RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Lately on the In The Kitchen with Scotty cooking segments of “Rise and Shine” I have been hitting you guys with summer garden recipes. Well….. some of you are ready for desserts. Now not just any dessert mind you, but a refreshing, cool, summertime dessert. I came up with something delicious!
Two things… what is a Meyer Lemon, and what is an Ice Box Cake?
First, the Ice Box Cake: The Icebox (another, mostly southern, name for a refrigerator. Pre electricity there was literally a block of ice in a box that was used to keep food from spoiling) Cake is originally sweetened whipped cream and thin chocolate wafers. Layered together and left in the “icebox” overnight to meld into a wonderfully creamy delicious concoction, the idea was popular with homemakers, especially in the summer. No one wanted to turn on an oven and heat up the house, but everyone still wanted cake. Voila!
Food being food and neither “black or white”, home cooks began to experiment and modify the traditional Icebox Cake. The major components are still there, sweetened whipped cream and chocolate cookies, but the flavors have changed… and even delicious additions added.
Meyer Lemon: So the quick version… From my understanding, the Meyer Lemon is thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarine orange. The origins of the Meyer comes from China… brought to the US in the early 20th century from a Department of Agriculture employee Frank Nicholas Meyer. The original Meyers caught a citrus disease, folks were scared that disease would kill the orange crops, so all the Meyers were burned. Fast forward to the 1950’s, and new variety was discovered free of virus, and cultivated since. Chef Alice Waters started using them at Chez Panisse in the 1990’s… then, Martha Stewart snatched them up and included them in her recipes. The popularity of the Meyer Lemon exploded!
So here we are today. Oklahoma City, the end of July in 2017, and I have a wonderfully bright, sweet, no bake cake, ready for you to make and enjoy this summer. And that is what I hope you do… enjoy!
And because someone will ask... yes, you may use regular lemons. 😎
For The Meyer Lemon Curd
1 cup Meyer lemon juice, about 5 large Meyer lemons
1 tablespoon lemon zest, microplaned
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 large eggs
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Begin by zesting ALL of the lemons with a microplane. If you do not have a microplane or fine zester… get one. You will need enough zest for 1 full tablespoon, and I found that was around 3 of the lemons. Juice the lemons through a strainer to catch all the pips and grizzle from inside of the lemon. The extra zest from the remaining lemons is for the lemon cream and for garnish. Pour the strained lemon juice into a 1-quart sauce pot.
- To the lemon juice add the zest, sugar, and the salt. Bring to a boil then down to a low simmer. Add the ten tablespoons of butter to melt into the juice.
- In a large mixing bowl crack your eggs and beat well with a whisk. Now, it’s time to “temper” those eggs.. as you would do in making a custard. Slowly add a bit of the hot lemon juice, mix, then some more of the lemon juice, mixing again, finally ending with all the hot liquid into the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pot and begin heating slowly, constantly stirring, until the curd is cooked and thickened.
- Strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a clean nonmetal bowl, removing any “scrambled eggs” and the zest. Let the curd “counter cool” before covering and placing in the fridge. Building this icebox cake you want all the ingredients chilled first.
For The Lemon Cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest, microplaned
5 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
- In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer , with the paddle attachment, begin creaming the softened cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Switch out the paddle attachment of your mixer for the whipping attachment. Pour the 5 cups of cold heavy cream into the bowl of the smooth cream cheese mixture. Begin mixing in the heavy cream until all the cream cheese lumps have blended in. Turn up the speed of the mixer and mix as you would making homemade whipped cream. Whip the cream to stiff peaks… too far and the cream will break and you’ll start making butter… so keep an eye on this. Chill the lemon cream until ready to make the icebox cake.
For The Meyer Lemon Icebox Cake
1 - 9” round Springform pan (cheesecake pan) or a 9x13 cake pan
Meyer lemon curd
2-3 bags “Chessmen” Butter cookies, or any butter cookie/vanilla wafer. About 20-25 cookies
- I used a round springform pan and managed three layers. Whatever pan you use divide the lemon cream evenly for the layers. On the bottom of the springform add a layer of the lemon cream.. around 1 - 1 1/2 cups. Smooth out evenly. Next, layer the cookies without overlapping them. We want the cookies to “soften” a bit while it rests overnight. Layering the cookie will keep the cookie “crisp" for the most part and will be hard to cut when ready to serve.
- Add another layer of the lemon cream and smooth out evenly. With a large dinner spoon or 1 ounce scoop, scoop out dollops of the Meyer lemon curd and place onto of the cream, spacing the dollops apart. With a butter knife swirl the lemon curd into the cream.
- Add another layer of cookies, followed up with a layer of lemon cream, then lemon curd. Before you reach the top of the springform pan, your last two layers should be cookies and a smooth layer of the lemon cream.
- Cover the icebox cake with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator overnight… or in the freezer. I actually placed mine in the freezer to ensure a nice “sharp and clean” cake slice when I was ready to serve. If you store in the fridge overnight, serving will be softer, almost like a layered parfait.
- Remove the pan from the fridge or freezer. Warm the sides with your hands or hot towel if you froze the cake, then remove the butter collar of the springform pan. Place the cake onto a cake plateau. Sprinkle the top with remaining microplaned lemon zest. Serve immediately! Icebox cake should be just that….COLD and refreshing on a hot summer day.