The bracing tartness of lemons seems just the thing we crave when our taste buds are waking up after a long winter of comfort foods. And though they can be just as indulgent as a rich, chocolate something-or-other, lemon desserts are refreshing and welcome where more decadent desserts seem out of place.
At the heart of most lemon desserts is Lemon Curd — the smooth, bright-yellow sauce made from eggs, butter, sugar zest and juice. Master lemon curd (and our unusual technique is especially easy) and you hold the keys to lemon bars, tarts, layer cakes and a host of other desserts. We also have a few twists on another classic, Lemon Meringue Pie. The stunning height and intense flavor of this pie aren’t hard to achieve once you learn the secrets.
Before starting out any lemon dessert, check out our tips for zesting and juicing, and our favorite tools for getting the most juice out of a lemon. Plus, we have a guide to the varieties of lemons you’ll encounter in restaurants and stores.
Finally, don’t miss our bonus download, a collection of our favorite lemon desserts from past issues of Fine Cooking, including a light soufflé, rich pot de crème, and a festive lemon layer cake.