Friday, March 19, 2010

Lemon Curd

So... I love lemons.
When I cook a full several-course meal, I usually use lemons in there somewhere.
Lemon in salad dressing, lemon with chicken or fish, lemon in a sauce or jus, lemon spritzed on vegetables, lemon in dessert...

It's a pleasant sort of addiction, and there's nothing offensive or illegal about it.
If I go to a restaurant I will normally ask for water with lemon. I then proceed to squeeze the wedge in my water, my eye, and on anyone who might be sitting near me. I can assure you that whoever it might be feels happy and all the fresher for the nice lemony shower.

Lemon curd is a way I can make something lemony that will last a little longer than many other things (technically, it should last about 2 weeks, but I don't know that it's ever had the chance over here). You can make it a little ahead and use it with dessert (like on top of a slice of pound cake with strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream).
It's also great for "teas" or one of those things where everyone is supposed to contribute a snack of some sort.

It's great on toast, with scones, or served with whole strawberries, fingers of pound cake, and graham crackers for dipping. You could use it between layers of a layer cake or as the filling for mararons. It would be nice to have a little dollop on top of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with blueberries. It may sound a little strange, but we also like it with ginger snaps and pretzels at my house.
You could also pour this into mini tart shells- I don't go for a larger tart because it's not thick enough in my opinion. If I did use it in a tart I'd pre-bake the shell, pour in the lemon curd, and bake it again to set it a little better. I'd probably cool it completely and then refrigerate a while to make sure it was solid enough to cut.

This recipe will make about 3 cups and is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

(Before cooking)

(After cooking)

It also works great with limes!
Either way, when choosing citrus fruit, try to find fruit that's heavy for it's size. That way you'll have a better chance of having plenty of juice. It can be so disappointing to cut open a dried out lemon with practically nothing inside. And it LOOKED so good on the outside...

If you don't have unsalted butter lying around, just use the salted kind and omit the additional salt in the recipe.

Lemon Curd

3-4 lemons
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
4 extra large eggs at room temperature
1/2 c fresh lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
1/8 tsp kosher salt

Finely zest 3 lemons into the sugar you have placed in a bowl and stir (try not to include any of the bitter white pith that's just below the zest). Cream butter in another bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer). Add sugar and lemon to butter and mix together until incorporated and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and make sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Pour in the lemon juice and salt and mix until combined (it may not look too pretty at this point, but it gets better as it cooks).

Pour mixture into a 2 qt saucepan and stir constantly (so you don't get scrambled eggs) over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. This should happen at about 170 degrees F- just below a simmer (get out the thermometer if you're uncomfortable about deciding the appropriate thickness). Remove from heat, pour into jar/bowl etc. and refrigerate.

1 comment:

  1. Delicious!
    I can't wait to make lime curd-----limes and strawberries are so good together.
    Just think of sonic's Strawberry-Limeade!