Lemon Curd

What do you do when a friend from California mails you a giant box of beautiful Meyer lemons? This was the difficult question I was faced with earlier this winter. And by difficult, I mean the hard part is choosing between all of the options. Because if regular lemons are an exciting kitchen bounty, Meyer lemons are like the culinary equivalent of winning the lottery – or at least a scratch-off.

Where regular lemons are pale yellow, Meyer lemons are golden yellow-orange. Where regular lemons are sour, Meyer lemons retain all of the lemon flavor without that puckering aftereffects. Where regular lemons can be thick-skinned and hard to juice, Meyer lemons seem to contain more potent liquor than possible in such a small fruit.

One of my first projects with the lemons was to make lemon curd. Lemon curd is kind of like jam in that you can use it anywhere. On toast? Sure. Between layers of a cake? Of course. As the base for a brisk dessert mousse? Easy. Eaten plain from the jar? Yeah, this is the most likely.

I set up an assembly line. Zest, slice, juice. Strain all the seeds out of the juice.

In a saucepan, combine the juice with butter and sugar. Keep the heat low and stir occasionally until the butter is melted and everything is smooth.

In another bowl, crack a couple of eggs, and add a couple more yolks to keep things extra-rich. Save the whites – you can make meringues later!

When the butter-lemon-sugar mixture is melted, add a little bit of the warm liquid to the eggs. Whisk it together.

Pour everything into the saucepan and whisk, keeping the heat on low. After a few minutes – ten tops – you’ll see the mixture begin to thicken. When it is the approximate consistency of mayonnaise, you’ll know you’re done.

Strain the mixture over a new bowl so the little clumps come out. You will be rewarded with a quivering mass of delicious lemon curd. Now the possibilities are endless.

Lemon Curd (makes approximately 2 cups)
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
6 tbsp butter
2 large eggs & 2 egg yolks
In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, and butter.
Place the two large eggs and two yolks in a separate small bowl.
When the lemon juice, sugar, and butter are melted together and smooth, transfer a spoonful of the mixture to the eggs. Whisk it together, then add back to the saucepan.
Stir or whisk constantly over low heat, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. When the curd is about the consistency of mayonnaise, stop – strain it into a clean bowl through a mesh strainer.
Enjoy.
If you can stop yourself from eating the whole thing with a spoon minutes after it comes together, it makes a wonderful addition to cakes, pastries, tarts, or pretty much anywhere else you’d use jam.
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