There's a devastating crime wave playing out on the streets of Los Angeles these days that doesn't get a lot of press. I'm talking citrus theft. Everybody's trees are dripping with ripe citrus fruit right now, and there's a bitter divide between the haves and the have-nots. My friend woke up last week to the awful realization that, in the dead of night, someone had plucked every last Meyer lemon from her front yard tree. That's just despicable. And I was just about to ask her to lend me a few, too.
Meyer Lemons are so desirable for a few reasons. They have an amazing lemon-tangerine-floral flavor, and they have tons of juice. They only grow in limited parts of the country, and they don't travel well because of their delicate skin, so they show up rarely in regular grocery stores. They were brought to California from China in the early 20th century and widely planted, but in the 1940s they fell prey a disease that threatened to wipe out all kinds of citrus. So just about all the Meyer Lemon trees in the US were destroyed. In the 70s, a new virus free variety of Meyer lemon was developed, and the rest is history.
The trees are easy to grow in the right climate, and so lots of people planted them in their backyards and patios. A few daring people even planted them right out in front. Like my poor friend. I have to say though, that's bordering on entrapment, if you ask me.
But if you can't find fresh Meyer Lemons you can use regular lemons, or make this with any filling and any nut you want. I was going to use the strawberry rhubarb jam I bought the other day. Have you tasted Sarabeth's jams? I love them and I can never decide which flavor to get--- Blood Orange Marmalade, Peach Apricot Preserves, Raspberry Key Lime...using a ready made jam would make really quick work of these squares.
These are really really good. The shortbread base is nice and moist and thick, the lemon curd is perfect, thanks to Martha, and the macadamias add crunch and flavor without overpowering the star of the show, the Meyer Lemon. I absolutely loved these, and highly recommend them. The shortbread base for my crumble is inspired by one of Ina Garten's.
Meyer Lemon Macadamia Crumble Squares
oven to 350F
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 batch Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe below) or about 9-10 oz store bought curd or jam
(reserved 1/3 of the shortbread dough)
1/2 cup rough chopped macadamias
- Cream the butter and sugar. Add in the vanilla and salt.
- Add in the flour and chopped macadamias and mix until the dough comes together. It will be crumbly.
- Pat 2/3 of the dough into a 8x8 or 9x9 square baking dish, and reserve the other 1/3. (You can line the pan with parchment paper with edges overlapping to make it easy to remove, or you can just grease the dish if you don't care about removing the bars from the pan)
- Top with about 9 oz of the Meyer Lemon Curd. Don't spread it to the edge, leave a little space around the perimeter. You will have a little curd leftover, and trust me, you'll thank me for that.
- Crumble the rough chopped nuts with the reserved 1/3 of the shortbread dough. Just make large crumbs with your fingertips. Sprinkle evenly over the top. Don't worry about covering all the lemon.
- Bake for about 45 minutes until slightly golden.
- Cool completely before cutting. ( yeah right :)
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 4 or 5 lemons)
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- Put the yolks, sugar, zest and juice in a saucepan. Whisk everything together.
- Heat on medium, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until the curd thickens. It will darken and become glossy and translucent and coat the spatula when it is done. Do not let it boil. This will take about 10 minutes or so, depending on the level of your heat and the size of your pan.
- Take off the heat and add in the butter, a few pieces at a time, stirring until all the butter is incorporated and the curd is smooth.
- Cool and then store in a an airtight jar in the fridge. It will thicken further as it cools.
I hope you try these, they are soooo good.
Have a great weekend!
One year ago today---
One year ago yesterday---
Other ways to use Meyer Lemons---