Originally Published: May 28, 2005 5 a.m.
As we move into warmer weather, we usually want lighter fare. Lemon fits that description perfectly, and it's worth having a nice selection of recipes on hand when the folks with a sweet tooth still need something to satisfy that. Some can be made ahead, which always helps the cook.
LUCKY LEMON CAKE
This was given to me by a dear friend who keeps one in her freezer!
2 - (3 oz.) packages lady fingers - 2 (14 oz.) cans low-fat sweetened condensed milk - 8 eggs, separated - 6-1/2 oz. lemon juice (takes about 3 1/4 1g. lemons) -1/4 tsp. cream of tartar - berries (if in season), opt. for topping.
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease spring-form pan. Cover bottom of pan with ladyfingers, cutting some to fit. Stand remaining ones around pan sides. Trim if needed. In large bowl, mix milk, egg yolks, lemon juice. In med. bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. Fold into lemon mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Cool thoroughly; cover with foil and freeze. Will keep up to 3 months. Serves 12. Before serving, remove outside ring of spring-form pan. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. May dust with powdered sugar or top with berries in season or whipped topping.
PINK LEMONADE DESSERT
Another make-ahead with 12 servings which is light and cool and good after a big meal.
2 c. crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 50) - 1/4 c. confectioner's sugar - 1/2 c. melted margarine or butter - 1 can sweetened condensed milk - 3/4 c. pink lemonade concentrate - 1 (12 oz.) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed - 2-3 tsps. red food coloring (opt.).
NOTE: Both of these recipes call for sweetened condensed milk. Do you remember learning how to make it in the Feb. 4 column?
In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in butter. Press into greased 13 x 9 x 2 dish; set aside. In blender or food processor, combine milk and lemonade concentrate; cover and process until well blended. Fold in the whipped topping and food coloring if using. Spread evenly over crust. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
SOFT LEMONADE COOKIES
Makes 6 dozen very moist cookies.
1 c. butter or margarine, softened - 1 c. sugar - 2 eggs - 3 cups all purpose flour - 1 tsp. baking soda - 1 can (6 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and divided - additional sugar.
In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; add eggs. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with 1/3 c. lemonade concentrate. Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 for 8 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Brush with remaining lemonade concentrate; sprinkle with extra sugar.
STRAWBERRY LEMON TRIFLE
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened - 1 c. nonfat lemon yogurt - 2 c. skim milk - 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant lemon pudding mix - 2 tsps. Grated lemon peel - 2 1/2 c. sliced fresh strawberries, divided - 1 T. white grape juice or water - 1 homemade or purchased angel food cake (10 inches.) In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt. Add milk, pudding mix and lemon peel; beat until smooth. In a blender, process 1/2 c. strawberries and grape juice or water until smooth. Tear cake into 1-inch cubes; place a third in a trifle or other 3 qt. serving bowl. (A clear bowl shows the layers to advantage.) Top with 1/3 of the pudding mixture and half of the remaining strawberries. Drizzle with half of the strawberry sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining cake and pudding mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Only 180 calories per serving and a trace of fat. For diabetics: 2 starch exchanges and 1/2 fruit.
What is better on a hot summer day than a perfect glass of lemonade? While there are many forms of lemonade available now, from frozen to powdered, there is nothing to compare with the real thing, made the old-fashioned way with simple syrup.
THE PERFECT GLASS OF LEMONADE
Syrup: Mix 1 c. water, 2 c. sugar and 1/4 tsp. lemon juice in pan. Heat on low heat until sugar dissolves. Raise temperature to medium high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cool for one minute. Chill completely. This yields 2 cups of syrup which may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks. For a pitcher of lemonade: Mix 2 c. simple syrup, 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 fresh lemon juice and three cups cold water in two-quart pitcher. Stir well and serve over ice. For sweeter lemonade, use the lesser amount of lemon juice. Makes about 6 1/2 c. May garnish with thin lemon slices and place a piece of lemon on side of glass or add a sprig of mint. NOTE: For all lemon recipes, always use fresh lemon for the best flavor.