Friday, March 8, 2013

Lemon Curd

Difficult: only the part where you temper the eggs
Time consuming: No, you can make this in less than 20 minutes, but it won't be ready to eat until it chills in the fridge

We had a snow day! In March! Granted it was barely 1" or so of snow, but apparently the roads were pretty bad Wednesday morning. Snow day for me means lemon curd for you!  I also managed to reorganize the bathroom closet, go to the bank, and watch my husband do taxes (which was just oh so exhilarating).

zested lemon

lemon juice
post zesting and juicing, still pretty
 I've never made lemon curd, but had a particular project in mind for it (you'll have to come back tomorrow to see that tasty surprise), and it was pretty easy to do. The lemon curd I made came from the book Baking: Illustrated and is by the chefs on America's Test Kitchen, so of course it had to be good. The spread was so tangy and bright with lemony flavor, but sweet enough to eat by the warm spoonful.  And after I filled my cupcakes implemented it in my designated treat, I may have literally licked the bowl clean.  No shame, it's that good.

Lemon curd is great eaten from the bowl, but you can also schmear it on toast, pour over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers, spread on a scone, add to a tart shell with some raspberries for a fancy schmancy lookin' dessert, top a pavlova, add it to plain yogurt, fill crepes, spread on blueberry muffins, and by this point in time lick the bowl and make more because you've used it all already.  Anyone out there have other suggested uses for lemon curd?

And don't forget to stop back and see how I used this batch of lemon curd!
The recipe
yields around 2 cups

Zest from 3-4 lemons (about 2 tablespoon)
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolk
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice (from 6 small lemons)
4 tablespoons butter, cubed, cold
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


1. Zest the lemon into a small, nonreactive bowl. Whisk the eggs together with the zest. Slowly add the sugar and whisk to fully combine.

2. Heat the lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan until simmering but not boiling. While whisking continuously, slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs in a slow but steady stream (a third hand or a husband/best friend/other kitchen helper is extremely helpful).

3.  Add the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium low until the mixture registered 160-170 degrees on a digital or candy thermometer, about 3 minutes. The spatula should leave a small trail across the bottom of the pan that fills in on itself a little quickly, but not too fast.

4.  Immediately remove from heat, stir in butter until melted, then stir to add cream, vanilla, and salt.

5.  Strain the mixture through a very fine wire mesh sieve. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the lemon curd, and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Recipe slightly adapted from Baking: Illustrated.

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