Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lemon Curd-a-licious

It just takes a little time, but making your own lemon curd couldn't be more simple. In looking up recipes to follow, I decided in favor of Ina Garten's for ease of preparation and small ingredient list. Alton Brown's had all this egg separating to do, but I hate slimy or sticky things on my hands (and I'm a cook, go figure).

Probably what took longest besides heating was peeling the lemons. I found that in using the veggie peeler, if I peeled away from me with a light touch, kind of wiggling in a saw motion left and right as I went, that it was effective at keeping most of the pith out of the cut and yet allowed me to cut longer and bigger pieces so I wasn't spending forever trying to get it off.

Don't Freak Out. It will curdle when you add the lemon juice to the butter-sugar-egg mixture. It will really make your eyes bug out as you try to stir it to make it stop separating, but there is nothing you can do. Just mix it up a while and then follow the rest of the directions.  As it heats up it slowly begins to melt together and become cohesive once more.

Since I did a double batch, it took about 15-20 minutes to heat up to 170 degrees at a slow creep with constant stirring. It's really a fantastic thing to see the sudden thickening of the sauce as it hits near the 170 mark. At that point I turned mine off and just kept stirring until it was under 160. How do I know it was under 160? I was using my trusty digital thermometer, as evidenced by the picture, it is in the pot just behind my scraper handle.

If I was going to do anything scientific for a job in my life, it would have to be some sort of food chemistry. That way, I could eat any mistakes :P
I can now mark this off my list of things to learn how to make and not stare at it with trepidation any longer. Now..to tackle that pate a choux....

The color is so purdy. Right up there with creamed butter, sugar and eggs.

Two quarts of curd from six lemons, 10 large eggs and 3 cups of sugar

Lemon Curd

1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved

Prep Time:20 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:10 minLevel:

EasyServes: 3 cups.


•3 lemons
•1 1/2 cups sugar
•1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
•4 extra-large eggs
•1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
•1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

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