A jar of sunshine – home-made lemon curd
Given a choice between chocolate and lemon, I will always choose lemon. The colour, the scent, the versatility of this astringent fruit makes it a ‘must have’ in my kitchen. I’m really annoyed if I run out. Everyone seems to have their jam pan out at the moment and books and blogs abound with homemade preserves. Living in a land of imports there’s never a handy glut that needs storing away in some delicious form for the winter. Lemons are always available though, usually from South Africa or Turkey. It’s so easy to whip up a batch of lemon curd and because of its three-week shelf-life, the quantity is enough for two jars (one for a friend) or one large one (to eat all yourself). It’s a joy to open the fridge and see a golden jar on the shelf…come to think of it, it’s related to custard.
Ten uses for lemon curd
- Simply spread on hot, buttered toast or stir into some cream cheese and spread on rye crackers.
- Magnificent on a freshly baked warm scone or take it to another level and stir into whipped cream with some halved strawberries as a filling.
- Mix 100 g lemon curd with 250 g mascarpone to fill a victoria sandwich cake (20 cm).
- As an alternative Eton mess – mixed with pieces of meringue, whipped cream and a little extra lemon juice.
- Or continuing the meringue theme…spread over a Pavlova, topped with raspberries.
- Great as a filling for a Swiss roll instead of jam.
- Thin with some water and drizzle over ice-cream or pancakes.
- Make little pastry cases and fill them with lemon curd.
- Sandwich slices of Pain perdu (egg bread) together with lemon curd and dust with icing sugar.
- For a quick cheesecake, mix with some mascarpone cheese, and fresh fruit (e.g. blueberries and peaches), fill a tart tin lined with a digestive biscuit crust. After chilling, serve topped with whipped cream.
…or use as a filling for lemon curd buns with creamy lemon icing.
Homemade lemon curd – makes a large jarful (about 700 g)
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
4 eggs, beaten
125g butter, cut into small chunks
350g caster sugar
Place all the ingredients into a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (or use a double-boiler). The water must not touch the base of the bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar then continue stirring, keeping the water at a rapid simmer, for about 20 minutes until the mixture thickens. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon when done. If you feel it isn’t starting to thicken, raise the heat a bit but do not boil otherwise it will curdle. Remember that the mixture will thicken a bit more once it cools.
Strain through a sieve into a warm, sterilised jar and cover with a disc of waxed paper (I used a kilner jar so didn’t bother). Put on the lid when cool. Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.