Luscious Lemon Curd

A beautiful jar of yellow sunshine...Luscious Lemon Curd

A beautiful jar of yellow sunshine…Luscious Lemon Curd

Buttery luscious lemony goodness…and it has a name!!!  Have you ever heard of Lemon Curd?  Have you ever tasted Lemon Curd?  If you love a tangy lemony flavored pudding you will love Lemon Curd.

The beginnings to something decadent!

The beginnings to something decadent!

I think I had seen a jar of it in my grandmother’s or someone’s kitchen along the way but I don’t recall ever having been served it.  When I saw the picture of this Tangerine Curd ( http://www.simplythesweetlife.com/2010/12/food-tangerine-curd-recipe.html) last year on Pinterest I thought it sounded pretty yummy.  I re-visited that picture this last week and decided to give curd making a try.  This is a good time of year to buy citrus and I wanted to do something a bit different.

I knew if I was going to do this I wanted to at least make a few jars.  There was my first issue.  I didn’t have any of the 1/2 pint jars but one.  Jars is something I am still collecting and will be for some time I’m sure.  Fortunately I have a close neighbor (thank goodness for M&E) that was hesitantly willing to do a trade.  Canners want their jars.  I traded her 2 of my pint jars for 3 or her 1/2 pint jars, and she gets one back filled with curd.  Sounds like a good trade to me!

I had done a little research on the origins of citrus based curds.  It seems that it is a British preserve or jam type spread.  Something to serve with bisquits or scones.  Or even slathered on a big thick slice of toasted sourdough bread!  Yummy…my tummy is excited for this lemon explosion of taste and color.  It is mentioned in cookbooks and writings from the mid 1800’s.  It has also been refered to as a cheese.  It really is hard to decide what to call it, because it has components of a pudding, a butter spread, a filling, or a jam type substance.

I read a number of different recipes and they all seemed to be describing the making  of a slow cook scratch pudding. So that is the way I decided I would put this concoction together.  Like a pudding…that I was going to can.  Yes, I intended to can a couple of the jars.

First, get your jars ready.  I had 4  1/2 pint jars, an old glass lidded 1/2 pint jar, and a regular pint jar.  I intended to can the conventional 1/2 pint jars, freeze the pint jar and will eat out of the other jar first.  This will allow me to see how the curd holds up with different preserving styles.   I sterilized the jars and had them kept hot in an oven.  I also had my rings and lids simmering on the stove.

To make the Curd you need:

6 lemons (Meyer’s are the best, but whatever is available will work if they are juicy)

6 eggs (I had a few of those around)

1 cup butter (I used regular sweet butter)

You also need:

A zester or small grater for the lemon rind.  A medium sized saucepan with water about 1″ deep  and a bowl (I read somewhere that metal is best)to sit inside the pot without touching the bottom.   Or…you can use a double boiler! Also collect a whisk, juicer, measuring cups, wooden spoons, a strainer or jelly bag or cheesecloth to strain the pulp and seeds out of the juice.

First I zested the lemons.  Zest doesn’t stay fresh and colorful very long so don’t do this step until you are ready to put this together from start to finish.  I got about 3 tablespoons of zest from my lemons.

Rolling the lemons gets more juice out!

Rolling the lemons gets more juice out!

I then rolled each lemon under the palm of my hand back and forth a few times to get the juices easy to express.  I cut the lemons in half and using my handy dandy hand juicer I squeezed and twisted and pressed and swirled those lemons extracting as much of the zingy juice as I could. As the reservoir filled I dumped the contents into my jelly bag that was sitting over a 2 cup measurer. The juice and rinds were set to the side.

Fresh zest and lemon juice being strained.

Fresh zest and lemon juice being strained.

I took the metal bowl and cracked 3 whole eggs into it.  I also seperated three eggs and poured the yolks into the bowl with the other eggs and set the whites aside for another use another time.  I whisked the eggs quite vigarously.  I then added the sugar and all the lemon juice (this was 1 1/3 cups for me).  I whisked it some more and then added the butter and zest.

My sugar was a little beat up.  I had hauled baking supplies with me on my travels the week before Christmas.  Evidently it got a little damp in the box in the back of the pickup.  Whoops!  I hope the chunks will cook out.  This is the last of a 10 lb. bag I bought in August!  Over 4 months for one bag, and that was with holiday cooking!  Not bad in my conversion to honey, maple syrup and other natural sweeteners.  But not today.  Today was the real deal day!

Chunky Sugar.  The last of a bag I bought in August.

Chunky Sugar. The last of a bag I bought in August.

The water in the pan is on med-low and is barely at a simmer.  Just a few little bubbles causing the water to move slightly were visible.  I had placed a canning ring in the  bottom of the pan to keep the bowl from touching the bottom and for stability of the bowl. I put the bowl inside the pan and the process had begun.

Metal ring in bottom of pan.

Metal ring in bottom of pan.

This requires gentle stirring and NO RUSHING.  If you rush, you will have flecks of cooked egg in your curd.  A visual distraction to the beautiful smoothness I was working towards.  I used the whisk and just kept stirring in a figure 8 fashion, being sure to swirl up against the edges of the pan frequently.  If you hear the water bubbling…it is too hot.  You should not hear bubbles. If you do, turn the heat down and keep stirring.  You will see the lovely color and smooth richness before your eyes as it cooks into a molten pudding.  I cooked mine for about 10 minutes.  I used the metal spoon test.  I dropped some hot pudding onto the back of a metal spoon and it clung nicely to it, with no runniness and lumps.

A nice coating on the back of the metal spoon..it is done!

A nice coating on the back of the metal spoon..it is done!

I poured the curd into the prepared jars and placed the lids on them.  I put the 4 1/2 pint jars into the water canner.  They require a 20 minute processing time.

Canned lemon curd

Canned lemon curd

Now it was time for the taste test.  I made a piece of toast and slathered some of the sunshine yellowy goodness across it and had a bite.  Amazing.  A bright happy taste happening in my mouth.  Zingy but not too puckery. I see a cake in the future, with this as a filling.  But for now, I will just lick my lips after each bite of my elegant toast.

I need to find a few more jars.  I also have Tangelo’s and Grapefruit I wanted to try next!  I intend to just substitute the juice and zest from these other fruits and keep everything else in the recipe the same.

This recipe left me with lemon rinds, egg shells and egg whites that needed using.

All but 2 tbspns. of the lemon rinds were sliced and put in a crock and covered with vinegar.  They will become a lemon cleaner after sitting in the crock with a bag tied over the top for a few weeks.

The remaining lemon was chopped up very very fine and put in a small bowl with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 tbspns of grapeseed oil.  I mixed all of this up and used it as an exfoliating scrub in my bath.  Made my skin feel so clean and smooth.

The egg shells will either be used in one of the chickens treats, or I may use them to start some of my herbs in.  The egg whites will be used in a chicken snack or in something I cook the next day or so.  Nothing got thrown away.  🙂

Off to finish up the Pork and Lentil soup that is in the crock pot.  Maybe that recipe will show up later.  Hope you all have a lovely day.

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