Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lemon Curd

Cold weather makes me want lemon curd. I don't know that it's traditionally a cold-weather food, but that's when I want it- something sweet and tart and comforting on cold mornings. I woke up a little earlier than usual on Monday so I could make a batch and enjoy it with cup of tea before having to leave for work. I've been eating it on toast just about every morning this week.

I think people over-think lemon curd. It's beauty is in its simplicity- both of flavor and of preparation. No need to strain it or use a double boiler. Just keep it simple, man. Here's my recipe:

6 T unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (don't use the bottled kind. This is one time where it matters that you squeeze it yourself).

1) Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 mins. Add eggs and yolks and beat for another minute. Mix in lemon juice. It'll look a little lumpy/curdly- it's cool.
2) Cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth- just a minute or two. Increase the heat to medium low and stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 15 min (don't turn the heat up too much because the egg whites cook at a lower temperature and you don't want to see little white flecks in the curd).
3) Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Pour into half-pint jars. Keep what you think you'll eat in a week or two in the fridge, and put the rest in a jar in the freezer (or give it to a friend if you're unselfish. I'm not).

I mostly just eat it on toast (what a great way to perk up a morning!), but also used it to make Lukey my own version of a napoleon: I baked four-inch puff pastry squares for about fifteen minutes, until they were golden and delicious looking. Meanwhile, I sprinkled blackberries with sugar and cooked them over low on the stove, so they got syrupy. Then I layered the puff pastry, lemon curd and blackberries (two or three layers each- whatever seemed good proportion). It turned out pretty deliciously.

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