Oh spring. There’s so much I love about spring. Daffodils. Planting seeds and watching them pop out of the dirt. The weather getting warmer. I’m not a huge fan of the gale-force winds that rip through Flagstaff this time of year, but hey, it’s worth it for the luxurious summers. And when I start doing my spring cleaning, I like my cleaning products to all have that citrus-y freshness that signals the changing of the seasons and a renewal of hope and happiness.
And so my mind is turning into putting citrus into my baking. I’ve been working grapefruit into it since my aunt kept giving me literally bags upon bags of fresh, sweet, tart, juicy grapefruit from her backyard, but I’ve also been throwing in some limes and lemons because variety. I’ve never been the biggest fan of lemons ever, but recently it seems they’ve gotten into my blood. I’ve made lemon cupcakes, lemon sticky buns, lemon curd. . . Last week, for my anniversary, I had the most amazing dessert from our favorite fancy place in town, Brix, and it was a divine lemon curd bread pudding. Here is a picture of the lemon curd cupcakes I made a few weeks ago. I really wish I’d taken a picture of the lemon curd cheesecake, too, but it wasn’t super pretty.
Lemon is deeply embedded in my past. When I was growing up, I had this one friend, Caity. She was so much fun to be with, but she lived far away, about a half-hour to forty-five minutes, depending on the traffic, so we only got together a few times a year. Every year, though, I remember her mom would bake an insane amount of lemon poppyseed muffins — it was her big yearly project — and she would bring a bunch of ziplock bags full of them to all her friends. She and Caity would come over with their parade of muffins, and while she and my mom chatted away, Caity and I would always play “tea” that day and eat muffins. Her mom would bake these dainty little mini-muffins, and I would always eat practically the whole bag that day, sneaking them out shamelessly when I thought my friend wasn’t looking. Ever since then, my absolute favorite type of muffin has been lemon poppyseed.
But recently, I’ve decided that lemon is so good I need to give it a bigger shake than just lemon poppyseed muffins. And I’ve discovered how delightful and versatile that little lemon is. Put it in some pesto, throw some zest in a blueberry baked good to brighten it up, toss a bit into a margarita. . .the possibilities for this fruit are endless! Every time I go to the grocery store now, I find it almost impossible to not throw in fewer than five lemons, just in case.
Gloriously, this lemon obsession of mine coincides with two excellent things: spring, obviously, and its need for lighter, zestier baked goods and less of the heavy pastries so wonderfully artery-clogging in winter, and also Game of Thrones.
I love Game of Thrones. And my husband and I always watch the new season, one episode at a time like old-school losers, every Sunday night with friends. This year it is only four of us, total, but this will not deter me from providing us with a dessert basically every week. I think this year, though, we are going to switch off. The people whose house we are watching at are going to provide dinner and then the guest will provide dessert. This past week my husband and I hosted (with filling and purportedly healthy quinoa burgers as our main dish) and our friends brought brownies topped with Reese’s pieces. Drooool. This week we’re switching. And so I am turning to the lemon dessert.
The only question left is. . .what to make? Stay tuned for pictures and an update!