Happy Earth Day! (Though technically yesterday, most of Israel is celebrating today.) Celebrations require desserts, we’re quite convinced, and since the citrus season is winding down we thought we’d talk about our absolute favourite thing to do with a lemon. Not lemonade (though we’re fans of that too) but lemon curd: smooth, custardy, tangy, riding that fine, perfect line between sweet and tart.
Lemon curd can get spread over scones, smoothed over a cookie crust for lemon bars, dolloped on pancakes, or licked straight off a spoon when you’re feeling especially indulgent. It tastes, quite simply, like concentrated sunshine.
Making curd is one of those languorous kitchen tasks which gives you lots of scope for daydreaming: you need to be around, gently stirring for quite some time, but your mind is free to wander all the while. It’s also worth doing in bigger batches as it’ll keep for several weeks in the fridge, and all that stirring time will have a greater payoff if you double the recipe below. Break out a favourite batch of biscuits, and spread with some of your freshly made lemon curd for an Earth Day afternoon tea.
- 6 large egg yolks (save the whites for egg-white omelettes, or make meringues and dip them in the curd)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 2/3 c fresh lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)
- 1/4 c finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- In a medium-sized, scratch-proof saucepan (i.e. not teflon-coated), whisk egg yolks and eggs together until thoroughly combined. Whisk in sugar vigorously, then whisk in lemon juice and zest.
- Set saucepan over a medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly but gently, for five minutes. (Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan.) Add in butter and whisk until blended, then continue whisking until the curd thickens so that it holds the marks of the whisk as you swirl it through the pan – this will take about twenty minutes total cooking time.
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and immediately pour the warm curd through the sieve, to remove all the zest and any lemon seeds or curdled egg bits. Transfer curd to small glass jars or other containers and store in the refrigerator.