Everyone has a favorite lemon tart, don’t they? I think of them as one those pastries that people obsess over to the point that crafting a great one is practically considered a higher calling. And I’d joke about this (okay, well, just a little) but if you’ve ever had a good, nay, great one, you totally get it. An awesome one will blow your mind. Some are filled with only a simple lemon curd, others with a creamier lemon filling, some are studded with fresh raspberries or have bits of candied lemon peel inside and the rare one even has a chunk of a fresh lemon segment within. I have never met one I didn’t like.
The fresh cranberry gets no love. I can’t tell you how many recipes I have sifted through recently that boasted cranberry in their titles only to find out that they were actually calling for those shriveled and over-sweetened dried ones. Why must fresh cranberries be “the neglected stepchild of the season“? It is totally undeserved.
We were almost done with our blissful batch of Meyer lemons when I realized that it would be a crime against… well, something dramatic if I finished them without sharing with you a recipe which might look at the outset like just a plain old loaf cake, but should not be taken at face value. You may see lemons and blueberry but I want you to see a palette upon which you can paint your countless citrus yogurt cake dreams. This cake is so moist that it needs to be cut carefully, so not to smoosh the crumbs from the top of the cake into the bottom, and so delicious, I dare you to make it last a week(end).
A little over a year ago, my mother and I leapt at the opportunity to make a whole lemon tart featured in the New York Times and ended up with one of the most caustic, inedible things I have yet to make on this site. And people, with an ever-growing category of “disasters,” that is no small feat.
January is always the time of year when most of us get caught up in the winter produce doldrums, fueled by the dearth of flavorful fruit and the overabundance of hard, starchy vegetables. But I find if I set my mind on citrus, I can carefully sidestep most bouts of Farmers Market Mourning. There are few things teeming with more promise of a sunnier tomorrow than sour-sweet piercing members of the rutaceae family, and I’ve got an archive full of margarita cookies, lemon bundts, orange chocolate chunks, grapefruit loaves and key lime tartlets that should assure you that you need not feel that you are missing out just because the peaches and berries have gone into hibernation.
You know how you know it’s November? I actually made breakfast this morning. I’m sorry if that shattered your pristine image of me. Sure, I occasionally cook big, elaborate brunches for friends or family and I even spoil myself from time to time with yogurt with pumpkin butter and pepita granola, but pretty consistently, Saturday and Sunday morning I chew on my fingernails until Alex wakes up, or sometimes, if I’m really hungry and he’s still sleeping (the boy is a sleep MACHINE) I’ll sit next to him on the bed and stare until he wakes up and brings us either bagels from Murray’s or eggs from the diner. Yes, you heard that right. I get a fried egg and toast take out. Yes, I am ashamed to know myself sometimes, too.
I know people are prone to wild disagreements over Food Network personality Paula Deen. Sure, some gush that she is a “hot-damn pistol” and exactly like their “favorite aunt, who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her” even at the expense of their readership and others think she’s just hated on because she’s a successful woman, most people cast a far less sympathetic glance in her direction, if not for her Big Pork connections, then for her Fried Butter Balls, seen as her obvious attempt to “kill us all.”