The sun has got his hat on. In fact, he’s had it on all day and promoted numerous gardening activities in the neighbourhood and general lethargy in our household. The heat coaxes you into slowing down and the brightness makes it much easier to just let those eyelids drop. Summer sure can be pleasant, no doubt. Left to my own devices while N and the baby napped, I was going to be able to soak up every generous ray of sun and have a few chilled drinks. Settling into a hot garden chair and kicking off my flip flops, there was only one thing that could possibly spoil this blissful peace. Me.
No matter how idyllic the beach, forest, mountain or garden, there’s no keeping me still for very long. I need to do stuff. I need to be active. I need to be making things. There are exceptions to this rule and I’m incredibly lazy when I wish to be. Today, however, I could not sit still. I crept into the kitchen to see what was in the fridge/cupboard/freezer/fridge again. Nothing jumped out. Sigh. I flopped down at the PC and had a quick browse on the internet. Then, suddenly, I spotted something that I had all of the ingredients for. A quick glance over my shoulder to check the fruit bowl and yup, there was a solitary lemon available. Great! Former pastry chef and now citizen of Paris, David Lebovitz was about to provide me with my entertainment for the next hour.
Of course, I couldn’t resist messing around with the recipe and adding my own bits and bobs. The main ingredient, however, was not going to change. A single lemon. Not just the juice. All of it! I added blueberries and some mace and ginger to the recipe for my own taste, but kept most things the same including the timings. I quite enjoyed making these lemon and blueberry slices. I think they’d work well as tartlets.
Lemon & blueberry slices (adapted from David Lebovitz)
For the base-
140g plain flour
120g melted butter
50g caster sugar
1/2 tspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tspoon ginger powder (optional)
1/4 tspoon powdered mace (optional)
1/4 tspoon salt
For the topping-
200g caster sugar
4 tspoons corn flour
45g melted butter
1/4 tspoon salt
handful of fresh blueberries
After lining a small, rectangular tin with foil, I began making the base for the slices. First, I combined all of the ingredients in a bowl to form a sandy coloured dough. I pressed this into the lined tin and baked it for twenty-five minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, I prepared the lemon topping using a hand blender. I cut the lemon into chunks and blended it with the sugar, eggs, vanilla, corn flour, butter and salt until smooth. There were still some bits of lemon that would add plenty of what Lebovitz calls “zing”.
When the base was golden, I pulled it out of the oven and poured the yellow lemon mixture over it all. I then dotted it with the fresh blueberries. I turned the oven down to 150 degrees and baked the mixture for another twenty-five minutes until it wouldn’t wobble.
After that, I went for a stroll along the beach with the dog, the baby and N, who was wondering why I hadn’t spent the afternoon sunbathing. When we got back, everything had cooled and was ready to be cut and dusted with way too much icing sugar!
Upon tasting the slices, I was quite impressed, but being completely honest, they weren’t sweet enough for me. I agree that using the entire lemon is a stroke of genius (nice one, Mr. Lebovitz), but they were a little tart- pun definitely intended. I’m a big fan of mace, but again, I don’t think it’s for everyone. This is definitely a recipe that I’ll return to this summer and perhaps update with something new.
Lebovitz has quite a following on his blog and has written a few popular books about desserts and ice-cream. You can check his blog out at http://www.davidlebovitz.com/