02 April 2010

lovely lemon curd

Since I'm making a full out Easter dinner this year, I'm getting ahead of the curve by making anything I can ahead of time. First thing on that list: lemon curd. On Sunday it'll be paired with berries on top of a pavlova. It turned out smooth, creamy, sweet and tart. Luscious, actually, and lovely indeed.

I'm quite excited to eat it, actually... so excited I made 2 batches tonight :-) It came together so quickly - about 20 min start to finish - that making it twice was a snap. As you can see it doesn't make that much, about 10 oz per recipe, but if we don't finish it all on Easter, I can have it with scones or cookies or inside cupcakes or on waffles. Or, ya know, I can give it away. It'd make a really fantastic gift for a food lover. Ahem. Anyways, enjoy!

Lemon Curd
adapted from Joy of Baking

1/3 C fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/2 C plus 1 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
4 tbsp butter, room temp, cut into 4 pieces
Special equipment: fine mesh strainer, double boiler (optional)

If using a double boiler, bring water to a simmer in the bottom pot and whisk together the juice, zest, sugar and eggs in the top layer. Otherwise, in a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest*, sugar and eggs. Fill a small pot with about 2" of water and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and put the bowl on top. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl.

Cook, whisking continuously until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon - about 8-10 minutes. Strain the curd into a clean bowl. Mix in butter pats, stirring to melt and combine completely. Cover with plastic wrap so a film doesn't form, and allow to cool.

* Note: In the first batch I only combined the juice, eggs, and sugar in the 1st step. I added the zest to the custard with the butter and didn't strain it out. It turned tarter for sure, but zest kept getting caught in the back of my throat. Ew, annoying. The second time I made it I did as written - putting it in early then straining it out. It produces a mellower flavor with a decidedly smoother, luscious curd. Take your pick.

Should keep in the fridge 1-2 weeks, or in the freezer for a couple months.

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