The Meyer Lemon: It's a Real Spring Zinger
If you’re looking for a bright idea to put a little zest in your spring brunch, look no further than the Meyer lemon.
Cookbook author and former pastry chef Ellen Jackson extolls the fruit in her forthcoming new book, The Lemon Cookbook: 50 Sweet & Savory Recipes to Brighten Every Meal (available April 28 from Sasquatch Books).
According to Jackson, Meyer lemons (a cross between an orange and a regular lemon) are the perfect citrus for kids: “Meyers take the best attributes of the orange—smooth, thin-skinned, and delicious sweetness—with the brightness of a lemon.”
Discovered by Frank N. Meyer on a trip to China in 1908, Meyer lemons are sweeter, less acidic, and juicier than regular lemons—which make them oh-so-perfect for fresh lemonade.
Meyer Lemon and Tangerine Olive Oil Cake
- 3½ cups sugar, divided
- 2 Meyer lemons
- 2 small tangerines
- 12/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup polenta or medium-grind cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lemons and tangerines once the sugar has dissolved. (The fruits should be submerged by two-thirds in the simple syrup. If they aren’t, add more water.) Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and gently poach the fruits until they are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer them to a plate to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly oil a 10-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and set aside. When the fruits have cooled, slice off their ends, and quarter them. Remove any seeds or large pieces of membrane, add the pulp to the bowl of a food processor, and process until fairly smooth. You should have about 1¼ cups puree. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Put the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a handheld electric mixer on high speed to whip the eggs until they are foamy and lighter in color, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining 1½ cups sugar and continue to whip on high speed until the mixture is thick and creamy white, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and drizzle in the oil. Add the pureed fruit and mix to combine. Remove the mixing bowl and fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture. When the batter is smooth, add the rest of the flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is dark golden brown and springs back after being lightly pressed in the middle, 50 to 60 minutes. Let it cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let it cool completely before slicing and serving with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.