My Meyer’s lemon tree boasts 11 bright yellow lemons in various stages of ripening, and 9 shiny green ones. And I’ve all ready harvested 5 deeply perfumed and heavily burdened fruits. Such a luxury in the depth of winter!
Cultivating any citrus fruit in our climate is a challenge that takes patient nurturing. My lemon tree is a testament of that by surviving for over 10 years. But I’ve killed many a tree. To really thrive, this thorny, glorified houseplant likes nitrogen rich soil (like rabbit manure) and plenty of bright light.
In the fall, before the hard frost, my husband good-naturedly complains while rearranging furniture and wheeling the massive branched plant into the house. The green lemons that grew larger all summer have started to yellow and ripen, and the new fruit set is just starting to expand. Come February we’ll have another crop to harvest, and in March, the tree again starts to bloom. When the weather warms up above 50, sometime in May, the tree returns to the deck to soak up the summer rays and showers.
Our daughter in upstate New York just harvested a very special Meyer’s lemon from their tree, and she was yearning for a batch of lemon squares. “Just like the ones you used to make, Mother.”
When Emily was 10 years old, I wrote a story about the delicious butter that Flossie Howard of Blue Hill made from the milk her husband’s Jersey cows. With just 3 cows, this was a small operation. “I milk by hand, keeps the girls healthier,” Kendall explained.
After milking, the fluid was then strained, and run through a centrifugal spinner to separate the milk from the cream. Jersey cows are famous for the high butterfat content in their milk. The skim milk went to the pigs, and the rich cream Flossie used to make butter.
The recipe for these lemon squares, or Flossie’s Lemon Lovenotes, comes from her. The “special” ingredient in her delicious squares was the fresh, Jersey cream butter.
When my granddaughter Alison and I made these squares, our “special” ingredient was their first, homegrown Meyer’s lemon.
These lemon squares are a rich, luxurious, sweet treat. I believe that the “special” ingredient of everyone who makes Flossie’s Lemon Lovenotes is LOVE.
Flossie’s Lemon Lovenotes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup 1/2 pound cold butter Flossie always used Jersey butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon or more grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Assemble all ingredients and tools. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a pastry blender or your food processor, combine the crust ingredients until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Press the crust into an ungreased 9-by-13 inch pan.
- Bake 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
- To prepare the filling, beat together the sugar, eggs, ¼ cup all purpose flour, and 1-teaspoon baking powder.
- Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and beat until creamy.
- Pour the filling over the hot crust and bake in 350-degree oven until the top has just set. About 25 – 30 minutes. Allow the pan to cool on a rack. Dust the top with powdered sugar.
- Cut into squares. Makes 24 squares.