If you're not familiar with the Meyer Lemon, you need to stop reading and head to your nearest grocery store right now. Larger, rounder, and with a slightly more orange hue than the conventional lemon, the Meyer Lemon originated in China, where it's believed to have derived from the Mandarin orange. The skin of the Meyer is thinner, making for a softer and juicier fruit, but what stands out above all is its enticing fragrance. It's a sweet, citrus smell with earthy undertones; I've always thought it resembled a blend of oranges and Christmas trees.
Much sweeter than the regular lemon, Meyers are ideal for use in desserts. I'm planning to whip up a Meyer Lemon ice cream at some point in the next couple days, but I couldn't resist playing around with it tonight. While at the store I also picked up a bag of ground almond meal and happened to come across some organic coconut flour. While I've read quite a bit about coconut flour, I'd never actually seen it at the store before. In fact, the only reason I found it today is because I dropped something and so happened to look into that last shelf. There were piles of coconut flour bags and only two dollars each (much more economical than the 14 dollar almond meal). I grabbed a couple, with the intent to experiment with it this weekend.
On the train home I started thinking about the torte I made last night. I decided to use the same basic recipe, replacing the cocoa powder with coconut flour and exchanging a half cup of Meyer lemon juice for the water. A little lemon rind for color and additional flavor, and presto! Torta di Limone!
The cake that came out of the oven was lovely and moist, but not quite as fluffy as the chocolate torte. I was pleased with the golden color of the crust, but still felt it needed a little extra something. I decided on a glaze, borrowing Peabody's recipe from her gorgeous post about Meyer Lemon Madeleines.
I made a tiny version for tasting purposes and am still on the fence about it. I think the problem is with the hazelnuts. While fantastic with cocoa, they feel a bit too overpowering in this recipe. I want the lemons to be the main event here, but right now they're getting lost beneath the strong hazelnut flavor. I was tempted to try again using almond meal, but it was already so late that I resisted. (I don't sleep much as is, and baking three cakes in one night is definitely pushing it.)
Take two will have to wait for tomorrow. I'm not going to post the recipe yet as I still need to tweak it. I think I'll bring the cake into work tomorrow to see what people think and then go from there...
UPDATE: From the LA Times, 100 Things to do with Meyer Lemons
Also coming up in the next couple days:
- Blood Oranges in Italy!
- My answer to a reader question about buying and preparing fish...
- And a special recipe from a secret Guest blogger!
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