Saturday, January 12, 2013

Meyer Lemon Curd

I first discovered lemon curd a few years ago when creating a friends birthday cake. I ended up making a white cake with lemon curd as the filling and frosting it with whipped cream. Everyone at the birthday party raved about the intensely lemony flavored filling and wanted to know what it was. When I said it was lemon curd, I got some funny looks. Many Americans are unfamiliar with lemon curd. Basically, it's a more flavorful version of a custard, as it contains more juice and zest. 

In doing some reading on lemon curd (you know, as one does) I learned that it was a popular alternative to jam at afternoon tea in England in the 19th and early 20th century. I remember when I was buying the lemons at the store to make my friend's cake, an English women standing behind me in line asked if I was making lemon curd. I said yes, and she then wanted to know if I had an English mother, because why else would an American be making lemon curd? She was delightfully British. 

I figured since Meyer lemons are in season right now I would try making Meyer lemon curd. My God is it good! The Meyer lemons elevate ordinary curd with their delicate floral undertones. Try it as a spread on toast and scones, as a filling for cakes or other sweets, or stirred into yogurt. 

Adapted from Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook

2 whole large eggs
4 large egg yolks 
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 tbsp. tart lemon juice (from 1 regular lemon)
Grated zest from 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces 

In a medium size heat-proof glass bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl over a medium size saucepan filled with 2 to 3-inches of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes (adjust the heat to maintain a constant simmer).

Remove curd from heat and whisk in the butter one piece at a time, seeing that each piece is fully incorporated before adding more. Transfer curd to a clean bowl. Place a sheet of plastic directly on the surface of the curd and another sheet over the bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. Meyer lemon curd can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for longer storage. 

Yield: About 2 cups

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