Caroline Cooks

A modest documentation of my culinary exploits.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Monday, January 30, 2006

Lemon Curd

It was another Monday morning at work. Beside me on my desk was breakfast, a hunk of baguette (generously slathered with European butter), and a bag of lemon slices for my tea. The lemon and butter scents mingled and merged, arriving at my nose in a combined state that brought to mind luscious lemon curd. After work I could be found in my kitchen, whisking eggs and lemon zest in a saucepan to satisfy the resulting craving.

Though you can find jars of lemon curd at any supermarket, it is, like anything else, so much better when it's homemade. The silken creamy texture is an ideal counterpoint to the tart lemon, and the color is gorgeous.

Lemon curd is versatile enough that you should have no trouble finding uses for it. You can serve it on scones, or with fresh fruit, or use it as a base filling for a tart. Sandwich cake layers with it, or use it in a trifle. I like to use it as a filling for crepes. It's also remarkably simple to whip up, requiring just a few ingredients you probably already have.

Some tips and tricks for making lemon curd can be found here, including some helpful hints for preventing the dreaded cooked egg pieces from forming. Even if you see no lumps or bits of egg in your lemon curd, I would still recommend straining it. Straining yields the flawless, velvety texture characteristic of a good lemon curd.

3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and eggs in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously. Cook until the sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about 3 minutes). Stir in lemon juice and butter; cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes or until the mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon. Cool. Cover and chill (the mixture will thicken as it cools).


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