Cakes, Pies & Tarts

When Life Gives You Lemons

Meyer lemon tart-Duo Dishes

Why does that well-known saying give the lemon and its metaphorical representations a bad wrap?  We can’t really think of anything bad about lemons.  They’re delicious!  You know that we love our citrus, so how can we see the ‘glass half empty’ in them?  They are really a half full glass of fabulousness.  Sweet fabulousness.  This past weekend, we were given nothing but lovely lemons–literally and figuratively.  All we could do was go with the flow and make the best out of the situations at hand.  Although Easter has come and gone, we’d like to go back and share with you what went down.

A couple of weeks ago, we were asked to cook for a baby christening on Easter Sunday for a party of 50.  A good lemon placed right in our hands, so we made the best of it!  Fifty people is a large crowd.  We’ve cooked for a graduation party of about 40, so we knew what was on the horizon.  It would mean a full week of menu prep and shopping and at least 15 hours of cooking, so the heat was on.  On Friday, we stuffed our respective fridges, shelves and cabinets with food.  Counters were covered with chafing dishes and aluminum storage tins.  Pans sizzled, pots boiled and roasting trays baked in ovens for hours on Saturday night.  We only had time for a mini nap of less than an hour before we were back up on Sunday morning to finish off the last dishes.  It was really a feat, but when it was all over, it was worth it.  The menu included pecan and brown sugar crusted ham, baked herbed salmon, mashed sweet potatoes with maple pecans, macaroni and cheese, lemon and garlic green beans and corn bread.  Although we were not able to capture the best pictures, here’s an idea of the spread:

Pecan brown sugar crust ham-The Duo Dishes

Herbed salmon-Duo Dishes

Mashed sweet potatoes with pecans-Duo Dishes

Macaroni and Cheese-Duo Dishes

Lemon garlic green beans-Duo Dishes

Cornbread muffins-Duo Dishes

Needless to say, after the long, long hours spent on one Easter lunch, surely we wouldn’t have the energy to move forth with our own Easter dinner?  Well, if you know us, we like to do the most.  That means we forge ahead!  Although we hadn’t slept and had barely nourished ourselves, we felt as though Easter dinner is a hard one to ignore.  Not only do we enjoy having people over, but we have a lot of friends who are without family here in Los Angeles.  Why not congregate for food and fun with friends instead of Subway and soda with the television?  And so, riding on what must’ve been our fourth wind, we cooked up a couple of dishes including lemon rosemary chicken and potatoes, roast chicken farfalle pasta, a rum and coke basted ham (recipe courtesy of Noble Pig), fried corn, cornbread, apple tart and Meyer lemon tart.  Yes, here’s where the acting of life handing over literal lemons appears again, but look at a couple more pictures first before we discuss:

Rum and coke ham-Duo Dishes

Lemon rosemary chicken-Duo Dishes

Roast chicken farfalle pasta-Duo Dishes

There were also glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, salad, brownies, rolls and many bottles of wine and other beverages, which was all so kindly supplied by our guests.  It was literally a feast of massive proportions.  One to lull you to sleep when it’s all said and done.  So now that we’ve shown you all of the above, let’s get back to the lemons shall we?

We’ve seen Meyer lemon this and Meyer lemon that all over the foodie blogosphere.   Each and every time we see it, we are determined to give them a try.  A sweet lemon is a cool thing, especially if you’ve never had one.  Now normally, Meyer lemons can run around $3 a pound at the average market.  That is fairly expensive when you think about it.  When we came across Meyers for $1 a pound, it was a gold mine find!  We could finally make something that’s been on our list for a while now-the Meyer lemon tart.  It was good, although the sweet lemons obviously take away from the typical tart flavor of a lemon tart.  It’s a completely different taste that, honestly, did not totally float our boats in this instance.  We’ve come to the conclusion that a sour lemon tart is more up our alley, but this was a nice change.  Topped with a bit of fresh raspberry whipped cream, it was a nice Easter dessert to end the evening.

Meyer lemon tart-Duo Dishes

Meyer Lemon Tart – Serves 10 to 12
1 sweet pastry tart shell, prebaked and cooled
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
Juice of 4 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup heavy cream

1.  Whisk eggs, zest, cream and sugar until combined.

2.  Add lemon juice and continue whisking until smooth.

3.  Place prebaked tart shell on a baking sheet and pour in lemon filling.  Carefully slide into a preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until filling has just set.

Click HERE for printable recipe.


51 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons

  1. Look at all of the food! I just found meyer lemons this year and made some bars with them. That meyer lemon tart would be great!

  2. I guess your telling us our invitation got lost in the dish somewhere? 🙂 Double those recipes for us we are all showing up at your door…and soon!

  3. WOW! Talk about a LOT of cooking. I’m so impressed that you fed a crowd of 50 and then made your own dinner. You’re too awesome for words. You totally made lemonade out of those lemons–well, lemon tart to be exact. That tart looks incredible, by the way! I have a basket of lemons sitting on my kitchen counter (yes, I got overzealous and about a dozen lemons), so I can’t wait to make this tart!

  4. Wow what a feast. Meyer lemons can be pricey, but they also have about twice as much juice as a regular lemon and since the zest is twice as tasty as a regular lemon, I figure they’re actually a bargain.

  5. Lemon pie is another classic that I want to make this year!! 🙂 Looks beautiful!

    Have a nice day and don’t forget about the Mayan Magic Chocolate-Making Kit Giveaway on my site, closing date April 22nd!


  6. This sounds and looks like my favorite Lemon Tart recipe and it is fantastic. I love the simplicity of it and the scruptious tartness. Good clean lemon flavor served with that dollop of whipped cream! Cheers!

  7. rum and coke? wow.. that sounds wonderful.. and meyer lemon tart – that’s worth trying. personally, i don’t like very tart stuff, so this might just be right up my alley… what a feast you had.. and yes, anyone would fall asleep after having that easter feast of yours! :o)

  8. Great post! Bombarding me with one gorgeous pic after another of YUMMMM food … and finishing off on the perfect citrusy note … sweet 🙂

  9. First of all awesome choices for your event, it all looks wonderful… that ham is outrageous, I have to try that.
    Second, that lemon tart is sent from heaven as are you for showing it to me and passing along the recipe.

  10. Oh my goodness, what a feast. Everything looks so wonderful!!! I love the idea of raspberry whipped cream to top the lemon tart. Delicious.

  11. Wow, everything looks amazing, and I am sleepy as a result of just thinking of all the work that went into that feast. You got me thinking one day we should have a huge citrus feast – I’ll bring the limoncello =)

  12. Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you cooked all that! I’m very impressed! 🙂 And sort of exhausted just looking at it all…

  13. I never understood that old saying either. Citrus is proof of happiness and so versatile why would I just want lemonade?

    I still have four meyer lemons leftover from my cookie extravaganza. I have never attempted anything remotely close to a tart shell. So the question do I risk my sanity????

  14. I’m impressed by your seemingly endless inspiration and energy, and I love the spirit of how you approach food: always including others and sharing the bounty. It sounds like an incredible Easter weekend. Nicely done!

  15. There is definitely nothing bad about lemons ;-P…

    Wow, what a gorgeous meal! I’m a real sucker for lemon tart!



  16. Yay! I’m seeing friends on comments!

    C & A… Congratulations, you just blew my mind with this post! So much goodness packed into one post oh… which one to mention! I definitely know though, you guys just have a way with cooking. The way you deliver it to us is so spontaneous and down to earth I’ll almost think it’s done effortlessly. I’m a self assigned big fan for this website, thanks!

  17. Mmm, I love lemon desserts, and that pie sounds fantastic! Very impressive spread all around, I know I certainly couldn’t cook well for such a crowd.

  18. OH MY, I think I’m going to pass out looking at all your wonderful food! I wish I could reach through the computer and grab some! And give me lemons anyday! I eat them like oranges and I don’t make a sour face either! Hee hee haa haaa

  19. I laughed out loud when I read your comment on “Meyer lemon this and Meyer lemon that” on the blogosphere. So true. 🙂 Like you, I don’t go gaga over Meyer lemon. There seems to be a notion that somehow regular lemon is inferior to Meyer lemon as if the former is a Toyota and the latter is a Lexus.

    I also find your comment on the lemon metaphor funny. I feel the same way, but that’s because I’m a Thai and “lemon” has no negative connotation whatsoever. So that whole “when life hands you lemons” thing didn’t register at first. I kept thinking, okay, so what’s bad about it? 🙂 Even now, I still don’t understand why lemon has come to represent something defective — like a car.

    Hmm … didn’t I just talk about cars in the first paragraph? You know what. It’s late. I’m not making sense. Off to bed.

  20. You cooked up a boatload of delicious food!!! I’d still be sleeping… Your lemon tart looks lovely, sorry you were disappointed!

  21. Everything looks so good… it took me forever to get through this post!! Even as early as the mac and cheese picture I was pausing for long seconds to take in the beautiful food… made me want a fridge full of Easter leftovers! I’m glad I kept scrolling, though– and glad that you forged ahead to your own Easter dinner– because that lemon tart looks fabulous!! I definitely want to try that!

  22. Wow, everything looks amazing! I just used up my last meyer lemon, I’m so sad that there are none left on my tree.

  23. That Meyer lemon tart is awesome but I’m in love with the spread for the christening. Look at that pan of mashed sweet potatoes, and the one with mac n cheese, and the cornbread . . . ! Mmmmmm . . .

  24. I love lemon too, lemon tart is probably my favorite desert.

    Your eater meal look so delicious. And oh, that lemon cake looks so moist and delicious.

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