Friday, January 22, 2010

Hello Lemon Curd.

I'll be the first to admit I'd rather skip dinner and go straight for dessert. Often the first thing that comes to mind is CAKE, but what about all the other wonderful neglected or often overlooked desserts out there? My friend Lauren's family make a traditional Lemon curd every year for the holidays which leaves me thinking about it for the rest of the year, so I decided it's time I made some myself.

What I like most about lemon curd is that it's not only both sweet and a bit tangy but also extremely versatile. It can be used on cakes, filled in donuts or pies, spread on toast or folded in to cream, served alongside a savory dish or just eaten plain as it is. However one choses to have it the reward is there in it's presence.

While searching for a good recipe, I came across David Liebovitz's Meyer Lemon Curd recipe which is adaptable to both Meyer (a sweet lemon for those not familiar) and regular lemons and requires not much more than a few ingredients, a pot, strainer and bowl. Genius.

Lemon Curd
Makes 1 cup (240 g)

Here, I use a slightly dare-devil method for making curd by heating everything together over direct heat. If you're feeling intrepid, instead of increasing the heat in step #4, keep the heat very low, or cook the curd in a double-boiler; a bowl nested over a saucepan of simmering water.

If you're like me, and need to use regular lemons, use 1/2 cup (50 g) of sugar, as directed.

1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice

1/3 cup (65 g) sugar (or 1/2 cup, 100 g, if using regular lemons)

2 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cubed

1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.

3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.

4. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It's done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.

5. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week (if it lasts that long in my house).

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