Lemon Curd / Fruit Curd
Fruit curd is a dessert topping and spread usually made with lemon, orange or raspberry. 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, homemade 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 are feasible because of the use of refrigeration. Commercially manufactured curds often contain additional preservatives and thickening agents. Modern commercially made curds are still a popular spread for bread, scones, toast 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 favorite dessert in Britain and the United States since the nineteenth century. Curds are different 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; both contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening. Additionally, unlike custards curds are not usually eaten on their own.
Other flavor variations also exist using citrus fruits such as limes and nectarines, passion fruit, mangoes, and berries such as cranberries or blackberries. Literally hundreds of commercial variations are sold globally.
Lemon Curd Recipe
1/2 cup (120ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/3 cup (80g) sugar
3/4 stick of unsalted butter (90g)
Pinch of salt (optional, to bring out sweetness and flavor of finished product)
1. Grate the lemon rinds to produce two tablespoons of zest. Grate only the yellow zest, avoid the inner white pith which is bitter.
2. Extract the juice from the lemons to produce 1/2 cup (120ml) of juice.
3. Cut the butter into small chunks.
4. Put eggs, zest, sugar, and salt into cooled sauce pan.
5. Whisk ingredients in pan till frothy and light in color (a minute or two).
6. Add lemon juice and whisk 30 seconds.
7. Add butter chunks.
8. Set pan on stove burner, turn on heat to medium-to-low, and start whisking contents so they don't coagulate or stick to bottom of pan.
9. Whisk constantly till butter melts and mixture thickens, then whisk another two minutes, but do not let mixture boil - it should be quite steamy (185°F, 85°C).
10. Optional: Remove zest with the strainer over a mixing bowl and pouring the mixture through. Then work the mixture through the strainer with the spatula to strain out the zest and any egg lumps; rake mixture off bottom of strainer into bowl.
11. Pour mixture from bowl into jar to within 1/4 inch (0.75cm) from top, taking care not to get mixture on rim, then seal jar with lid.
12. Refrigerate to thicken the product further.
Notes, tips and variations
- Lemon curd keeps for several months in the refrigerator.
- Quick Snack Tray: Lemon curd can be spooned on top of plain sugar cookies with a piece of fruit on top (such as a single blueberry or single raspberry) for a quick treat for guests. It's also perfect to serve for National sugar cookie day.
- Are you having a lemon theme party? Well if you are, don't forget that lemon curd is always on the table at a lemon theme party.
- Have you ever had a Lemon Tea party? For lemon tea parties, it's popular to serve foods that include lemons. Such as lemon scones with cream & lemon curd, lemon cookies, lemon-meringue pie, lemon pound cake, hot tea with lemons, seafood canapé / hors d'oeuvres /or Tea Sandwiches that's drizzled in lemon juice.
Definition of a Cream Tea
"A Cream tea, Devonshire tea or Cornish cream tea is tea taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam" - it also must be said that lemon curd is also a favorite at cream teas.
Lemon Curd as a gift-in-a-jar
Homemade Lemon curd is a favorite gift-in-a-jar item for gift giving. This delightful gift is put in a sea through glass jar that is traditionally topped with a lemon theme material that is wrapped in a beautiful silk ribbon. A gift tag is customary with a lemon curd recipe or either serving instructions.
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