Love for Lemon: Ottolenghi Lust & Lemon Lime Cream Truffles

Earlier this week I was moaning about how quickly I get through my fruit. I can never buy them as fast or faster than I eat them which means by the end of the week, I’m usually lacking in my 5 a day and feeling a little stuffed up and unrefreshed. I depend on fruit acids to cleanse my system and keep me awake. My sugarfree polos tend to help a little but nothing like something fruity to complete my day, add a little colour to my life and jazz up any pudding I’ve prepared.

Last summer, I waxed lyrical about pears in my Pear and Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (recipe from Ottolenghi). Pears surely are one of my favourites but I’m never without a bag of apples (Pink Lady if I can) and a whole fruit bowl of clementines (you know if I’ve been gorging on clementines when I start getting the orange-peeling thumb nail). With the right seasons, I love golden kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapples and plums. In the summer, I live off berries on ice and a side of fruit sorbet. I love the way they easily cleanse your palate and almost get your system to reboot. Also, I can’t deny how good they taste.

A firm favourite is the lemon. What a sexy, chirpy-looking yellow fruit to bring some sunshine to you winter or summer, night or day. It tastes great in just about anything from sweet to savoury. It’s bloody gorgeous with fish (and I love my seafood). It looks awesome. A little zest and you’ve totally sexed up any dish or cake or sweet. And a little goes a long way. Power-packed, I say! A little squeeze makes a great cocktail, or for the non-booze drinking ones, heavenly with a cuppa earl grey. If you’re ill, lemon honey works wonders. Make it from scratch with a slice of lemon rather than down that disgusting medicinal Lemsip – it’s a whole lot more comforting and cheaper too.

 

I had Sunday brunch last week with an old friend of mine at Ottolenghi’s and I couldn’t resist taking away 2 little cakes with me. There was a whole beautiful range to choose from and although I was tempted with the Chocolate Bailey’s cake, I went for 2 lemon types: Lemon, Blueberry & Almond Cake (left), Lemon Pistachio & Polenta Cake (right). Both were topped with a lemon drizzle which made it look ultra yum. I love eating lemon drizzle. I could eat the thing on its own without any cake, it has to be cooled and hardened of course. So yum. Like eating brittle. Sweet, lemony brittle.

I may be biased. Some people call me mentalist, crazy fool, mad Dave or just nutter. Halloween night I dressed up as Lady Gaga (platinum blonde wig and all) and blatantly won best dressed. But my little tea hat and vintage round shades gave off some Mad Hatter vibe which only adds to my ‘nutter’ reputation, no? And how apt that I love nuts – especially pistachios, then comes hazelnuts, cashews, edamame/natto (may not count as a nut), cashews, brazil nuts and pecans. Pistachios my true favourite. As an ice cream flavour, you don’t even have to ask what I’ll be choosing. That the Lemon Pistachio & Polenta cake was topped very generously with crushed pistachio AND had crushed pistachios in the cake itself was a real treat for me. Sorta gave me a rush you’d get when say something was Buy 1 Get 1 Free or 3 for 2. Not the most eloquent or sophisticated analogy, but I’m sure you know what I mean!

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The cake was so lemony and sweet, with a lovely crunch of both pistachio and polenta. The lemon drizzle was perfect, not too sweet and not too tangy. I’m a bit of squirrel so I spent a bit of time nibbling at the polenta bits, sent me a little crazy after with my sugar high but totally adored this cake. I’m not surprised why it’s one of the more popular cakes of Ottolenghi’s and why everyone’s dying to get their hands on the recipe. Can see myself in the near future going back for more of this!

As much as I find the combination of lemon, blueberry and almonds of the second cake to be simply amazing (I made a cake based on those flavours with yoghurt once a very long time ago here), there was nothing about it that really was shouting at me – saying, ‘Yes I’m so amazing aren’t I, now shut up and go buy a dozen more to gorge on and share if you are willing’. Was real good and moist nonetheless!

What can I say then? Ottolenghi loves it lemons and knows what to do with ‘em. I am a fan.

All the lemon-eating moments and lemon daydreams meant I had to make something incorporating it this week. I had plans, inspired by the lemon pistachio and polenta combination, to make lemon cream truffles with that lovely crushed pistachio filling and topping. But I have been a little brain dead this week and totally forgot to get them!  I even wondered if I could use lemon curd with it but feared that might make the whole thing too ‘wet’. I wasn’t being particularly creative I’m sure, but you know what they say though, when one door shuts, another opens. I found a key lime at the bottom of my vegetable chiller drawer and so whacked that on top of the truffles which gave it a lovely lime perfume and lacing of flavour. Nothing too strong to contest the lemon. And it worked. Simple flavours. Not as classy as that of Ottolenghi’s. Still very tasty and lovely in my opinion.

Part of me wished I’d bought some yellow candy coating so I could have lemon-yellow truffles, and truffles that didn’t look like a repetition of the Oreo Truffles I made in the post just before this one. Too bad, wish not granted. Do I have to say again that I’m poor? Goodness. I just don’t understand how not to live extravagantly huh.

Although I love playing around with edible colours, I really like the white coating for its clean look. I’ve also used pink candy coating with a slight variation of topping with pink and red hearts and butterfly sprinkles as a tribute to our lovely Mowie from Mowielicious. He adores all things pink and so Mowie, the pink ones are all for you. Bisous.

Might have to check back on this post for St. Valentine’s huh? Everyone busy making Christmas cookies and whatnots and I here I am, whacking out some lovey dovey bite-sized lemon cream pop-its. Ah! To be deviant and non-conformist. I jest. These truffles are much creamier than the oreo truffles as I’ve kept all the cream centers of the biscuits. I was inspired by the previous recipe, taken from Bakerella, which was very simple and basically turning an everyday biscuit into something a little more special and little dreamier.

What I would like to try next would be to make a double cream based lemon-infused centre and then coat it in biscuit crumbs or nuts a la Ferrero Rocher. These truffles have their centres mixed with cream and biscuit so it’s like having a bite-sized cream biscuit in your mouth all prettied up with white chocolate candy coating. Can’t wait to make this differently and see how it turns out!

Lemon Lime Cream Truffles
Ingredients

    • 1 tube package cream biscuits

 

    • 1/2 a package cream cheese, softened

 

    • zest of 1 lemon

 

    • zest of 1 lime, for garnish

 

    candy coating, melted

Keep the cream centres of the biscuits. Add to the softened cream cheese and mix well with zest of 1 lemon. Set aside.

In a bag or pestle and mortar, bash up the biscuits til they produce a fine crumb. Mix together with the cream cheese mixture. Form balls with 1/2 tbs mixture and set aside or in the fridge to firm up a little.

Prepare your candy coating according to the instructions on the package. If microwaveable, microwave for 1 minute or 30 seconds depending on your make. Remove from microwave and stir. Let stand for a bit before blasting it in the microwave for another 10 seconds. Repeat until you have a smooth, melted bowl of coating.

Drop biscuit balls into the coating and drop gently onto a parchment-lined tray. Garnish with lime zest and let it sit for coating to set. Fridge before serving so that the cream insides firm up a little.

Recipe produces 18 truffles.

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