Saturday, 20 October 2012

Lemon Curd

I don't know how anyone who has been given shop bought lemon curd would ever fall in love with it let alone attempt to make it, however the real thing in no way resembles the thick, gooey, pale and unhealthy looking stuff in a jar that is sold as lemon curd, I should add it is also far less sweet.

Lemon curd is relatively easy to make, you can make it in small batches, this recipe makes a couple of jars. Unlike jams and preserves, it doesn't keep for months and months, it's best used up within a two or three weeks of making. It makes a perfect filling for a lemon sponge cake but as Sylvia, who came over to make it with me the other morning said, it's good on anything from a plain biscuit to a finger.

You will need:
4 un-waxed lemons
300g of sugar
200g of unsalted butter
4 medium eggs.

Begin by peeling the lemons with a potato peeler, taking off only the yellow part and placing it in a food processor with the sugar, grind the sugar and peel together to form fine lemon scented sugar.

Place the lemon sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the juice of the four lemons and slowly stir over a low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve to remove the ground up lemon peel.

Return the liquid to the saucepan, the liquid needs to be little more than room temperature before adding the four eggs and the butter, cut up into cubes.

Begin to heat the ingredients slowly over a medium heat whilst stirring, I use a whisk at this stage. The cubes of butter will melt slowly, losing their corners and finally disappearing, from this moment on it's important to keep stirring being careful to look for signs of thickening. If you feel nervous about the curd overheating, keep the saucepan on a low heat, it will just take a couple of minutes longer. As soon as the curd begins to thicken it will take only a short time to complete, so if you haven't already done so, reduce the heat and be very thorough in stirring the curd from each part of the saucepan. It's surprising how easy it is to stir around and around and completely neglect the middle of the pan for instance. As soon as the curd has thickened, pour it into clean sterilized jars.

The thing that can go wrong with making lemon curd or any other product where liquid is thickened using eggs, is the texture is spoiled by over heating or heating too quickly. 
The curd thickens up when cool.
Using the peel in this way certainly adds to the effort in making lemon curd, however, the increased lemon flavour in the final result make it very worth while
Sylvia went home and made lemon curd for herself and sent me a photo of what she made with it,

Sylvia's Lemon curd Tarts

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