Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lemony Curd

I distinctly remember having a fluroscent yellow, strikingly sweet, gelatinous substance spread on my toast at grandma's house growing up. The green and gold label is etched in my mind reading, "E.D. Smith". I thought it was pretty neat that grandma put such a cool label on her canned goods.

Tens of years ago and that memory never fades. It wasn't really that delicious, but the time was.

Somehow despite being misled on how lemon curd should really taste and the fact that Grandma Elsie Smith wasn't the face behind "E.D. Smith" (I should have caught on earlier since she didn't have a middle name!), I still have a fondness for lemon curd.

It is hard to find one that suits my taste- it can't be too eggy nor too sweet and it has to be perfectly tart. After mixing up a couple batches for a recent cake I made, I finally found one that suited me just fine.

This curd is excellent as a cake filling (on its own or mixed with frosting or whipped cream), a tart filling, or as is intended- a spread for toast.

Lemon Curd
Makes about 3 cups
This doesn't look thick enough after cooking, but once cooled, it thickens perfectly. Serve chilled. It is very important to use organic lemons especially when using the zest, as pesticides are often concentrated on the outer layers of fruit. Zest the lemons and then juice them!

2 tbsp lemon zest, or more to taste
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 8-10 organic lemons)
1 1/2 cups cane sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 large organic eggs
pinch sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a thick-bottomed saucepan (like enamel cast-iron) or double boiler. Cook, whisking constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat so it continues to bubble over lower heat and thickens slightly. Cook for about 8 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
2. Cover and refridgerate and use within 2 weeks or process in small canning jars in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Processed jars keep for about a year.
Adapted from Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton.