Sorry I’ve been neglectful of you guys this week – I’ve been off meeting and eating from Toronto to Richmond. Today I’m still digesting noodles and soup dumplings and what feels like half a dozen pineapple buns from the Lido, but today I have a baby shower to bake for.
I’ve been planning a Meyer lemon tart, but since tart pan rings and bottoms have a way of losing each other in the basement, Meyer lemon scones it is. And curd, just to up the ante. Meyer lemons are here – they’re bigger (or sometimes, smaller) and smoother, with a slightly orange tinge, which can be credited to their breeding; a Meyer lemon is a regular lemon crossed with a mandarin orange.
Which makes them milder than a regular lemon – more floral, less acidic, with less pucker power. Sometimes, particularly when I make something tart, like curd, I like to combine the two – Meyer and regular lemons – to get the best of both worlds.
This online shower is for our friend Jan, who is due to have a baby boy any second now – and since we can’t all live in the same city, we had to do something virtually, as we food bloggers are wont to do. On the upside, I can stay in my PJs and keep this entire batch to myself.
(Update: I packaged them up and brought them to the hospital for the nurses – we’ve been spending a lot of time these past few weeks there with Mike’s mom – and when I got home found them still sitting on the back seat of the car. Facepalm.)
For a shower (or even a brunch), cut these small and dainty – two or three bites – which means no one has to commit to an enormous scone, and can always have seconds. Besides, maximizing surface area means more crunchy, crispy bits.
Meyer Lemon Scones with Lemon Drizzle
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
grated zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons, divided
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup (ish) milk or cream
1 large egg
extra milk or cream, for brushing (optional)
coarse or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
1/2 cup (ish) icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 425F.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the lemon zest and butter and pulse or blend with a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.
Squeeze the juice of one of the lemons into a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 3/4 cup. Add the egg and stir with a fork.
Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until the dough comes together. Gather it into a ball and pat it out into a square or rectangle about an inch thick on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut into squares or rounds, gathering up any scraps and rerolling them gently (if you have any).
If you cut them, pull the scones apart so that there’s space for the heat to move around them. If you like, brush the tops with a little cream and/or sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
Meanwhile, whisk together the juice of the remaining lemon with the icing sugar, adding a little more if necessary (this will depend on the juiciness of the lemon), until you have a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the warm scones using a fork.
Makes about 9 scones.
This particular occasion seemed to call for lemon curd – a trio of lemon in one bite is never a bad thing – but these really don’t need it. In fact, I’ve been seeing lemon combined with chocolate on restaurant menus lately, which makes me think that these – especially with their mandarin orange heritage – would do just fine with some chopped white or dark chocolate thrown in.
Once you’ve made it, lemon curd is about as simple as it gets – just remember not to leave the pot on the stove while you go check your email. (Burnt curd is not a thing. Trust me, I’ve tried.) Since Meyer lemons don’t have the same tartness as regular lemons, I like to top it up with regular lemon juice to add a little more pucker. Whisk on the stovetop until it thickens, then whisk in the butter, which will kickstart the cooling process. Easy. Eat with a spoon to ward off winter.
Meyer Lemon Curd
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
zest of two Meyer lemons
1/2 cup Meyer and regular lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring often (if not constantly) with a whisk, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Set aside to cool.
Makes about 2 cups.
Join the rest of the party! There’s plenty to eat.
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