You know how there are some foods you never get enough of? We have all seen the shameless shrimp hoarder block the path to the ice sculpture at a cocktail party so that he can try to get “enough;” the same often happens with (good) caviar, and those shrimp-fried-in-coconut things that are popular appetizers. I am personally despondent when I see the bottom of a plate of handmade pasta, the last cracker full of chopped liver, and the bay full of oysters behind me as I leave the Gulf Coast for the season.
I also feel that way about lemon curd. In case you have never had lemon curd, I will tell you that there is no way angels are in heaven eating Philadelphia Cream Cheese; they are eating lemon curd. Unlimited quantities of lemon curd. Its actually, technically a custard, and it is silky, and tart and sweet and rich. If you’ve ever had a lemon bar, or lemon cream pie, its like the filling for those things only potentially more dense and intensely flavored.
If you have a jar of lemon curd in the house (and if you can refrain from eating it out of the jar with a spoon) you have many possibilities. These uses include, but are not limited to:
- Spread for toast, scones or muffins
- A layer in a trifle with cake and berries
- A topping for slices of plain pound cake, sponge cake or Angel Food cake
- Filling sandwiched between two of your favorite plain, thin butter cookies
- Filling for tiny, pre-baked tart shells, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of lemon zest
Although I have used a number of different recipes in the past, many of which seemed to create unnecessary stress and use of kitchen implements, I discovered that my copy of The Bon Appetit Cookbook had a simple lemon curd recipe as part of the instructions for a “Lemon curd and blueberry trifle.” It worked beautifully, used up all the lemons (except the one Sam is saving for some reason) and now sits in my refrigerator making me feel that if a hunting party from Yorkshire dropped by for tea, I would be thoroughly prepared.
(Adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook)
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into slices
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs, beaten to blend
Combine first five ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in eggs.
Whisk constantly over medium low heat until curd thickens; do not let it reach a boil. Depending on a variety of factors including humidity and the size of your eggs, this may take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes, or more. (If you have an immersion blender or hand mixer, that may be your best bet). Curd is ready when it is about the texture of a heavy white sauce; you will feel it thicken, and be briefly able to see marks left by your whisk.
Strain curd through a sieve into jars (or a bowl, if you’re going to use it soon) and refrigerate.
I will miss my lemons, but they will live on in their transfigured states, changed by the magic of cooking into preserved lemons and lemon curd….