Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lemon Curd

Considering Kimiko posted a sweet recipe on Sunday (homemade marshmallows!), I wasn’t planning on posting this one until next week.  However, I’ve recently had a few requests for it, and we like to keep our readers happy.

I found this recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes when I was looking for a lemon-flavored cake filling.  Yesterday I had some leftover lemon curd with a cranberry scone (to be posted).  So yummy!  Fruit curd can be used just as you would use jam—toast, French toast, waffles, pancakes, pastries….  It is also a great tart and pie filling.

The recipe calls for egg yolks.  One of my least favorite thing to do is separate eggs.  There are two common ways of separating.  The first is to pass the egg back and forth between the shell halves, letting the white drop into a bowl until only the yolk is left.  The main problem with this method is that the sharp edge of the shell easily pierces and breaks the yolk.  The second common method is to us an egg separator.  I have a plastic Pyrex one that is supposed to fit over the edge of some sort of container.  I have yet to find something in my kitchen on which it fits properly.

Doesn't fit on my Pyrex custard cups, mixing bowls, or
measuring cups.

I have seen an egg separating cup with a slotted lid.  The idea is to crack the egg into the top.  The yolk gets caught in the lid and the whites drip down into the cup.  The problem with this is that if you get to your eighth egg and break the yolk, it gets into the seven whites you’ve already successfully done.

This one is from Wilton.

A few years ago, I figured out my current favorite way to separate eggs.  I simply crack the egg into a small bowl then use my egg separator to scoop out the yolk.  This seems to be a lot faster and cleaner than trying to crack the egg into the separator and get all the white to drip out.  I then pour the white into one container and the yolk into another.  To speed things up, I usually crack two eggs at a time then separate them.  If I break a yolk, I only have to throw the broken one and one extra away.  And don't throw those whites away!!  You can use them for meringue or my vanilla buttercream (coming soon!).

Get everything ready ahead of time.  I put a plate under
my separating bowl to catch the drips.

I usually do two at a time but just did one for
the photo.

Making lemon curd does take some culinary know-how.  If you don’t cook much, you’ll probably want to stay away from recipes like this.  Cooking eggs over water is a delicate process.  If you mess it up, you’ll end up with lemon-flavored scrambled eggs.  A little cooked egg chunk is okay as you can easily strain it out.  Experienced cooks can usually get away without straining.

It also takes some experience to know when to remove the curd from the heat.  The more you cook it, the thicker it will get.  Keep in mind that it will really thicken up as it chills in the refrigerator.

I doubled the recipe so there is
twice as much of everything.
Lemon Curd
2 whole eggs
8 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. lemon juice (fresh is best)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces

Heat about 1-2” water to simmer in large sauce pan.  In heatproof mixing bow, combine eggs, yolks, sugar, and lemon juice.  Set over simmering water and whisk constantly until mixture coats back of a spoon.

Remove from heat.  Add butter, a little at a time, whisking smooth after each addition.

Transfer to bowl, pouring through a mesh strainer if necessary.

Place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent skin from forming.

Refrigerate until cold and firm.  Yield:  about 2 cups.

To use lemon curd as a cupcake filling, follow the instructions here.  For the cupcakes pictured above, fill like normal but let some curd spill out.  Dust generously with powdered sugar.  To fill a cake with it, go here.

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