Sunday, March 31, 2013

Using Your Eggs :: Pucker Up with Lemon Curd

In exploring other ways to use those wonderful farm fresh eggs, we made a favorite sweet treat of ours:  lemon curd.  It is a versatile dessert which can used alone with digestives or scones.  It can also be a custardy base in a fruit tart.  We've used it to fill cupcakes (made a delicious strawberry cupcake that when filled was reminiscent of strawberry lemonade.)

If you pick up a jar of lemon curd at your grocer, you'll find the list of ingredients familiar until about halfway down the list, where things like locust bean gum, "natural flavor", and yellow #5 start to show up.  I don't know about you, but i am curious to know just what makes "natural flavor" and why is it something that they need to list in quotes?  Our eggs are so wholesome that i guarantee you won't need to add any "Yellow #5" to make your homemade curd look yellow.

"What about all those laborious recipes, dirtying half the cooking implements in your kitchen," you ask.  I have a secret for you--you don't have to do all that fru fru stuff (or all those dishes!)  I mean, there's already a dirty bowl from making scones, eh?

Here's what you do:

Homemade Lemon Curd
recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa 
In a saucepan, combine

1.5 cups organic evaporated cane sugar
zest of 3 organic lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice
pinch of salt
4 larger eggs

Mix all of these together over low heat until combined.  Then add

1/4 pound of unsalted butter, room temperature

Stir rather consistently, you don't have to helicopter, but you'll want to be nearby.  The mixture will start to thicken in about 10 minutes, or if you like to use a thermometer for these things, at about 160 degrees F.

At this point, you could strain it, but i find that i like those bits of lemon peel in my curd.  Also, if you keep the cooking temperature low enough, you shouldn't find curdled eggs in the finished product at all.

And why stop at lemons?  We are experimenting with oranges, limes, and up next i have plans to experiment with honey rather than sugar.

What other creative uses do you have  for citrus curd?  

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