Lemon Curd

What would you do if you had over 120 lemons freshly picked from your backyard tree?

Yes, my husband is known for his extremes, 20 lemons obviously was not enough, and he had to get 5 times as many as I would have.  So, yeah, we’re kind of overwhelmed with lemons here in NorCal.  Most of them Kris juiced and made 2 trays of lemon juice ice cubes, but there are still so many left.

So many lemons!!

Well, since we both left for a few days, upon returning, I noticed that many of them had started to grow mold, so I tossed out about 15 of them.  Throwing away some of them didn’t really make a dent in the amount, so I figured the only way to use them up would be a recipe requiring a lot of lemon juice.  Note to self (and Kris) let’s not harvest immediately before we go on trips.

Some friends of ours invited us for a Sunday Brunch, so I thought I’d try my hand at making lemon curd and bring some strawberries to accompany it.  This recipe comes from a Northern California Cookbook called California Fresh Harvest A Seasonal Journey Through Northern California by the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, Inc. This book has recipes from a lot of famous California chefs, including Alice Waters, among others.  For my first try at a recipe from this book, Kris and I are vastly impressed, read it’s absolutely delicious.

Hints (from my mistakes): zest the lemons before you juice them and to help aid the straining process use a wooden spoon.

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cup sugar; 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 10 of our small lemons); 1 stick of butter; zest of 6 lemons (hint: zest before you juice, otherwise you’ll make my stupid mistake); and 8 eggs (4 whole eggs, plus 4 yolks)

Step 1: Break 4 eggs into a bowl.  Then separate the other four.  Add only the yolks and save the egg whites for an omelet another day.

4 whole eggs plus 4 yolks

Step 2: Combine the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan.

Yum!!

Whisk to combine.

Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Step 3:  Cook the eggs, zest, sugar, and juice over medium low heat.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent sugar from burning on the bottom of the pot.

Step 4: Once the mixture is warmed, never boiling or simmering, cut the butter into chunks and add to the pot.

Step 5: Continue to stir the curd, while it thickens.  You have to stir constantly to prevent burns on the bottom.  Once it’s able to coat the back of your wooden spoon, it’s ready.

Step 6: Strain the curd into a bowl.  It’s thick and the zest will clog up the bottom, so lightly move a wooden spoon in the strainer to speed up this process, or you could just stand there for 1/2 hour while gravity does it for you.

Straining gets rid of all the zest and thick chunks because we want light luscious lemon curd that’s smooth and silky.

Thanks for the flavor, but that's all we need you for

Step 7: Place your bowl inside a larger bowl containing an ice bath.  This will help quicken the cooling process.  Oophs…I forgot the picture, but in the above one you can kinda see my bowl within a bowl set up.  Just be careful not to get water into your beautiful, smooth lemon curd.  When it is lukewarm, place plastic wrap over the curd (to prevent a yucky film from forming on top) and place in the fridge until you need it.  The curd will thicken in the fridge as it continues to cool, and you’ll be left with what looks like a lemon pudding that tastes so tangy and sweet at the same time.

Here’s how we ate it the next morning.  Kris made waffle-cakes (we don’t have a waffle maker since ours broke from overuse), I put lemon curd and fresh cut, first harvest strawberries on top.  I love weekend breakfasts!

Other uses for lemon curd: eat it plain with fruit, place it in a tart and cover with fruit, fill a pie crust with it and add meringue on top or fresh whipping cream, put it between layer cake, the possibilities are endless.

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