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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

lemon curd


Lemon Curd

Delightful stuff. Can't buy it in my neck of the desert, and I was recently brought some fresh, tree-picked lemons from Phoenix which we have been greatly enjoying. Such beautiful lemons seemed to beg creativity beyond standard lemonade. And so, up popped a memory of my cousin making lemon curd and sending a photo of beautiful, thick, smooth, yellow spread in a large jar, and I was quite jealous but never asked for the recipe at the time. Yesterday, I asked and received the recipe. Anna had found it here, by Nigel Slater, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to read, and then to try for myself, exactly how simple and easy homemade lemon curd really is.

Lemon curd? Never tasted it? It is like the best part of a lemon meringue pie. That thick, creamy, tart-sweet lemon filling. But lemon curd, in my opinion, comes one notch higher as it does not bear any of the gelatin-like quality that meringue fillings often form. I have been eating this on bread. Stirred into Greek yogurt. Off the spoon directly dipped into the jar. It's that good. Even if you know how lemon curd tastes, even if you love it, commercial long-life products simply do not bear the deliciousness of homemade goods. Lemon curd proves this beyond most cases.

I urge you to try it. Only four ingredients, it is quite cheap and almost fool-proof if you actually follow the instructions. He does note that the recipe makes enough for 2 small jam jars. To be more precise, I found that it was enough to fill 3 of 8 ounce jam jars and one heaped teaspoon in my mouth. Also, if you're like me and occasionally process a load of lemons all at once, forgetting how much juice came from just 4... Well, measure a cup of lemon juice for one recipe of 4 lemons. :) You're welcome.

Nigel Slater's Lemon Curd
Most lemon curd recipes instruct you to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. I find that stirring lightly with a whisk introduces just a little more lightness into the curd, making it slightly less solid and more wobbly.
Makes 2 small jam jars (I find this makes 3x 8oz jars)
zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons (8 fl oz juice)
200g sugar (8 oz weight)
100g butter (4 oz butter - 1 American stick)
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
Put the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the butter, cut into cubes, into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the basin doesn't touch the water. Stir with a whisk from time to time until the butter has melted.
Mix the eggs and egg yolk lightly with a fork, then stir into the lemon mixture. Let the curd cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, until it is thick and custard-like. It should feel heavy on the whisk.
Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools. Pour into spotlessly clean jars and seal. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

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