Thursday, March 2, 2017

lemon curd

As a teenager, I used to make lemon curd all the time.

I remember pulling out the double-boiler and setting the bottom pot on to boil while I measured out the lemon, sugar, eggs and butter for the top pot.

I'm not sure where I got the recipe — maybe the church cookbook?

In any case, I was smitten. I spooned it thickly between layers of cake and dolloped it on vanilla ice cream. Sometimes, I just spread it over buttered toast.

All that to say: why did I forget about it for 20 years?

As I have just re-realized, there's something about transforming the lemon into a wobbly, rich curd that makes it taste even more intensely of lemon. And it is wonderful.

I got fully back on the lemon curd bandwagon last weekend when I tried Regina Schrambling's lemon-almond butter cake. In it, you make lemon curd, then plop great spoonfuls onto the almond dough. The cake rises up around the curd and it all mingles together to create a homely cake with surprising pockets of lemon flavour. It is very good.

Then on Shrove Tuesday, Scott and I were invited to a pancake dinner. I, of course, offered to bring a pancake topping. Because — really — I'm always up to the challenge of making a new pancake topping.

Lemon curd it was. We had it again yesterday morning on our leftover pancakes. It might be just be our new favourite pancake topping.

At this rate, I'll be making lemon curd every three days. I think we'd both be OK with that.

one year ago: roasted rhubarb with wine and vanilla
two years ago: buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops
three years ago: salted butter break-up cookies


lemon curd
very slightly adapted from Regina Schrambling*
makes a scant cup

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
7 tbsp. sugar
2 extra-large eggs**
3 tbsp. butter, cubed

If you have a double boiler, put water in the bottom pot and get it started boiling. If you don't, start a regular pot. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside for later.

In the top pot of the double boiler or a heatproof bowl, beat the zest, juice, sugar and eggs well. Add the butter. Set it over the boiling water pot. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until it thickens into curd, about 5 to 8 minutes. I found mine was ready when the spatula would leave a trail on the bottom of the pot that wouldn't completely fill in with curd.

Strain into the bowl you already prepared. Press plastic wrap over the curd to keep it from forming a skin and cool in the fridge. Put in a clean jar or another container with a lid. Some recipes say lemon curd keeps for weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

*I halved the recipe. Also, the original recipe (halved) calls for 6 tablespoons sugar. I mistakenly used 7 the first time I made it and I've kept using 7. I find it's just the right amount of sweet —any less and it would be too puckery.

**I do tend to have extra-large eggs on hand because they're a good price at the Italian Centre. However, I'm pretty sure this would work with large eggs, as the difference in weight is usually very small. Try it and let me know?

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