Friday, November 11, 2016

Lemon Curd

Yum

I have wanted to make lemon curd for a long time, and for some reason, just never got around to it. That's really terrible because I love all things lemon! Lemon Meringue Pie, No Bake Cheesecake Parfaits, Fried Lemon Pies, and more.


What is Fruit Curd? Fruit curd is a dessert spread and topping usually made with citrus fruit, such as lemon, lime, orange or tangerine.Other flavor variations include passion fruit,mango, and berries such as raspberries, cranberries or blackberries. The basic ingredients are beaten egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice and zest which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, intensely flavored spread. Some recipes also include egg whites and/or butter.

In late 19th and early 20th century England, home-made lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam, and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts. Homemade lemon curd was usually made in relatively small amounts as it did not keep as well as jam. In more modern times, larger quantities became possible because of the use of refrigeration. Commercially manufactured curds often contain additional preservatives and thickening agents.

Contemporary commercially made curds remain a popular spread for bread, scones, toast, waffles, crumpets, pancakes, cheesecake  or muffins. They can also be used as a flavoring for desserts or yogurt. Lemon-meringue pie, made with lemon curd and topped with meringue, has been a popular dessert in Britain and the United States since the nineteenth century. Lemon curd can also have whipped cream folded into it for such uses as filling cream puffs.

Curds differ from pie fillings or custards in that they contain a higher proportion of juice and zest, which gives them a more intense flavor. Also, curds containing butter have a smoother and creamier texture than both pie fillings and custards, which contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening. Additionally, unlike custards, curds are not usually eaten on their own. (Source: Wikipedia)



RECIPE
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups superfine sugar*
1/2 cup lemon zest (freshly zested)
1 cup bottled lemon juice**
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into approximately 3/4-inch pieces
7 large egg yolks (I use farm fresh eggs from a local farm)
4 large whole eggs

Method
Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, stir to mix, and set aside about 30 minutes. Pre-measure the lemon juice and prepare the chilled butter pieces.

Heat water in the bottom pan of the double boiler until it boils gently. The water should not boil vigorously or touch the bottom of the top double boiler pan or bowl in which the curd is to be cooked. Steam produced will be sufficient for the cooking process to occur.

In the top of the double boiler, on the counter top or table, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the sugar and zest, blending until well mixed and smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and then add the butter pieces to the mixture.

Just started on top of the double boiler
Place the top of the double boiler over boiling water in the bottom pan. Stir gently but continuously with a silicone spatula or cooking spoon, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature (this process takes approx. 30 minutes or slightly longer).


After 30 minutes and temperature reached 170 degrees

Remove the double boiler pan from the stove and place on a protected surface, such as a dish cloth or towel on the counter top. Continue to stir gently until the curd thickens (about 5 minutes). Strain curd through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl; discard collected zest.

Fill hot strained curd into the clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process half-pint jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Thickened and strained, all ready to be put in the canning jars

Yield: 4 half-pint (8 oz) jars

Notes:
* If superfine sugar is not available, run granulated sugar through a grinder or food processor for 1 minute, let settle, and use in place of superfine sugar. Do not use powdered sugar.

** Bottled lemon juice is used to standardize acidity. Fresh lemon juice can vary in acidity and is not recommended.

*** If a double boiler is not available, a substitute can be made with a large bowl or saucepan that can fit partway down into a saucepan of a smaller diameter. If the bottom pan has a larger diameter, the top bowl or pan should have a handle(s) that can rest on the rim of the lower pan.

Variation:
For Lime Curd, use the same recipe but substitute 1 cup bottled lime juice and 1/4 cup fresh lime zest for the lemon juice and zest.

**Other citrus or fruit curds are not recommended for canning at this time**

Original recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Enjoy,
Mary

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