Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Surfeit Of Lemons

This post might alternately be entitled "For all lemon curd afficionadas!"

My friend's home in Surprise has a couple of enormous citrus trees and I was invited to take as much fruit as I wanted, it is falling off the trees and rotting away on the ground.
Three large bags full seemed all that I could possibly use/distribute and after donating as many as I was able to I have been looking for ways to use the rest before they too deteriorate.
Several batches of lemon bars later there were still too many lemons in the fruit drawer so I pulled out the lemon curd recipe and decided that it was [as I remembered] a lot of work!
A little internet searching brought up a plethora of "best lemon curd recipes", and one in particular caught my eye because it intimated that there was a simpler/easier method to replace the traditional double boiler recipe.
Disclaimer: here is where I state that for me recipes and quilt patterns are mere suggestions, ideas, jumping off points for my own imagination to take flight!
These are the suggested recipe ingredients/amounts at the URL above:

3ozs. [6 tbs.] soft unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

The first time I followed the recipe amounts fairly closely other than adding all the zest from the lemons I used for the juice, after all that's the part of the fruit that has the most intense flavor.
The second time around I tinkered with the ingredients and also doubled the recipe, those two small jars were simply not enough!
My adaptation:

12 tbs. soft butter
2 cups sugar
6 whole eggs
1 1/3 cups lemon juice
zest of all above lemons
The major difference here is the inclusion of all the egg whites. The left over whites seem to sit around and spoil so I usually try to use the entire egg in cooking, I can never find ways to use the whites alone that make up food we will actually eat! Unless of course I am planning to make Pavlovas.......but that recipe has already been done in a previous post!
Now for the secret to this lemon curd recipe, the method.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy as you would for a recipe for baked goods. Beat in the eggs one at a time until nicely incorporated, then add the lemon zest and juice while mixing until combined. The original recipe says that the mixture will normally curdle at this point and then reconstitute as it cooks, but it never did curdle for me!

Pour into a heavy-bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat until the temp reaches 170 degrees F stirring constantly, and making sure to scrape the entire base of the pan as you stir. It may take up to 15 minutes, I found it was less than that. Don't go beyond 170 and remove the pan from the heat immediately or the mixture may separate and then you won't get this beautiful silky smooth result.

Pour into clean containers and you may refrigerate two weeks or freeze up to two months. The above recipe filled these four eight ounce containers and a baby food jar.

This is great spread on bread, toast, English muffins, bagels etc but also good for filling pre-baked tart shells, as a filling for a cake, with angel food cake, or even over vanilla ice cream or frozen yoghurt [the addition of fresh blueberries is extra nice] or if you happen to have those pesky egg whites you could make meringue cases and fill them with lemon curd!
Either way, it may not last long enough to freeze!

As Margaret would say "Bon appettit"!


farmlady said...

Oh, I love Lemon Curd. I make mine in the microwave, in small amounts. I will try this recipe because it looks like a good one and I have lemons too. Thanks....

Miri said...

Thanks so much! I've always wanted to know how to make lemon curd. (My family is just crazy for lemon bars too!)