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Fancy looking lemon desserts

My son's preschool is doing a bake sale in a couple of weekends and I have committed to contribute a torte/tart etc. I was going to do a pecan/coconut crust filled with lemon curd and topped with an italian merengue and then on top brulee it. Topped with candied flowers.

But - the dessert is to delivered on Saturday morning to be sold on Sunday morning - so it has to keep - still looking fantastic.

I have a TON Of lemons to use, and want to do something that looks fantastic and has broad appeal.

It cannot be wheat flour based though, because I am allergic and cna't bake with it. I don't mind improvising - pulling togeter recipes from different sources.

Ideas?

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  1. how about a lemon cake with fresh lemon icing from scratch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bigjimbray

      Are you going to have refrigeration available? I'd ditch the idea of the brulee - it would get soggy and the brulee would lose its crunch. If you did the italian meringue so the egg whites are cooked, you could fold in some of the lemon curd, just a little, and use the resulting mixture for the top layer. So you'd have the pecan crust, the lemon curd, the curd/meringue layer, and then you could top it with.... your candied violets, maybe toasted coconut.

    2. Will you pre-bake the crust? I've never tried this, but I understand if you brush beaten egg white on the crust before baking that helps to seal it a bit and keeps the filling from making it soggy.

      Lemon curd would have to be refrigerated anyway, wouldn't it? Are you afraid the meringue will start to weep? I'm not sure what your concerns are.

      Also, although you're allergic to wheat flour, you're not going to be eating it. You could buy a bag for a specific recipe and give the remainder away. That would free you up for a broader range of options.

      Is the meringue your concern? You could simmer very thinly sliced lemons in a lemony simple syrup until translucent, drain, decorate the top of your tart with overlapping slices, maybe reduce the syrup to a glaze and brush that on the lemons, and still decorate with candied flowers.

      Okay, I know you want a fabulous presentation, so don't cringe as I really suggest a stretch here! If you absolutely want to use the lemons, how about making curd and water process it in several pint jars (I've done this for Xmas gifts), pack in a basket with DIY instructions for using in the pecan/coconut crust you also enclose along with some candied flowers. Two pints for the pie probably, and any lefteovers in maybe a half-pint jar identified as a spread for muffins or scones, or with fresh blueberries layered in a parfait. You lose the wow factor, but it saves your worrying about how it will keep, and maybe someone will think it's a novel idea and pay big bucks. Have your son draw a little rendition of how to put the pie together -- well, minus the meringue -- "Blueprint by Fill-in-His-Name-Here" -- and stick it in the basket.
      susan

      4 Replies
      1. re: nemo

        Nemo, just to be informative, some people are so allergic that they can't be in the same room with that food. I had a friend in college who's cousin had to be taken to the hospital because he walked into a kitchen where there was an open bag of walnuts in the cabinets. No lie. I don't doubt that the OP can't bake with wheat, let alone ingest it. Other people have diseases where if they injest even the tiniest amount of wheat, including just breathing it in, they'll have symptoms. I worked with a baker who had to stop baking because of this.

        1. re: amyzan

          A few thoughts:

          Chocolate cups (easy to make) filled with lemon sabayon (or curd) topped with candied flowers. Packaged 4-6 to a clear plastic box.

          Lemon bars made with oatmeal (not flour) drizzled with melted chocolate.

          Lemon cheesecake (no crust or an the nut crust you were planning to use) Topped with sour cream and the candied flowers. Deliver it frozen in a nice box and it will be perfectly defrosted at time of sale.

          I am not clear if refrigeration is available at the drop off location so have been conservative in my suggestions.

          1. re: Densible

            Do you have a go-to lemon cheescake recipe for the top part?

          2. re: amyzan

            Yikes, I didn't know that. Thanks for telling me.

        2. Lemon Lava/Pudding cakes... like Chocolate Lava Cakes only lemon, and they ooze so lovely from the middle...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emme

            Do you have a recipe for the lemon lava cakes, Emme? I've only thus far found pudding cake recipes where the layers are separate, top and bottom. Delicious, but no oozing from the middle! I've been thinking of an experiment, but haven't yet...

          2. Digging the lemon cheesecake suggestion. Do you have a recipe for pecan/cocnut crust?

            4 Replies
            1. re: bite bite

              1 1/2 cups pecan halves
              1/2 cup flaked coconut
              2 Tbsp sugar (omit sugar if using sweet coconut)
              1/4 tsp salt
              6 Tbsp melted butter (or unsweetened applesauce)

              process the nuts sugar and salt until smooth, add to bottom of cake tin, add melted butter and cocunut and mix with fingers until coated. Spread and press into bottom of pan. Cook in 350 degree oven for 10 mins-be careful, nuts burn easily. Cool in fridge before adding filling so it won't overheat when you cook offf the cheesecake.

                1. re: bite bite

                  Apologies-I did not see your earlier request.

                  This is a recipe from epicurious with a few changes of a basic Jewish style cheesecake. I add the lemon juice and top the cake with sour cream whipped with a little sugar and topped with candied lemon slices. I love to top chhesecake so I do not have to obsess about cracking. The recipe is for one 9 inch spring form pan. Also, like to eat it next day so flavors are better. It is hard to wait though!

                  Cheese Filling
                  1 1/4 pounds softened cream cheese -full fat is recommended but I have use half low fat/half full fat. Never fat free.
                  3/4 cup sugar
                  1 1/2 tablespoons flour
                  1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
                  1 tablespoon lemon juice
                  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                  3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
                  2 tablespoons heavy cream

                  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
                  To make the filling, place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is creamy and smooth. Beat in the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, and, when it is well incorporated, beat in the flour, lemon zest, vanilla extract,lemon juice, eggs and egg yolk, and heavy cream. Do not overbeat, the cake will crack.
                  Pour the filling into the cooled nut crust and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour. Then remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the pan. Then demold only when completely cool.
                  Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving-better the next day though.

                  It also freezes really well. I have half of one left over from Thanksgiving. I think it is time to defrost it....

                  1. re: Densible

                    Yum. Thanks. Excited to try this one.

            2. I've made a beautiful lemon tart with blueberries. It's a great flavor combo. The recipe is from Pie and Pastry Bible (i'm pretty sure). But it's basically a sweet crust with lemon curd and then topped with blueberries that have been coated with a simple syrup (make the syrup and then add the blueberries and mix while still warm). It's really delicious and pretty.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pigtowner

                Also! There's a beautiful lemon cake from CI that is covered with tons of fluffy white frosting that is very pretty too and super yummy:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37626...

              2. What do you use for your tart/pie crusts in place of wheat flour?

                If you're using lemon curd, that is going to need to be refrigerated, whatever the incarnation. However, a meringue topping will lost its "crisp" in the fridge. So your dessert may lose some of its seductiveness.

                How about a lemon curd tart with sliced candied lemons on top? Sometimes I "frost" the prebaked crust with bittersweet chocolate and let it harden before adding the lemon curd. It does well made a day ahead.