Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Easiest Lemon Curd

The vendor at our favorite farm and I were talking about how lovely Spring is--not necessarily because of the warmer weather or the blossoms, but because there are finally more than enough eggs to go around. In winter, when the hens are hunkered down, I would find myself rationing the family's egg consumption, as if a two-egg breakfast were outrageous. But in Spring, we've got eggs coming out our ears and 8-egg omelettes are almost required. (I came home with four dozen eggs the other week. One from our CSA, one as a freebie for CSA members and two more because they were on a great 2-fer deal). Joey was saying he'd been making lemon curd and I was immediately salivating and determined to do the same.

I've made lemon curd before, from the Fanny Farmer cookbook, probably. It worked and was tasty (though the Meyer lemon curd didn't set well and taught me I don't like Meyer lemons that much). But for the heck of it I did some Internet searching and happened upon Ina Garten's recipe on Food Network. Her method was different than any I'd ever seen and immediately appealing. No zesting for the Barefoot Contessa, no. In a stroke of brilliance she cuts wide swathes of lemon peel with a regular peeler, then minces then with sugar in the food processor. This saves the cook the work of zesting and makes a lemon-infused sugar. The rest of the ingredients are added and only once it's blended does it go on the stove to thicken. Awesome!

Garten uses a stand mixer to cream the room temperature butter, then adds the lemon sugar and eggs. This seemed a needless step to me and is the only thing in my version that differs from hers. Butter is creamed to incorporate air. This is not needed for a cooked sauce, so I decided to try just adding the butter and eggs to the food processor. It worked just fine and saved some dishes. With my newly-improved crumpets (add more water!), this lemon curd can't be beat.

Makes about 3 cups of lemon curd

INGREDIENTS
3-4 lemons
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 lb (4 oz, 1 stick, 8 TBSP) butter, at room temperature and cut into 8 chunks
4 extra large eggs
1/2 c lemon juice (from the lemons referenced above)
1/8 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to take the peel off of three lemons and put in the food processor with the steel blade inserted
  2. Add the sugar to the lemon peel and pulse until the lemon peel is finely minced into the sugar (this will smell heavenly)
  3. Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until combined
  4. Add the eggs through the feeding tube one at a time mixing well each time
  5. Add the salt to the lemon juice you've squeezed to dissolve it and then pour through the feeding tube while the food processor is running
  6. Once the mixture is well-combined, pour into a medium sized saucepan
  7. Heat on medium-low, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches around 170 degrees F and is quite thick
  8. Remove from heat and pour into heat-proof jars or a medium bowl. Leave at room temperature for an hour or so, and then refrigerate or freeze. I've had good luck freezing lemon curd
  9. Serve in tartlets, on crumpets, in thumbprint cookies or just on a spoon. For Mother's Day, the girls are going to make Super Simple Coconut Cake (in a gluten-free version) and serve the cake on a bed of lemon curd and topped with Serious Eats' Fruity Whipped Cream. Mmmmmm

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