I want to get a Meyer lemon tree. This was the first year that I found Meyer lemons in the stores near us, the first year I could actually cook and bake with them, and I’m ready to have a tree or two. I understand that my experiment may fail, but after tasting the lemons and everything I’ve made with them this winter, I must try. That sweet scent and flavor is addictive.
So Michael said he is giving me two Meyer lemon trees for Mother’s Day, which will live in pots outdoors in warm weather and come indoors and stay in the sunroom during the winter. I am so excited! Hey, some girls want fancy jewelry, I get happy over fruit trees. To each her own.
The trees probably won’t produce for a year or two, but I will try to be patient and wait for the excitement of the first blossom.
The recipe is actually a riff on our favorite Key Lime Pie recipe, I simply substituted Meyer lemons in place of limes and a shortbread crust instead of graham cracker. I used and recommend Walkers Shortbread Fingers for the crust, my favorite commercially produced shortbread because of the rich, buttery flavor. You can find information on their website about how their shortbread is made with butter from free-range grass fed dairy cows that receive no growth hormones or antibiotics, plus the rest of the ingredients are not genetically modified, and they use no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or hydrogenated fats. I appreciate that commitment to quality, and apparently so did Hockey Guy, who said the crust was his favorite part. Smart kid.
I made this pie using the fresh free-range eggs from Chrysalis Vineyards, so the yolks are a dark yellow color, which made the pie a gorgeous golden yellow. The flavor of the Meyer lemons works very well, much better than the standard lemons, I think, which would be too tart. The recipe is easy to put together, just have your juicing arm ready.
MEYER LEMON PIE WITH SHORTBREAD CRUST
Makes one 9-inch pie.
9-inch pie plate, lightly buttered
stand mixer with wire whisk attachment
2 (5.3 ounce/150 g) packages Walkers Shortbread Fingers
5 tablespoons (71 g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (44 g) granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
fine zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1 (14-ounce/397 g) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup (160 ml) freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 6 to 8 lemons)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1. CRUST: Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C. Break the shortbread fingers into pieces and put them in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are all wet. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pie plate, pressing up the sides and forming a rounded or squared off top edge. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack and leave the oven on.
2. FILLING: In the bowl of the stand mixer, whip the egg yolks and lemon zest at high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the condensed milk and continue to whip until thick, about 3 or 4 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the lemon juice, mixing just until combined. The mixture will start to thicken as soon as you add the juice. Pour the mixture into the crust.
3. BAKE: Bake until the filling has just set, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
4. WHIPPED CREAM: Chill the mixing bowl. Using the wire whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioners sugar until you have stiff peaks. Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of cream.