‘Quest for the Ultimate’ is the Fourth Trend from McCormick’s 2012 Flavour Forecast®

As a global leader in flavour, with a family of brands in 100 countries, McCormick has been at the forefront of identifying emerging culinary trends with its signature Flavour Forecast and since 2000, this annual report has played a distinctive role in shaping the future of flavour.

This year, McCormick’s 2012 Flavour Forecast identified a number of global themes and reveals a surprising finding – that food lovers around the world have more in common than ever imagined and the fourth of those themes identified by the UK foodservice team as being of relevance to this sector is a ‘Quest for the Ultimate’.

For flavour fanatics, what satisfied yesterday will not do for tomorrow. Those searching for the pinnacle of fulfilment in food are on an endless quest to achieve ever greater sensory heights. For some, the “ultimate” might equal superlative quality; for others, it is about a patchwork of textures, colours and layers of enjoyment. Culinary explorers are seeking combinations that create powerful, harmonic bursts of elemental flavours – be it zesty, refreshing, umami or pungent – for the ultimate taste experience. In constant evolution, this trend is continually fuelled by new global discoveries.

One of the Ultimate Flavours of this Season

A combination of Meyer lemon with Lemon Thyme, Limoncello & lemon peel will deliver the ultimate lemon flavour. With a mellow acidity, Meyer lemons mingle with the familiar, pleasing bitterness of lemon peel, the sweetness of Limoncello and the citrusy, herbal notes of Lemon Thyme. The result is a bracing symphony of ingredients that showcases the lemon’s multi-dimensional flavour profile.

Why it’s on trend

• Meyer lemon is currently being celebrated by chefs (163% more menu mentions in the U.S. in the past three years)

• Limoncello is making the transition from being a cocktail staple to a food ingredient in savoury meat dishes and desserts

Flavour background:

• The Meyer lemon, native to China, is a darker yellow and is more round than common supermarket varieties. They possess a sweeter, less acidic flavour

• They are in season from mid-winter through to early spring

• Lemon Thyme features a distinct citrusy aroma and flavour

• Limoncello is an Italian liqueur made with lemon peel, vodka and sugar. It imparts a strong lemon flavour without acidity or bitterness

• Lemon peel (also known as lemon zest) contains all the essential oils that give lemon its pleasing aroma

• Lemon extract provides the flavour of peel and can be used as a substitute

Why not try this simple recipe for Ultimate Lemon Tarts with Limoncello Blackberries:

Ultimate Lemon Tarts

Quest for the Ultimate – Meyer Lemon, Lemon Thyme, Limoncello and Lemon Peel

These individual Meyer lemon tarts contain four layers of lemon flavour, from the lemon thyme crust to the lemon meringue kiss. The crust and lemon curd can be made a day ahead.

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Refrigerate: 2½ hours

Freeze: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 24 tarts

Tart Crust:

250g flour

100g granulated sugar

1 Tbs fresh lemon thyme leaves

1 tsp grated Meyer lemon peel

170g cold butter, cut into pieces

1 egg yolk

15 to 30ml cold Limoncello liqueur

Meyer Lemon Curd:

9 egg yolks

160ml fresh Meyer lemon juice

60ml Limoncello liqueur

200g granulated sugar

170g cold butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

Limoncello Blackberries:

275g blackberries

20g castor sugar

30ml Limoncello liqueur

1 tsp fresh lemon thyme leaves

1 tsp grated Meyer lemon peel

Lemon Meringue Kisses:

3 egg whites

65g granulated sugar

2g Noels Cream of Tartar

1ml Lemon Extract

1. For the tart crust, place flour, granulated sugar, lemon thyme and lemon peel in a food processor, cover and pulse to combine. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and process until dough begins to form into a ball. If needed, add 1 to 2 tablespoons Limoncello liqueur. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in cling film, pressing to form a disk, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour

2. Cut each disk into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch (0.3 cm) thick. Press into tartlet cases with 2-inch (5 cm) diameter cups. Trim excess dough from the top. Form a total of 24 tarts. Freeze 30 minutes

3. Place tart cases on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Once cool, using a toothpick, carefully remove the tarts from their pans

4. For the Meyer lemon curd, mix egg yolks, Meyer lemon juice, Limoncello liqueur and granulated sugar in large heavy saucepan and whisk until well blended. Whisking constantly, cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until curd is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Spoon into a large bowl and cover with cling film, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight until chilled and set

5. For the blackberries, mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of lemon curd into each tart and set aside

7. For the lemon meringue kisses, beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Mix sugar and cream of tartar in a small bowl. Gradually add the sugar mixture and lemon extract to the egg whites, beating until stiff peaks form.

8. Spoon 1 tablespoon of meringue into the centre of each tart, lifting the spoon so that the meringue forms a peak. Place the tarts onto a large baking sheet

9. Grill the tarts for 30 seconds or until the meringue is lightly browned. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. To serve, top each tartlet with Limoncello Blackberries

Kitchen Tip:

If Meyer lemons are unavailable, use grated lemon peel in the tart crust and the blackberry mixture. Use 105ml lemon juice and 53ml orange juice in the lemon curd

For further information and more recipe ideas visit www.flavourforecast.com

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