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Lemon desserts needed

Hi everyone,

I am making a lemon birthday dessert for a friend's child who will be turning 11. He is not your typical 11-year-old; he has quite sophisticated tastes, including raw oysters, sushi, fancy olives and similar things.

He has said he is not a "cake" person, but when I was describing the Epicurious Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...) he said it sounded really good, I think mostly because of the lemon curd. I told him it wasn't your typical cakey cake (like a grocery store bakery cake with loads of gross icing). He loved the Fine Cooking lemon bars, which I made for a get-together last summer.

Still, are there other ideas? I'm kind of in the mood for a multi-step project.

Oh, AND--he's also into swimming, and while I'm not a very good cake decorator, if I could work that in somehow I think he would be over the moon!!

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  1. The 1/31/2007 New York Times has a recipe for "Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart" that reads very good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joebob

      ooh, i like the idea of a shortbread tart.

      alternatively, does he like cheesecake? you could even do one with a lemon curd topping.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I don't know--I will have to find out. That certainly sounds good to ME!

        Also like the idea of a tart--I actually brought that up too.

    2. If you want a fantastic multi-step lemon dessert, the Lemon Cream Tart from Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme is my all time favorite lemon dessert. Rich, creamy, and full of lemon flavor. This website has the recipe online: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/ild...

      Maybe you could balance a little diving board on the edge of the tart with a swimmer "diving in"?

      1. This is a divine lemon dessert, if you'd like a tart - Suzanne Goin's lemon tart with a surprise layer of chocolate.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Splendid Spatula

          I like Suzanne Goin’s lemon tart with a layer of chocolate well enough, but I like Kate Zuckerman’s Meyer Lemon Curd Tart from “The Sweet Life” even better. I actually thought the chocolate detracted from both the flavor and the texture of the tart and I preferred Kate’s recipe for the curd.

          Here the recipe for Kate’s tart: http://books.google.com/books?id=RfGJ...

          I’d use a different short crust, though. Kate’s is excellent, but a bit of a bear to roll out.

          Here’s a photo of Kate’s tart that I posted a few years back: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4649...

        2. If he likes lemon curd, you could do a riff on curds - lemon, lime, and orange or grapefruit and serve them over citrus fruit or berries or other types of fruit. Another variation is to mix some lemon curd into stiffly beaten whipped cream. You could also fill a pre-baked pastry crust with lemon curd and decorate with carefully arranged fruit. To achieve the bakery look, melt some currant or apricot jam, depending on the type of fruit, to give them some sheen.

          1. That cake looks awesome--I'd go with that, especially since it's for his birthday. It sounds like he'd appreciate it and nothing beats a great lemon curd.

            Is he a swimmer, like mostly in a pool, or does he like ocean swimming? Most of the pool based cakes I've seen are slihgtly hollowed out cake filled w/ blue jello, or variations on that. You could do it w/ blueberry preserves (or reduce frozen blueberries) which would go w/ lemon. You could make gingerbread/sugar cookie people but rearrange their arms so it looks like they're swimming in the pool and have them in the water. Or you could do it more ocean like. You can make cool coral by pouring chocolate over ice in a glass/vase. When the ice melts, you're left with chocolate with holes that look like coral. Fill w/ swedish fish and pipe green frosting for seaweed (or just use fruit leather and shape it). You could have that coming out of water made of blueberry preserves w/ cookie people swimming in it. But, that depends on how much you get into the useless details. I've spent far too much time in my life on useless details like that for kids cakes. It's the cake that counts and just piping Happy Birthday works just as well.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              I think those ideas sound cute, but this kid is a total foodie. Seriously, he hates things like Jello! I know, so foreign to most kids I know.

              I like the idea of a blueberry jam or something on the top, with a diving board balanced on the side or something like that. (He's a pool swimmer who does meets and is on a team--getting more and more serious.)

              1. re: IndyGirl

                The idea of jello on such a good cake made me cringe, too. I thought blueberries would be so much better. But, at 11, he might think those kind of decorations are childish. You could really embarass him by getting a photo transfer of him as a baby and put that on top.:-) You could easily do a pool idea--with reduced thickened blueberries for the pool. Diving board on the side, swimming lanes made with white chocolate and hang a row of flags over it.

              2. If you have an icecream maker or don't mind making sorbet in the freezer, I have a recipe for Lemon Sorbet Stuffed Lemons...

                These Nuggets are not your average Lemon treat either:

                Lemon Nuggets
                These fruit nuggets are based on the Aplet and Cotlet fruit bars found in Washington and Oregon.

                4 tablespoons Plain gelatin
                3 teaspoons Lemon juice
                2-1/4 cups Unsweetened applesauce
                2 cups Chopped nuts
                2 teaspoons Vanilla
                4 cups Sugar
                Confectioners' sugar for dusting

                In cup or small bowl stir gelatin into 1 cup applesauce; set aside until gelatin dissolves. In medium saucepan stir sugar into remaining applesauce. Add gelatin dissolved in applesauce. Over medium heat, stir constantly and bring to boil; turn heat to lowest setting and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour into buttered 8-inch square pan. Cover loosely and let stand overnight. When firm, cut into 1 inch squares. Roll in confectioner's sugar.

                Makes about 3 dozen squares.

                1. Shaker Lemon Pie

                  Preparation time: 1/2 hour plus at least 12 hours
                  for soaking and refrigeration.

                  Baking time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

                  Lemon filling:
                  2 large lemons
                  2 cups granulated sugar
                  4 eggs, beaten well
                  1 tablespoon cream
                  1 Double crust dough for 9-inch pie

                  1. Begin with the filling. Wash lemons; cut off both ends and discard.
                  Slice lemons very thinly, rinds and all. Remove seeds. Place in a
                  mixing bowl and cover with sugar. Stir to mix well. Cover bowl and set
                  in refrigerator overnight. Soaking overnight in sugar removes bitterness from
                  lemon slices.

                  2. The next day, When ready to assemble pie, roll out the two portions
                  of pie dough on a floured board. Line a 9-inch pie plate with larger
                  portion of pastry.

                  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

                  4. Beat eggs until yolks and whites are well-mixed. To the lemon
                  mixture, gently fold in the eggs (the sugar will have dissolved into a
                  syrup). Pour into the pie shell. Arrange slices evenly in pie shell.

                  Top with the second piece of pie dough. Crimp edges well to prevent
                  leaking and cut a few air vents in the top to let steam escape. Brush
                  top with cream.

                  5. Place pie on a cookie sheet in preheated 450 degrees F oven and bake 15 minutes.
                  Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer, or
                  until a knife inserted near rim of pie comes out clean. Center of pie
                  will continue to set as it cools. Cool before serving. Serve at room
                  temperature or chilled.

                  Makes one 9-inch pie, about six to eight servings.

                  1. How about individual trifles with cake, lemon curd and some fruit layers? I know it isn't a birthday cake but you can put a candle on it.

                    Of course, some people would refer to an individual trifle as a parfait.

                    Although a cheesecake with lemon zest in it and some lemon curd on top sounds very good.

                    Profiteroles filled with lemon curd. or if you want to be fancy a crouqembouche with lemon curd in it instead of pastry cream.

                    1. I like to make shortbread cookies or madeleines, or if I'm feeling very ambitious, those brown-edge wafers you roll into straws (or you can buy the Pepperidge Farm version), plus lots and lots of lemon curd to dip them in. You can put lemon zest in the cookies or madeleines, too.

                      You just arrange the platters like crudites, with bowls of lemon curd, decorated with lemon leaves and whole lemons. Looks good with anything purple, if you want to go all "Martha" with flowers.

                      I love lemon desserts the way others do chocolate, and I like everything people have suggested except cheesecake. That kind of sour would conflict with the sourness of the lemon curd on my tastebuds.

                      1. i'm going to feel really bad for the little guy if he didn't get his cake by now considering that IndyGirl posted this request more than 2 years ago :)

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I hate, hate, hate it when I get suckered in without realizing the date of the original post. Or of the post to which I'm replying, for that matter. Nonetheless, not unhappy to be on record as preferring Kate Zuckerman's lemon curd tart to Suzanne Goin's. So not a total loss.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            i know! it's happened to me more than once lately - a lot of people have been resurrecting random old threads.

                            this is still a good, useful one to continue to develop - of course i'm biased because i LOVE lemon...but i just didn't want anyone who posted today to feel slighted if they never got a reply.

                            okay, i confess it may also have been meant to serve as a reminder to all of us (including yours truly!) to check the date before posting :)

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            HAH! I'm really glad that I saw this! He did get his cake. I made swimming lanes, diving boards with white chocolate, frosting and white sparkles and used teddy grahams as the swimmers. The cake was the epicurious one I posted above. it was a hit!! I've attached a tiny picture.

                              1. re: IndyGirl

                                btw the swimming flags were made with organic fruit rollups and toothpicks.

                                1. re: IndyGirl

                                  that's wonderful. i love that you even made lanes! glad he was a happy birthday boy :)

                              2. How about Lemon Sponge Pie? It's easy to whip up the filling, which separates during baking so there is a cakey layer on top, a lemon custard beneath it. It uses a standard blind-baked pie shell and can be topped with whipped cream if the lily needs gilding. I've also seen it called Lemon Cake-Pie.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  David Lebovitz's Tart crust with Keller's Lemon Sabayon is tasty and way easy.

                                  I do agree that Pierre Herme's Lemon Cream is supreme, but it's a real pain compared to the lemon sabayon in TFL cookbook.

                                  Top it with disco sugar and brulee it for another layer of flavour/texture.