Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lemon Curd

This is a great filling for pastries and many great pastries. (like the tahitian vanilla cheesecake tart, even thinking about that one will make you gain six pounds)
Tata over at Poor Impulse Control was asked if she had her father's recipe. This is a very classic, very common recipe. It's where most very good pastry chefs would begin.

It is one of the better reasons I can think of to make friends with someone who has a lemon tree. Tree ripened lemons are essential for the richest flavors. Commercially picked lemons will not have the needed sugars or the complexity something like this requires. If you can't find backyard or homegrown lemons, hit the farmer's market. Grocery store lemons will only suffice if there is no other alternative.


2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
4 large egg yolks
3/4 sugar (again, i use the vanilla sugar that is in the pantry)
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (strained of pulp)
4 tablespoons softened sweet butter (cut into 1/4" cubes before softening)
pinch kosher or sea salt

Put the lemon zest into a medium mixing bowl and suspend a fine mesh strainer over it.

Using a heavy non-reactive saucepan, beat the yolks and sugar until well blended and creamy. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and toss in the pinch of salt. Cook these all together over a medium heat, stirring constantly. Hint: Use a wooden or a slotted spoon, not a whisk, we're not trying to whip up volume but to keep the ingredients moving.

The mixture will thicken and begin to coat a wooden spoon. Now comes the trick. This mixture must Not Be Allowed To Boil. That will make the yolks curdle and that means you have to throw it all out and start over. Whenever you see steam starting to appear, take the pot off the stove and keep stirring away, remembering to scrape the sides. When the mixture has gotten silky thick and reads 196° pour it at once into the strainer. Press the mixture through with the back of the spoon until only a thick residue remains. You can throw the residue away or smear it over a toasted bagel like I do. No one will call you foolish if you do. Gently stir into the zest, and while still hot place in a sterilized small canning jar. Seal tightly.

You can also substitute limes for the lemon to make the base for a wonderful version of Key Lime Pie that doesn't involve sweetened condensed milk. Use equal parts for the zest and the juice. Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup and when cooking reduce the ending temperature to 185°.

This makes about a cup of finished curd. It. Rocks. Out. Loud.



Anonymous tata said...

I thank you and the clever Miss Sasha will make it and thank you. Then I will thank you again when I eat the delicious lemon curd.


What do you think about baking your gingerbread with whole wheat flour?

4:59 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

you are killing me softly with "hunger" geeeezzzz! ; )

6:51 AM  
Anonymous stephen t said...

It sounds so yummy, and I already hear 7th Sister rattling the pans in the kitchen.

Off topic, and I would not intrude on your blog with this if I didn't feel some urgency. Please check out the top post at As a horse lover and someone who has friends in LA, I thought perhaps you (or anyone reading this) might be able to help a horse who is in a bad way. I tried to email you at the address on your profile, but it bounced.

9:34 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i left her a link to horse rescue organizations and a suggestion to contact the local arabian horse association. there are a lot of us who are willing and able to take in the older guys. neglect bugs me. fucking bugs me.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous stephen t said...

Thank you, MB. The idea that a life is expendable as a "business decision" REALLY bugged me, too. But then again, that is what our gov't thinks, too.

Again, many thanks.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Thank you for this as it puts a smile on my face as I leave the computer.
Lemon curd on scone is comfort food to me, in the way liverwurst was to Greta Garbo.

I do think the curd the more refined proclivity of the two.

3:53 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

so where can I find the recipe to the Tahitian vanilla cheesecake tart? I will have to join a gym but so what. My wonderful landlord bought me a new stove so I really should use it don't you think?

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it the only difference between this and the lime curd of your key lime pie is the zest used?

- oddjob

1:42 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:26 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the sugar is reduced, along with the final temperature to attain in the cooking. this can also be done with just about any citrus. grapefruit curd, blood orange curd, valencia orange curd, all have their distinct flavors, advantages and uses.

blood orange curd is superb when dolloped over a crème brulee.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would've helped if I'd read all the way to the end of the post before questioning.............


- oddjob

5:22 PM  

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