Lemon Cream Crisp

Lemon loving all my life, I was naturally drawn to this unexpected twist on the beloved apple crisp.

My happy accident began when I came across a recipe for Pavlova with Pink Grapefruit and Pomegranate with a lemon cream filling. After an hour of beating egg whites to whip into sugary, glistening pillows, my pavlovas were less meringue-like and more like pancake look-alikes that tasted entirely reminiscent of burnt marshmallows. Maybe I'll muster the courage to tackle the art that is pavlova-making another day, but I had to find an alternate plan for this lemon cream. After panicking at the sight of my failed pavlovas, I scanned my pantry. I love oats whether they’re baked in granola or simmering in milk awaiting a heaping spoonful of maple syrup. Apple crisps were the first remedy that came to mind with their crunchy coat and ice-cream dollop, so I adapted a recipe for Strawberry Honey Oat Crisps.

I chucked my pavlovas and began to prepare the lemon cream. I followed the recipe for the most part with the exception of adding heavy cream. The recipe called for the double boiler method, which is characterized by a hovering a bowl over simmering water and stirring whatever mixture in the bowl. I've used this for handmade chocolate covered pretzel rods, so I felt confident, ready to tackle the cream. One stick of butter and three lemons later, I was left with a whipped lemon cream dream.

I refrigerated it for an hour and mixed my crisp while waiting. I tossed the recipe’s sugar recommendation since the lemon cream had enough for the both of them. I added a dab of fig jam and opted for agave instead of honey to glue my nutty oat mixture together. This was a walk in the park compared to whisking the lemon filling, but it was oh-so-rewarding.

For both variety and experimentation, I assembled the crisp in three separate ramekins, each in a different style. After baking for 15 minutes, I also topped each ramekin with fresh blueberries.  The first was single layered with the oat crisp on top of the cream. It was was reminiscent of a creme brûlée with its crunchy top and creamy center. The second sandwiched the cream between the crisp. The lemon layer between the oats created a balanced bite with its equal ratio of cream to oats. For the third, I laid frozen fruit on the bottom with the oat crisp on top and garnished with the zesty chilled cream after baking. This was like the classic crisp as the chilled cream acted as the "ice-cream".

After I served these to my husband and mother as an after-dinner treat we crowned the double oat layer assembly. Because the cream was full-bodied and tart, the addition of the oats cradled its lemon zing into the loveliest spoonful.

I adapted the recipes from Apt. 2B Baking Co. and Fork Knife Swoon

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