Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd - oh how I love your happy color and the way your bright flavors zing my tongue and make my cheeks pucker with your sweet sourness.  So summery and a great way to use fresh lemons when you find them 10/$1.  Once you've made your delicious lemon curd (which tastes awesome by the spoonful) you can turn it into Lemon Mousse or a Blueberry Lemon Tart or Lemony Sunshine Cupcakes.  All of these recipes will soon follow. I guess this will be my first "blog recipe series."

But for today, let's start with the basic ingredient for all of these lemony wonders - the lemon curd.  This is by far the easiest lemon curd recipe ever.  It requires no tempering of the eggs and no straining.  I LOVE easy.  And the taste is tart perfection.  So, here we go.

Lemon Curd

6 Tbs butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
4 drops food coloring, optional

Seriously - aren't these some of the prettiest ingredients ever!
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.

In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.)

Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. I know, 15 minutes is a long time, but while you're stirring you can imagine all the wonderful ways you will be enjoying your delightful lemon curd. When it has thickened enough it will stick to the back of your spoon and when you run your finger through it it leaves a path. Don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and optional yellow food coloring (I did not use food coloring in this batch). For this recipe I prefer to peel my lemons with a potato peeler which gives me big chunks of zest.  I can then chop them into the size I want (I like bigger bits) and freeze the leftover zest for when I want to brighten the flavor in some of my other recipes.

Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. Or you can spoon it into small canning jars that can go into either the refrigerator or freezer. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.

You can also substitute limes and make lime curd - this too is awesome stuff!!

Yield: 2 cups

Here's a teaser for what we might do with our lemon curd. . .

Are you hungry yet?

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