Summer is watermelon, burgers, pasta salad, pools, 4th of July, smoothies and late nights watching TV. And in our house, summer was always celebrated with Lemon Delight. But the kids are all grown up and out of the house. Dad’s always on the road, and mom is tending the tiny family business.
And I, of course, am a law student. Which means that sometimes I remember to pee…when I have time. (Or write blog entries). Suffice it to say, Lemon Delight is a relic from a time where fairies lived in the forest across the street (they totally did) and the only hard decision was whether to eat a hot dog or hamburger (it usually ended up being both).
Bidding adieu to summer-to my last real summer-seemed like the perfect opportunity to resurrect it. (Holy toilet. Did I really just say that? Ug.)
I’m always interested in the origin of foods that I make…and consequently often time frustrated when I can’t find said origin. Lemon Delight is one of those 50s-housewives-corporately-encouraged-chock-full-of-gelatin desserts that I assume (because it’s where most of these desserts come from) is a Southern creation. Plus, lemons tend to grow in sub-tropic/tropic regions. Funny thing: so do pecans. Whaddya know? I came to my own conclusions. Whether or not they’re correct doesn’t concern me–I just needed food-origin closure so I could continue with the recipe. Otherwise, I’d be gnashing teeth and pulling hair.
Because, you know. Like you do.
The version my mom made was full-on traditional, all-of-your-ingredients-come-in-offensively-colored-boxes. Which is delicious. But I wanted to bring it back before moon-obessed, astronaut wannabes reduced everything to powders that just needed water *insert annoying infomercial voice here*. That is to say, from scratch curd, sweet cream cheese and cool whip.
Because Cool Whip doesn’t come from a box; it comes from a tub.
There’s a difference.
Besides; subbing in whipped cream would completely change the flavor into something alien and uncomfortable. But wouldn’t the fresh curd do that, you ask? Why no. Full-on articficial produces almost a gummy, less-than-flavorful product. Which, I’m not dissing. Sometimes you juet need to eat fake food. But here, the fresh curd brightens everything, balances the overly sweet Cool Whip, and cuts the dense cream cheese. Plus, I’d be happy just slathering the curd all over my face in a bout of carnal glee.
Maybe it’s just me.
Here’s to summer:
2/3 cup Ground walnuts
1/3 cup Graham crumbs
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons Bacardi Limon (enough to bring the crust together into something that looks like struesel)
*as per Queen Martha Stewart*
1/2 teaspoon Lemon zest
1/4 cup Lemon juice
6 tablespoons Sugar
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperture
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Sweet Cream Cheese
1 package Cream cheese
3/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon Bacardi Limon
1 teaspoon Vanilla
For the Crust
1. Combine everything and toss/stir to combine.
2. Press into a 9″x5″ loaf pan.
For the Curd
1. Prepare a double boiler/bain marie.
2. Bring the water to a strong simmer over medium/medium-high heat.
3. Combine the yolks, sugar, zest and juice in the bowl that’s to go over the pan.
4. Stir constantly as it cooks.
5. Cook until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon-about 10-15-20 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and add butter, a little at a time (I added it in 1/2 tablespoons), making sure that each bit is completely melted before you add the next (you may need to put the bowl back over the heat for a bit to help the butter along–completely okay. Just don’t do it for too long).
7. Once everything is combined, silky and homogenized, put a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface and set aside (it’s better to let it hang out at room temperature).
For the Cream Cheese
1. In a mixer, add cream cheese and beat until creamy.
2. Add all of the sugar and beat slowly (I feel I shouldn’t need to tell you this…but I find myself personally needing reminders every now and then) to incorporate it a little so that you don’t end up with a newly snowy complexion. Now feel free to crank up the speed.
3. Beat until creamy.
1. Dollop the cream cheese over the crust and gently spread into an even layer.
2. Pour over the lemon curd and giggle a bit to evenly distribute it.
3. Dollop the Cool Whip over the curd and gently spread evenly.
4. Put plastic wrap right on the surface and chill for at least 3 hours.