Even though one of Buena Vista Farm's biscuits is a lemon and orange shortbread, and I've made hundreds of them in the past month, I'm yet to buy a lemon.
Thanks to this tree.
Unfortunately it's not actually my tree.
Which means this involves quite a bit of thievery.
LOTS of lemons, see?
The tree is actually on Buena Vista Farm (Mum and Dad's place) while we are on an acre out the other side of town. So this citrus kinda belongs in the bikkies, right? And it's OK to sneak the odd sack outta there, you reckon?
What, Dad? Oh THIS laundry basket full of lemons? I have no idea how that got into the back of my car. It's truly amazing.
When we moved onto our place, I was thrilled to find two gnarly old lemon trees down the back in what I now call Fox Hollow (where the foxes first slink out of).
The trees aren't laden like the Buena Vista tree though, and as this property was virtually uninhabited for about twenty years, most of the fruit is now on branches about 15 feet off the ground.
Eek. There's a Leghorn in Fox Hollow. AWAY, chookie! Back up the hill!
I love lemon trees. I have an old and very dear friend who once bought a little house with a lemon tree and I think the tree was the highlight of the sale. We talked a lot about that tree and very little about the house.
I grow one at every house I live in. Our last house, rented, I lobbied to keep our lemon tree in a pot so I wouldn't leave it behind like so many other trees, but Adam insisted it would grow better in the ground. As always, he was dead right. It was blooming as we left it.
Other than Lemon Sago Pudding, one of my favourite desserts is Lemon Pie.
We had visitors on Saturday night. The perfect excuse.
The filling is Stephanie Alexander's recipe from The Cook's Companion.
For the pastry I use Nigella's theory of half the volume of fat to flour. (Although I use butter, not lard.) Bind with egg yolks and cold water.
For the pastry:
300g all purpose flour
150g cold butter
2 egg yolks
Whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until it's crumbs. Add the yolks and whizz. Very gradually add the cold water until it binds together. Roll out and blind bake for approx 20 mins at 200°C, the last 5 mins without the baking beads/rice/beans (whatever you use.)
For the middle: (This is Stephanie Alexander's recipe)
3 large lemons
250g castor sugar
icing sugar to dust
Reset oven to 160°C. Zest and juice lemons. Combine eggs and sugar until well amalgamated then add zest and juice and stir well. Add cream and mix using a balloon whisk. Pour into pastry case and bake to 35-40 mins until just set. Cool in tin for at least 30 mins before serving. Serve dusted with icing sugar (and a new homemade vanilla icecream, recipe later this week.)