Make your toast, scones, and biscuits shine
Summertime means a return to so many wonderful and simple tastes. Sweet corn with just butter and salt. Meats simply seasoned and cooked on the grill, salads dressed lightly to enhance the delicate textures and flavors. Fruits eaten raw out of hand, with juices running down the arm and chin, or baked quickly into cobblers and crumbles. Something about the summer air just heightens the senses, and warm weather meals, especially if eaten outdoors, need very little gilding to make them magical.
Summer drinks, too, go simpler, tall and iced. Gin and tonics, rye and ginger, rum and Coke. Cold beer in bottles and cans. Rosé all day.
I don’t ever think of lemonade between September and May, but June hits and I get cravings. I made it from a mix as a kid, but have since graduated to homemade by the glass as an occasional summer treat, using freshly squeezed lemon juice, just enough simple syrup to take the intense bite out, and icy cold chilled water so that I don’t have to dilute the flavor with melting ice.
I like my lemonade tart and bracing, with just a backnote of sweet, which is what led me to this spread. Lemonade cream cheese is just that. The flavor to me hearkens more to lemonade than just lemon. Easy to make and super versatile in application, it is like a mouthful of summer that you can make year round. The cream cheese and some fresh zest and juice provide the tartness, and lemon curd brings a deeper lemon flavor along with some sweetness.
You can use it anywhere you would use cream cheese, on toast or biscuits or scones. It is particularly great on a raisin bagel or raisin bread. But you can also use it to make lovely tea sandwiches with date nut bread, or glaze lemon poppyseed muffins. Use it as the filling in your next carrot cake for extra oomph. Sandwich it between ginger snaps. Or glop it over some fresh berries for a simple dessert. It takes literally three minutes to make, and once you taste it, you’ll be inspired.
Lemonade Cream Cheese
1 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoons jarred lemon curd
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
Cream cheese must be room temperature and super soft or the mixture won’t blend. In a small bowl, mix the lemon curd, zest, juice and sugar until completely mixed. Add the cream cheese and mix with a rubber spatula until you have a cohesive mixture. Taste and check for both tartness and sweetness, adding more lemon juice or sugar if needed.
Serve on scones, biscuits, toast, or use as a filling or glaze for cakes.