13 Aug 2012

Lovely Lemon Curd

Lemon curd jars

Lemon curd to me is as Hunny to Winnie-the-Pooh - once there is a jar in the house, one little taste just won't do.  When the Veg Patch was started four years ago, a group of us thought that some lemon trees would be a novelty for the children. Despite the advert's claims, they don't fruit in this country (although, perhaps in a greenhouse?) but the leaves have a lovely citrus scent when crushed. The trees duly arrived, folded into their boxes. Not an auspicious start and the ensuing winters fairly well did them in.  There's one tree left which I brought up to my balcony last winter for shelter. It's now on the stairwell, by a window which acts as a greenhouse; because I pass it every day, it's watered and tended regularly and has slowly recovered. During the last week, my efforts started to pay off as it produced lots of fresh new leaves.  A couple of days ago, I noticed tiny flower buds!  Ah, exciting times.

Lemon flowers

I doubt these will ever make useable lemons but refocussing on the lemon tree reminded me that I hadn't made any lemon curd for a while.  All you need are lemons, eggs, sugar and butter - and a couple of jars. I always have these ingredients to hand so, an hour later, I was tucking into lashings of lemon curd atop a hunk of freshly baked bread... which, of course, was photographed after one bite!

Having honed my recipe from one my Mum makes and Heston Blumenthal's filling for a lemon tart, I've just realised it's very similar to Delia Smith's recipe but without the extra cornflour she uses.  I feel that the curd should set on its own without extra thickeners and I imagine the cornflour would make it unpleasantly thick, like a lemon meringue pie filling.  So here's my combination of the two, for folk who like a good sharp/sweet bite to their lemon curd and fancy making some at home. It's really very easy and much nicer than shop-bought and without the preservatives or thickening agents.


Lemon Curd

6 oz Caster Sugar, 3 medium eggs,
2 unwaxed lemons (yielding about 100 ml juice), 4 oz unsalted butter
3 small or 2 large clean jars.

First wash your jars in hot, soapy water (do I really need to say that?) and put the glass jars upside down on a shelf in the oven at 150C while you make the curd.  Put the lids in the bottom of a saucepan, cover with a couple of inches of water, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. This is the simmering water which will be under your cooking lemon curd; may as well use it for sterilising the jar lids. (Take the lids out, with tongs or a fork, after about 5 minutes, by which time their rattling will be very annoying.)

Weigh out the sugar, chop the butter into chunks, beat the eggs well, finely zest the rind of the lemons and squeeze the juice. Add all ingredients together to a heatproof bowl (I use Pyrex glass) and place the bowl over the simmering water. (It should sit above the water, not touching.) Stir gently for about 15 to 20 minutes as it gradually thickens. (If you don't stir, your curd will be lumpy like scrambled eggs and won't set.)

Take the jars out of the oven and get a clean bowl and plastic sieve ready. Pour the curd into the sieve and, with the bottom of a ladle or a wooden spoon, gently stir the curd through the sieve to the bowl below.  This removes any cooked egg whites and pieces of zest (I like my curd smooth).

Ladle the curd into the jars. Put a sprig of lavender (optional) on the surface of the jars being stored and quickly put the lid on while the curd is still hot. As it cools, the air in the jar will contract, giving a nice tight seal to the jar.


Why the lavender?  I've read that it's commonplace in the South of France to place a sprig of lavender on home-made preserves where its anti-bacterial properties will prevent any mould forming on the surface. (Thank you Karen, writing for Garlic and Sapphire blog.) Lemon curd won't be around long enough in my house for this to happen, but it looks pretty - especially if you're giving the jars as a gift.

Make sure that you've put some aside for yourself ...

Bread and curd


34 comments:

  1. Caro...that looks incredible!! My mouth is watering. No really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Erin! There's something about lemons, isn't there? It's one of my favourite tastes, and very versatile.

      Delete
  2. Lovely looking tasty fare Caro I thought about asking Judi to make some, looked at my waistline then at the amount of calories and declined.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah David, you're far more disciplined than me! I reckon that as no-one pays me any attention, I'm safe to proceed! I just make sure that I don't eat too much in one day ; )

      Delete
  3. Oh yum lemon curd. I love any recipe using lemons. An interesting idea to top with lavender. Very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you on the lemon recipe thoughts. Lemons can be used in so many dishes and go with everything - I use mine on top of salmon, inside roast chicken, over couscous .... oh the list is endless.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Tanya - yes it was! I'm onto my second jar already. I really should make a double batch but I can't help noticing that all the bread and curd is terrible for my waistline! xx

      Delete
    2. I noticed that one of our local producers, Staarvey Farm, has a variety of curd for sale including Banana, Lime and Raspberry . Have you ever tried making any of these varieties before? I haven't but think they might be lovely to try.

      Delete
    3. No, I haven't. But it's a very interesting idea. I'm not such a fan of banana but raspberry curd is a definite possibility. I imagine it would look very pretty too.

      Delete
  5. Caro, they do fruit in this country if brought into a conservatory or greenhouse for the winter. When brought in, they don't stop flowering, but carry on all through the winter and form lemons all the time. I did manage to make 1 jar of lemon curd, but found that I had to give the bush so much fertiliser for the bush to form fruit and it wasn't organic fertiliser either which I wasn't happy about. That coupled with the scale insect that plagued the bush made me give the bush away eventually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you mentioned scale insect, Pauline. I had to go and look that one up and will now be on the lookout for that. I wonder if the flowers need to be pollinated? Mine won't be so I suspect the tree will remain decorative only but I'll be happy if I get flowers.... Lemons would be a bonus!

      Delete
    2. No Caro, mine didn't need to be pollinated, it was flowering and forming fruit all winter in the conservatory where there were no pollinators. Wish you success with yours!

      Delete
    3. The flowers have opened, Pauline, and smell absolutely gorgeous. I get a waft of scent every time I go downstairs. After your comments, I'm now keeping a careful watch for any fruit forming which would be very exciting!

      Delete
  6. Crikey! I haven't made Lemon Curd for years, when I used to make it regularly it went down a treat with everybody so I might try again soon! It would help if the bantams were laying though. I haven't had an egg in 3 weeks!!

    They look very pretty witht he Lavender on, well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Martin and Amy, I'm not surprised your lemon curd went down a treat! It's one of those preserves that takes a back seat at jam-making time (and I was eyeing up the blackberries at the City Farm only this morning!) but is a lovely thing to make and give to others. It has a reputation for being tricky to make but I've never had any problems with it and enjoy the contemplative stirring.

      Delete
  7. A LOVELY post and gorgeous photos! As you know, I also pop a sprig of lavender on top of my jams too, but I will also add some to my lemon curd next time I make some..... yours looks lovely! Karen PS: my hens are back in lay so that may be quite soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, thanks for both stopping to comment and for the inspiration! I was given some golden-yolked bantam eggs from the farm the other day and am saving those for my next batch of lemon curd. Should make it a really beautiful colour.

      Delete
  8. I make a lot of jams and chutneys but never lemon curd. I must try it one day. Yours looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you like lemon-flavoured food, this would definitely be one for you to make - but wouldn't keep as well as your jam and chutney. Perhaps try it as a treat one day! I'd love to see some of your jam and chutney recipes, Bridget, I'm sure they'd be impressive!

      Delete
  9. Looks and sounds delicious, although it's something I've not had for years! Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Flighty - it is delicious! I've noted several times that lemon curd is fairly commonplace in the supermarkets these days but I've never bought it - I enjoy the whole process of making my own, plus of course the lack of preservatives in the home made curd. x

      Delete
  10. Oh Caro, my mouth is watering and my tummy rumbling. I'm very partial to lemon curd and so pretty with the sprig of lavender on top.

    One of my favourites scents is citrus blossom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Welly. Lemon is one of those flavours that always makes my mouth water too - lemonade, lemon drizzle cake, lemon meringue pie, sherbet lemons, etc, etc. I even love the smell of the zest! My mother started the love early on by making her own fresh lemonade served over chunks of ice - perfect for hot afternoons when we lived in Florida.
      The flowers are now open and I can smell them every time I walk downstairs! Lovely!

      Delete
  11. I adore homemade lemon curd!! Only last year I discovered how easy it is to make and now it's a regular request from various visiting family members. I currently have 3 jars of different homemade jam on the go, so perhaps I should wait until those have gone before I head down to the lemon shop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love making things for the family to take away - it's a tradition I get from my mother who always makes cake to bring home with us! I like to ring the changes so have jars of jam in the fridge which will last quite a long time but the lemon curd get eaten up very quickly. Hope I've inspired you to make some!

      Delete
  12. Mmmmmm - I have not tasted lemon curd for some time - must remedy that situation soon Caro. Fascinating to read about how the lavender sprigs prevent mould and what a beautiful contrast they make with the curd. They make it look even more delicious. I hope that those flower buds morph into lemons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So do I, Anna! The buds have opened into flowers in the last couple of days and I'm hoping for more sunshine to keep the momentum going, although it's rather cool and overcast here today. I'd be so excited to get lemons from the tree... !

      Delete
  13. I'm like Anna, I've not eaten lemon curd for years, but you tempt me... I suspect that I couldn't take the sweetness nowadays, but it was always a big favourite. Looks beautiful with the lavendar. Hope to see lemons on your tree next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not partial to sweet things either, Janet; I suspect that's why I like this. I can alter the sweetness to suit myself and make my curd with a nice balance to let the tartness of the lemon flavour shine through. The lavender is a lovely touch isn't it, and I like that I can usefully use it in the kitchen. (As well as in lavender sugar, of course!)

      Delete
  14. I adore home made lemon curd - it tastes so much better than shop bought - but like you say it doesn't last very long - great on freshly baked bread - yum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aha, a woman after my own heart, Elaine! Goodness wouldn't we have marvellous tea times if we lived near each other!

      Delete
  15. This is awesome! Just what I've been looking for...thank you. I can taste it already, ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope the recipe worked out for you - and thanks for dropping by to comment; I've found your blog and had a good old laugh at your post "I'm coming back as a pig!". Hilarious! Love what you're doing at your farm in NZ, bravo!

      Delete

Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...