mixed and creamy.
- Lower the mixer speed and add the lemon zest, lemon juice and the flour. Continue mixing until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Add the sour cream and milk and beat until a smooth mixture. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whip the egg whites until foamy, slowly add the salt and continue to whip until they hold stiff peaks
- Gently fold half the beaten eggs whites into the lemon mixture being sure to not deflate them. Repeat with the other half of the egg whites. Don't over mix. Fold the eggs in gently until all of them are combined with the lemon mixture.
- Pour into the prepared soufflé dish and place the entire dish into a larger pan to be used as a water bath. Pour boiling water about 1" high all around the soufflé dish. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden and the cake springs back with a light touch to the top. Don't open the oven door while the cake is baking!
- Once you remove the cake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath and let the pan cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
- Dust the top with powdered sugar and serve with berries and/or whipped cream.
Meyer lemons are very versatile. Their characteristic sweetness comes from being crossed with mandarin oranges somewhere along their lineage and you can add them to any recipe calling for regular lemons- stews and tagines, roast chicken, or vegetables. Their zest makes a provides a burst of fresh flavor when added to pasta or risotto, and their juice can be used in recipes for cocktails, lemonade, sorbets, vinaigrettes, lemon cakes, bars, and pies. Their very presence makes you think of all things bright and sunny.
They make Lemon Curd into a velvety, creamy, tangy treat that you cannot get enough of and their peels when candied will make you swoon, especially if you have coated them with dark chocolate. Which is always a good thing.
And while I will have to venture out into the snow tomorrow, at least for today I can burnish the dreary darkness of winter away with a luminous yellow against the grey sky. With thanks to Meyer Lemons.