"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Thursday, March 1 2018

Even a cursory study of the health benefits of lemons suggests that it is a miracle fruit! Perhaps the “Tree of Knowledge”(Genesis Chapter 3)  was a lemon tree! (The scriptures say nothing about apples and, by the way, the first sin is disobedience not sex!)

Lemons are touted as treatment for maladies ranging from indigestion and constipation to fevers, burns, kidney stones, cholera, rheumatism, to strengthen the immune system and lower blood pressure as well as a hair rinse to maintain shiny locks. Citrus is what saved sailors from scurvy(as in the colloquial, and not always respectful term, Limey). They are also a wonderful ingredient in both savory and sweet delights.  And lemonade speaks of summertime pleasures to come!

But we also note that oft repeated quote, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”   It, of course, suggests that life’s ‘lemons’, the challenges, bitter moments, hardships and struggles can be overcome, or at least managed with a positive attitude.  As we engage in Lenten self-examination, this significant element of our personality requires reflection.  Certainly, at least in this country, we are entitled to our opinions but the reality of how our attitudes may be ‘sins’, damaging our relationships, remains.   We encounter people, even those fighting major health issues or in the last days of their earthly journey, whose attitudes towards life, and death, are full of grace, thanksgiving, love and humour.   We also encounter the other kind.  Is your attitude towards life one which brings joy to others…or not?

Recipe: Frozen Lemon Torte Perfect for Easter.  It requires a dozen eggs, unless you halve the recipe, but you can just count them as protein! Garnish:  A little more whipped cream, fresh berries, chocolate curls, mint, or (later in the spring) fresh johnnie jump ups! Needed:  9 inch spring form pan. Trace three circles(slightly smaller than the pan bottom) on parchment paper and place on baking sheet.

Meringues: Make these first. 1 ½ cups sugar; 2 Tablespoons cornstarch(optional); 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind(you’ll need more, see below); 6 egg whites(with 6 yolks for another recipe): 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine ¾ cup of the sugar with the cornstarch and 2 teaspoons rind. Set aside.  In a clean bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually beating in remaining ¾ cup of sugar.  Add vanilla and then fold in reserved sugar mixture.  Spoon meringue onto circles, smoothing the tops.  Bake in 300 degree oven for 1 hour or until dry and lightly golden.  (This is why you make this first.) You will have extra meringue; make individual meringues to use it up.

Filling: 1 ¼ cups sugar; 1/3 cup butter; 1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind 1 cup lemon juice; 6 eggs; 1 ½ cups whipping cream. In a pot melt butter with sugar, lemon rind and juice; stir until sugar dissolves. In a clean bowl, beat eggs; whisk in lemon mixture and return to pot and stir until just boiling.  Let it thicken for a couple of minutes.  Chill, covered with plastic wrap until room temperature.  Whip cream; fold in chilled lemon mixture.

Construction: Fit one large meringue into spring form pan(it’s ok if it crumbles a bit); spoon 1/3 of lemon mixture on top; layer with another meringue.  Add another 1/3 of filling; layer with another meringue.  Spoon the rest of the filling over all.  If you have some crumbled bits of meringue put them on top.  Freeze.  Let soften in refrigerator for about 45 minutes before serving.  There, dessert is covered!