It’s possible I’ve waited too long to tell you about this. Waited is not quite the mot juste here. There isn’t a single word that comprehensively covers how I’ve been dying to tell you all about it with nary a writing opportunity available. This lemon curd got made, gifted, photographed, eaten and thoroughly appreciated, in short, everything but captured in this space here. I’ve been very remiss.
Let’s rectify that right away. Even though chances are that the Meyer Lemon obtaining avenues are closing fast, unless you’re the lucky owner of a tree or you refrigerated your last precious batch. They last in the fridge a long time, these little globs of sunshine. They brought much needed cheer to many a cold winter’s day in my last three months. It’s important that I give this fragrant citrus the some much required props in my virtual home too.
I’ve mentioned before how cooking is a process filled with intensity for me. I’m the original poster child for the solitary cook. These days though I rarely find myself able to avail of this luxury, which has the effect of turning me into the proverbial cross cook. But recipes like this, I file under culinary therapy. No matter how much traffic is making it’s way through my kitchen, they have the ability to calm me down.
Curd, as a rule, is just a fabulously easy thing to make. It requires work on your part, but this is just effort, not tedium. You select three or four of your stash of Meyer lemons and gently grate their sweet zest. You then proceed to lighten them of their piquant juices. A citrus reamer makes short work of this. You pour both into a large bowl, along with some sugar, eggs and butter, then whisk to mix together. You place this bowl over a steaming vat of heating water, and then begin to whisk away industriously.
There’s something magical about the way the gritty mixture becomes smooth and silky and then starts to thicken and shimmy around your whisk in fat, indolent ribbons. It accomplishes a culinary prestidigitation of sorts in the way it lights up your kitchen on a gloomy mid-winter, early spring day, the soft yellow cream spreading more sunshine with each stir of your hand. Your yearning for spring is temporarily sated by the sweet, wonderful fragrance that wafts through your space, so reminiscent of the delicate floral wonders of spring. The lavender that you mix in halfway through your ministrations adds gentle gravity to this lovely aroma, anchoring it in your senses, at once evocative both of summer fields and an apothecary.
Put on some music as you start this recipe. By the time the sixth or seventh song moves into play, you’ll be at ribbon stage and won’t be able to keep your finger out of that bowl. You then let the curd cool down a bit before you pour it into a jar for refrigeration. The curd is irresistibly tart yet sweet at the same time. I tried one batch with saffron once which turned out pretty fabulous too.
I made this curd several times this past winter. It sustained my spirits through several frigid days; spirits lagging not just because of the weather. I used it in trifle, on cake, in a fruit salad, on toast, At one point I was scooping it out of the jar with Oreos (loved it!) I served it to friends and family, all of whom were quite appropriately rapturous about this simple curd, further uplifting my ever-sagging spirit. It’s genius tossed with pomegranate seeds (for some reason, this turned out to be my favourite way to have it this season) and makes a stellar dessert sandwich with Nutella smeared on a slice of brioche in the one hand and this curd spread on the slice in the other.
Meyer Lemon – Lavender Curd
Adapted slightly from Gourmet
Makes a little over a cup and a half
Meyer lemons – 3 to 4
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2
Dried Lavender – 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter – 1 stick, cut into quarters
– Grate the lemons until you have about 2 teaspoons of zest, then juice them to collect about 1/2 cup of juice.
– Crack the eggs in a bowl. Whisk for a couple of seconds to break the yolks, than add in the zest, juice, sugar & eggs and whisk together. Add the butter.
– Place bowl over a larger bowl of simmering water. Continuing whisking as the butter melts, then continue whisking until the mixture moves from gritty to thick and smooth. The whole process shouldn’t tke longer than fifteen minutes at the most.
– Pass the curd through a fine sieve into another bowl while still warm. Cool completely before refrigerating.
The curd can be served warm or cold.
This is a fantastic curd, so great and super simple that I’ll never think of buying this in a store. It makes great gifts and all it requires on your part is a half hour and some strong whisking action. Another thing I love about it is the fact that it uses the whole egg, unlike other recipes that only make you use the yolk. I prefer recipes that don’t have you separating an egg, because then I have to quickly find something to do with the other half. I hate that kind of pressure. I also don’t like frozen egg in my freezer. I’m odd that way.
If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you could use regular lemons or a mixture of orange and lemon juice, so long as you use a half cup of it. If you’re using only lemon juice, up the sugar by another couple of tablespoons, or more if you like your curd sweeter. I prefer it more tart. Conversely, reduce the sugar if you’re using orange juice as it is likely going to be much sweeter. You can use any sort of citrus. Watch out for that lavender. I fell so in love with the pretty colour and intoxicating smell that I used too much of it in one batch in my rapture. Nothing is more confusing to your senses than trying to eat a sunny yellow concoction with the consistency and aroma of hand creme.
Grab those Meyers before they run out and try this. You’ll be happy you did.