the sweet bee sting

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunny Lemon Curd
10:55 AM

lemon curd 1

So last week I had the urge to try my hand at homemade jam. The only surplus of fruit we had in the house was of lemons, and so jam got curtailed into lemon curd, since I didn’t have the patience for marmalade. It was early. I was hungry, and I wanted it now.

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Lemon curd is surprisingly easy to make, as long as you can stand stirring for about 15 minutes non-stop. Otherwise, I think the most time-consuming part of the recipe came in zesting the lemons. We don’t have a microplane zester [sigh] so I do my grating on an old box grater. I feel like I’m losing half of the zest when I use it, and it’s a stubborn thing to clean, but for now, it’ll have to do.

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It was simple enough to throw together and chilled [well, half chilled, I’m not very patient, but I didn’t want to use it warm] in time to spread on toast. I sort of made my recipe up based on others I found online, David Lebovitz’s, Martha Stewart’s, Ina Garten's and so on. I didn't like any one of them indefinitely; too much butter, too much sugar, etc., so I just went for it, adding amounts I thought sounded reasonable.

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The only thing I was unhappy with is that I made enough for a full 8 ounce jar, but the curd only lasts for about a week, and I can only eat so much toast! I spooned some into a 4 ounce jar later that night and gave it to a friend. Next time I’ll either cut the recipe in half and use it strictly as a spread, or make a double batch and have enough for lemon curd tarts, cakes, cookies, breads, bars, and whatever else I can think of or find.

Now I have 6 egg whites sitting in my freezer, and I’m searching out ways to use them up without having to make a meringue or macaroons. Not that I don’t want to make macaroons, I’m just trying to find something different to go with. Any ideas?

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Lemon Curd

Some cooking methods recommended using a double boiler, but if you keep the heat gentle enough and stir as frequently as you should, then I don’t think it’s necessary. If you’re wary of your eggs scrambling, by all means use the double boiler. Instead of increasing the amount of white sugar used, I added a bit of honey; I thought it might add an interesting note to the curd. Since at the time we didn’t have a sieve [an estate sale has since cured that!] or cheesecloth, I ended up straining my curd through a small-holed colander. I'm not sure it did much good, but I did have a brightly colored mess to clean up afterward.

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 5 lemons
2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cut up
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Zest and juice lemons. I used about 5 lemons for the juice, but it all depends on how juicy your lemons are that day.

In a small saucepan whisk together yolks, lemon juice and zest, sugar, honey and salt. When combined, set the heat to medium, medium-low and let cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, stirring the entire time, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and add butter one piece at a time, stirring until smooth and incorporated. At this point you could strain your curd if you wanted. Pour curd into a bowl and put plastic wrap directly on the surface to avoid a skin forming. Let cool on the counter for about 30 minutes, and then transfer to a storage container. I used a cleaned out jelly jar and kept it in the refrigerator for about a week.

Easy and wonderfully tart lemon curd!

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Love, Fräulein Cristina Kugelhopf

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