Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

The story for these cookies begins with a bit of buttermilk and a gallon of milk. You see, I like to make my own ricotta cheese. It's really easy! I'll show you sometime. Anyway, it is sooooooo much better than the stuff you can buy at the grocery store. I made some ricotta cheese for a savory recipe (Jamie Oliver's ricotta fritters which I don't recommend) and I had some ricotta leftover. "What to do with it?" I wondered. It wasn't enough for a cheesecake and I wasn't in the mood for ice cream. Then I stumbled on this recipe for lemon ricotta cookies. Here's the link.

I don't think I had enough ricotta for this recipe either but I didn't figure it really mattered. I had some leftover lemons from the lemon tart so I went to work. The cookies baked up light and fluffy, almost like little tea cakes or scones. The glaze was literally icing on the cake. Unfortunately half of it drizzled off the cookies when I spooned it on top. Next time I think I'll dip the cookie tops into the icing so I don't waste all the lemony goodnes on my countertop. These cookies are the perfect way to brighten up a cold afternoon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Luscious Lemon Tart

I have learned to NEVER order lemon desserts when I go out to eat. They are certainly to be made with too much sugar. They never have the "pop" that lemon things should have. So, I've collected my share of lemon recipes in an attempt to satisfy a craving when it hits me. My favorite is this lemon tart.

First, a sweet cookie-like dough (the French call it a pate sucre) is whirled in a food processor. I rolled it out between two sheets of plastic wrap and then fit it into the tart pan. A square of parchment paper was placed on top and filled with beans. I baked this at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Then I removed the paper and beans and cooked it a few more minutes until golden.

While the shell was baking, I made a lemon curd. 2/3 cup lemon juice, 1 cup of sugar, 7 egg yolks, 2 whole eggs, a pinch of salt, and lemon zest from 4 lemons. I cooked this until it reached 170 degrees and then poured it through a fine seive to get all the solids out. A few tablespoons of cream was stirred into the curd. The curd was poured into the hot tart shell and baked in the oven for 15 more minutes.

Once cooled, this tart is fantastic with a dollop of whipped cream and a cup of tea.