Sunday, April 4, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Curd!

Curd is such a strange name for this thick and velvety lemon spread. I would much prefer to call it lemon butter as it's so smooth and buttery (and because it's made with about a stick of butter) with perfectly tart and perfectly sweet lemon taste. I've made lemon curd previously and have had it at a few tea rooms since so I thought I'd try to make some again and see if it turned out as well as the one we tried at the Crown & Crumpet last fall.

It's made on the stove top and I just used a saucepan vs. using a double boiler and made sure I didn't leave it on the heat without stirring for more than a few seconds. It's important to use real lemon juice and the recipe I made used the juice of about four fresh lemons. Once you squeeze the lemon juice, it's very easy to make and doesn't take long at all. I cooked the lemon juice, sugar and egg yolks (which help to thicken it) on the stove top until the sugar was dissolved. I took it off and added the butter a piece at a time until it was completely melted. Most recipes tell you to put the curd through a strainer and I just about skipped this step, but it was worth it to strain it to make the final product nice and smooth.

~~~~~~~~Then, I simply covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to cool. The plastic wrap keeps it from hardening and forming a skin on top and it worked out well.

The next morning we used the curd as a spread (along with strawberry preserves) for scones at breakfast. It was a hit! Audrey loved it too!

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The recipe made about two cups of lemon curd and we had so much leftover so I decided to make some lemon curd tartlets. I cut the pastry dough with a round scalloped cookie cutter and used a mini muffin pan with a this handy tart tool to push them nicely in the pan to form the tart shell. I baked the pastry for about 10 minutes and let them cool.

Then, I put a teaspoon or so of lemon curd in each tart shell and topped with a yummy fresh raspberry. I've made these tartlets using a rum custard before and have used pomegranate seeds and raspberries for decoration. What a versatile spring treat from breakfast to dessert!

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