Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Lemon in Winter

Winter in Los Angeles does not usually bring to mind freezing temperatures like we had a week or so ago (and still having, though a tad warmer).  Winter does bring to mind a market flowing with citrus...whether little satsumas, bright, big Navel oranges, blushing grapefruits, or sunny lemons.  Even better than your typical lemon is the Meyer lemon.  A little rounder than a true lemon, a Meyer is thought to be a hybrid between a lemon and orange.  The juice is sweeter and the skin smoother and much thinner.

I stopped at the grocer's the other night and right past the bananas, there they were, quietly calling out to me.  The store had them packaged in groups of four, but in looking through the stack, I found a package of two.  Perfect.

I've been slowly returning to my usual self in the kitchen.  Doing more cooking, having more for dinner than a sandwich, and thinking about baking, which I hadn't done since the holidays.  Today was a day off from work and by late this morning, I had those Meyers zested and juiced, though I was still debating what to do with them.  I made fresh ricotta this morning and thought about a Meyer lemon and ricotta cake, or maybe Meyer lemon cupcakes with a simple glaze...but truthfully...both options were more work than I wanted to do.  So I fell back on my tried and true, easy to make, and quick to bake...scones.

They are just what I wanted.  Not too sweet with the delicate taste of Meyer lemons.  Hot out of the oven with a dab of butter...it was perfection.

Meyer Lemon Scones
Makes about a dozen 2-inch scones

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbsp butter, cut in pieces
4 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
2 tbsp milk or water
Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl, sift flour and baking powder.  Add remaining ingredients and with a pastry cutter or fork, mix well.  Turn dough out onto a floured board, rolling out until dough is about half an inch thick and cut scones with a biscuit or cookie cutter.  Alternately, you can make 2-inch rounds with your hands.  The dough will be soft and fairly sticky, so dust your hands with a decent amount of flour.  

If you like, brush the scones with milk and sprinkle with sugar before baking.  I left my plain.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, depending on size.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.  

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