Sunday, September 5, 2010

when life hands you lemons.....

When life hands one lemons,  one should make lemon curd. I have always been scared of lemon curd - the idea that something could curdle and turn into one big mess held me back from making this most delectable treat. A while back I found a recipe that was supposedly 'no fail'. I always have a grudging mistrust of anything labeled 'no fail' because often it does exactly that - fails!! This weekend I was craving that tart, smooth taste and I decided to attack the problem like a scientist. I followed the recipe to the most minute detail, measuring, mixing and even using a thermometer to detect the perfect state of 'doneness'. Let me just say that whatever bit of lemon curd was clinging to the back of my mixing spoon and the bowl, has been scooped and licked off to the last little slather. Here are the directions - follow them faithfully and you too will have this bit of fabulousness to spread on your morning toast or on a piece of ginger cake.

Lemon Curd

3 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2/3 cups fresh lemon juice, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Beat butter and sugar until nice and fluffy
  • Beat in the eggs and yolks, one at a time, at slow speed
  • Then beat everything for exactly 1 minute at slow/medium speed (3 on a kitchen aid)
  • Take the bowl out of the mixing stand and wisk in the lemon juice - the mixture will looked curdled BUT THAT IS OK, it will all work out - you'll see
  • Scrape mixture into a small pot and on low heat whisk everything until it becomes nice and smooth
  • Turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk the mixture the WHOLE TIME
  • DO NOT let the mixture boil - if you see steam coming off of it, take it off the burner and stir until it cools a bit and then put it back on.
  • The mixture is done when it coats the back of a spoon and leaves a path when you drag your finger through it or better yet, measure the temperature - it should be 170 F.
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest
  • Scrape into a jar or bowl and press plastic wrap on surface to prevent a skin from forming
  • Let cool and then enjoy

Happy long weekend.