I'm a chocolate girl through and through, but sometimes I get the undying urge to cook through a huge amount of fruit. This usually happens when a huge bag of Meyer lemons appears in my kitchen, as if by magic, and I've got only a week or two before they go bad. It's almost like a Food Network challenge: Ten Pounds in Ten Days! But really, what the heck am I going to do with ten pounds of lemons? Bake them, of course!
While I'm completely enamored with lemon meringue pie, I want something new. Something rich. Something so decadent that I'll want to hide in the closet and eat it all to myself, growling like a rabid cat, not sharing a bite with anyone. Ok, that's not really how I roll—anyone who's ever been to my house realizes very quickly that they'll leave my clutches stuffed to the gills with all sorts of ridiculously rich goodies—but you get what I mean. I wanted something stupid good.
My first thought for "stupid good" is always cheesecake. My second thought is lemon curd. My third thought, of course, has to be "GET THEE TO THE GROCERY STORE, STAT!" There's no stemming the urge to bake once the culinary gods have you in their grip. So off to the store I went, and the end result is this gorgeous little pie.
If you need to make use of a huge bag of Meyer lemons, start with this incredibly rich cheesecake. Made from smooth, rich mascarpone cheese and topped with a tart lemon pudding, you'll find this cake best suited cut into dainty little slices for afternoon tea. A little goes a long ways here, making this a great cake for a party. A hint of cayenne in the cheese filling makes for little hint of something-something, and your guests will never be able to figure out why they love the mystery zip of this early spring treat. And you shouldn't tell them. It can be our little secret.
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About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.