It's gray, it's dreary, and it's cold. I'm craving light and warmth; something to bring a little cheer to the February blahs....
So I made Lemon Curd. That's logical, right? It reminds me of spring, maybe because it's yellow (daffodil yellow) and bright, both in taste and in color. This recipe has so many uses. In fact, my next post has a recipe which will feature lemon curd, so make some and come on back.
Did you know that the white pith under the yellow outer skin is bitter? Try to zest only the outer yellow layer, not the white part; leave that part on the lemon.
After zesting, poke a tiny hole in the lemons with the tip of a sharp knife and microwave on high for 30 seconds to break down the membranes holding the juice. You will increase your juice yield dramatically. Zest first; heat last. Warm lemons are hard to zest.
Juice the lemons and strain the juice to remove seeds and membranes before using.
Stir, stir, stir (or use a double boiler) so you don't make scrambled eggs
When a recipe says to cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and leaves a trail when you run a clean finger through it, this is what it should look like. The proper cooking term is nappe'.
Cold cubed butter ready to add to the cooked curd. Add it after taking the curd off the cooking heat.
Strain the curd before serving to remove the chalazae (those little white attachments that hold the yolk to the white). Most recipes say to strain through a chinois (also called a china cap) which is a very fine mesh strainer. I have one but prefer to use my small holed strainer because I like the particles of lemon zest left in my curd. It doesn't make sense to add it and then strain it out.
Press a piece of plastic or cling wrap onto the surface of the curd while it's cooling. This will prevent a "skin" from forming on top.
Refrigerate until it's needed for another recipe (like the one coming next) or before serving.
Curd is wonderful spooned over pound cake, served with berries, or even spread on toast or muffins.
It would make anything taste better.
You can also use this recipe and substitute other juices for the lemon juice.
Bonnie's Favorite Lemon Curd
2 cups sugar
12 eggs yolks
1 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest, yellow part only
½ cup(1 stick) butter, cut in pieces
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Wash and zest lemons. Extract lemon juice. In a heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum pan, stir egg yolks with sugar. Whisk in lemon juice. Cook on medium-low heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon and a finger run through it leaves a trail in the mixture. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Strain through a chinois or strainer. Add lemon zest and stir.
Cover surface with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before eating or using in a recipe.