Ursula poured lemon cream onto the crust of buttered and crushed shortbread cookies set into a soup bowl. There were plenty of shortbread cookies left for dipping. Today was the Summer Solstice and Amy, who had turned thirteen a week past the Yule, would finally get to make her first wand tonight. Ursula smiled. She had drizzled extra lemon juice onto the crust bur adding the cream. This bowl was only for Amy to enjoy and the little extra juice was to inspire her magic to manifest tonioght. Pouring the remainder of the lemon cream into a dipping bowl, she set both into a fresh ice bath with a flick of her wand. A quick cleaning of the tabletop and she was ready for her next task, the making of lemon marmelada confections. If she hurried they would be settign in molds when the family returned. Her husband and chidren would be back in a couple hours with fish. Supper would be the fish they caught cooked with lemon. Ursula smiled. She loved Lemon Days.
The Dessert of Desserts
No one knows when lemon cream became so beloved to the Peddlers, but many believe it is due to parents wanting to give their children that little something special to encourage their magic to develope.Still, It takes time to grow an indoor lemon tree until it can produce plenty of lemons, and a wagon, even as magically roomy as theirs, only has so much room for potted trees. Preserving lemon juice is vital, as is hoarding it for use only when necessary. But, on lemon days, the precious little family hoard of lemon juice is used. The honored Peddler sits at the head of the table when dessert is served. They receive their lemon cream bowl first and take the first bite with a spoon. The dipping bowl is then placed on the table for the rest of the family. Cream is spooned in their dessert saucers and little stack of 2 - 3 shortbreads with it. Everyone can then dip their shortbreads in their lemon cream. On some occassions, the creme is spread on sweetbreads.. Men are allowed to cook on Lemon Days, though the making of lemon cream is only taught to women as is 'The Lemon Maid' song. Only if there is no adult woman living in the wagon will a man dare to stretch tradition and make lemon cream. The dessert is too important in their lives to let traditions prevent a family from having Lemon Cream. The making of Lemon Cream is so important, the recipe is kept in the family Compendium, a book of magic the family has learned or discovered through the generations. This book is kept well hidden.
From birthdays to anniversaries to celebrations of all kinds, lemon cream is made and served to the Peddler of honor during these times. Most folks would call these holidays, but the Peddlers call them Lemon Days. One of the most important of these passages is the First Wand. This is the first time a Peddler, at the age of thirteen, gets their first-ever second lemon cream bowl all their own within a year. Until then, they have only recieved their own lemon cream on their birthdays. It is a momentous occasion where the whole day is spent in anticipation of the night time ceremony. No matter the occassion, all Lemon Days are carried out the same way. The father, or eldest male living in the wagon, takes the children out hunting for hedgehogs to roast, rabbits to stew, or fish to fry. In the meantime, the mother, or eldest adult female living in the wagon, will begin making the lemon cream using the folk song 'The Lemon Maid' to make it with magical perfections
1/2 cup Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
5 Eggs Yokes
2 cups Whole Milk
1 tbsp Lemon Zest (grated lemon peel)
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
3 tbsp and 2 tsp of Cornstarch
How To Make It
FIRST: Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl 1/3 full with fresh water. Take your wand and carefully freeze the top inch of the water then break it into pieces. Set is aside for now. SECOND: In a medium bowl, stir together: sugar, cornstarch and salt. Seperate the eggs and whisk in the egg yokes while singing the first verse of 'The Lemon Maid'. It will be pale yellow, smooth and fluffy when you are done. THIRD: In an even smaller bowl, Mix the milk and zest. With your wand, gently warm it while singing the second verse of 'The Lemon Maid' which will bring it to a bare simmer. FOURTH: Slowly whisk in the warmed milk bowl into the medium egg yoke bowl to the pace of the third verse of 'The Lemon Maid'. FIFTH: With your wand, set the whisk to mixing in time to your humming of 'The Lemon Maid' as you heat the batter. Once it thickens, slow the whisk so you can check for bubbles. When you can see it bubbling, keep the whisk going and continue heating the batter while singing the fourth verse of 'The Lemon Maid' then stop. SIXTH: Add the butter and whisk it into the batter for the fifth verse of 'The Lemon Maid'. With your wand, cleanse away the shreds of the lemon peel. Set this bowl into the ice bath and let it chill until the ice melts and the water begins to warm. This is about two hours. SEVENTH: Once properly chilled and you are ready to use the cream, whisk in the lemon juice until smooth.