Monday, August 25, 2008

The Lemon days of summer

Ahh the lemon, what a sweet sweet nectar you make, when used poperly in desserts that is. I love the tart snap on the tongue, followed by the sweet soft finish. Some of my favorite eats are actually very simple lemon enhanced desserts. Mother Myricks in Manchester, VT, for example, has a very simple lemon poundcake they call the 'Lemon Lulu' and it's one of my favorites. I typically buy the smaller cake and savor it. Whether you eat it alone, with a good cup of coffee, or even a la mode with a nice Vanilla Bean ice cream - it's just a great canvas which is substantial enough on it's own, but also lends iteself to be painted on with simple additions.

Today, I was treated to two desserts. The first is an inspiring Lemon tart, topped with a light and fluffy 'swiss' style meringue. It was from one of my favorite confection makers - The delectable Sweet Science.

Wow, what a treat the Lemon tart was, actually is. I'm still eating it. I got rid of the fork and actually grabbed a knife to slice off butter pat sized pieces of the tart and savor it's soft texture, flaky crust and blowtorch-toasted top. I would have to say, if there is one dessert I was offered before leaving this plane - this is certainly near the top of that list. The meringue is absolutely dreamy. I'm not saying this because she'll read this.. or perhaps I am. I could swim in it. It's a soft, sugary pillow that floats like a cloud across the tongue. If it sounds like I'm gushing, it's because I am. There isn't a harsh refined sugar taste to it, there is a light citrus taste to it - though I don't believe it's lemon. This is truly simplistic complexity. You could throw this down quickly and never taste the subtleties - or you could savor this and dissect the layers of flavor distributed here. Both have their good and bad points. However, today - I couldn't be rushed with this dessert. In fact, I'm going to move on to the next one, but I have only eaten just more than half this slice of perfection - and I'll be going back to it.

The next is an uncomplicated Molasses cookie with a Lemon Glaze, from a new member of my workplace - Chef Abram.

The molasses cookie looks very simple, well formed, good texture - nice heft to it too. They were all uniform in size, just about 3" in size. Chef has done this before and is well practiced at portion control. A good sign that this could be a good cookie. I haven't yet taken a bite - but it's demanding me to do just that. I must comply.. Zing! wow - nice lemon burst at first bite. Good chewiness to the cookie too. Not quite as crisp as I like a cookie on the outside, but that's likely the tradeoff of the lemon glaze. Surprisingly, and perhaps because my tastbuds have tired, the lemon flavor seemed to subside quickly. The glaze is a fairly raw sugar/lemon combination - or at least it would seem. The molasses in the cookie is great, a little heavy handed - which is my preference. I frequently pass on molasses cookies as the distribution is lacking and it tastes more like flavored flour, than it does of molasses. On second blush (after a good cleansing of the palette - the cookie tasted quite different. The sweetness rushed in woth the lemon, the snapiness hits the tongue alonge with the sugar - then the molasses flavor creeps in tasting of golden brown and did just what a cookie is supposed to do and more. It made me smile.

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