Lemon Curd

 

Where I grew up in Los Angeles, we had lots of citrus trees. Most mornings my mother would take me to school. As we’d walk through the garden to the driveway, I’d see pieces of orange peel everywhere. The squirrels loved our oranges and frequently left their spongy remains scattered across the lawn. Our lemons were so large and yellow and knobbly, they looked like they belonged in an Arcimboldo painting. Every summer we’d use them to make the most refreshing lemonade.

Friends of ours had a meyer lemon tree and their neighbour, an old Scottish woman, would make delicious lemon curd out of them. I’ll never forget the first time I tasted it–cold, tart, sweet, custardy, creamy, and refreshing. I had been swimming with friends on a sweltering day when we emerged from the pool and were offered lemon curd with blackberries for a snack. It was bliss in a single bite.

Not until I moved to London did I try making my own. Rather silly, I know, as it’s really quite simple. Recently, it’s become a family favourite. My daughter has it in yoghurt for breakfast. We eat it with buttermilk biscuits or scones for elevenses or afternoon tea. It’s also divine in tarts or used as a filling for cakes. This weekend, it will top an Easter pavlova.

Below is my recipe and I hope you like it. Be sure to use the best lemons and eggs you can get. I like Burford Brown eggs because of their golden yolks which lend their colour to the curd.

I know lemon curd is British, but for me its flavour will always be California.

 

Ingredients:

the zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons

280 g caster sugar (more or less depending on how much sweetness you like)

100 g unsalted butter

4 eggs lightly mixed

 

Method: 

Whisk together the juice, zest, sugar, and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Once it begins to boil, remove it from the heat.

Let the mixture cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs. If you don’t, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your lemon curd which is disgusting. You’ll also have to start the recipe again. I usually wait until the mixture is just hot enough to touch.

Then slowly whisk in a bit of the egg. Then a bit more. Whisk, whisk, whisk to incorporate.

Heat the mixture once again over low heat. Keep whisking. Once it bubbles and thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon, it’s ready.

Push the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps or eggy bits.

Finally, pour the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. This recipe makes about 2 jars.

Lemon curd will last about two weeks in the refrigerator.

 

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St. Clement’s Cake

I named this cake after the first church in the nursery rhyme as it’s bursting with oranges and lemons.  Or clementines and lemons to be exact.  It also contains blackberries because I’m desperate for summer.  I know it’s only February but I’ve met my quota on gray and gales and sideways rain.  I’m a California girl.  I long for sunshine.  And I will take it however I can.  These days that’s mostly on a plate.

As the above mentioned nursery song is a bit morbid, I’ll leave you with some Eileen Barton to bake with instead.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

the zest of a clementine as well as the zest of a lemon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup olive oil (NOT virgin or extra virgin,  Just plain old olive oil.)

the juice of the lemon

the juice of the clementine

1 1/4 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup ground almonds

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 cup blackberries (I defrosted summer brambles I froze last summer)

oranges and lemons

Method:  Preheat oven to Gas4/350°F/180°C.  Grease your cake tin with butter and lightly dust it with flour.  Line the bottom with parchment.

Now get out 3 mixing bowls.

In the first bowl, combine the sugar, zests, and vanilla.

In the second bowl, combine the olive oil and the juices.

In the third bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Now add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture and beat on high until fluffy and pale yellow.

Then switch the speed to low and slowly pour in the olive oil mixture.  The mixture will look frothy.

Finally fold in the dry ingredients.

Pour 2/3 of the batter into the cake tin.

Scatter the berries evenly on top.

Pour the rest of the batter on top of that.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and allow to cool.

Serve with Greek yogurt.

cooling cake

slice