Monday, December 27, 2010

Lemon Curd

This is lemon curd...some people call it lemon...oh darn, I can't remember. My mom was calling it something else the other day, but I now have completely forgotten. 
Anyways, it's very tasty and very versatile. I like it on toast or pancakes or scones ( I <3 scones) or just plain bread, in tart shells, mixed with icing and spread as a cake filling, piped into the center of cupcakes or my personal fav, by itself straight from the jar on a spoon ( similar fashion to eating peanut butter and Nutella only this is sooo much healthier cause it's fruit!) 

I made a batch of this the other day and packaged it into some of the baskets I made. Oh still sitting mostly on my kitchen table getting ready to be packages for tomorrows Christmas celebrations! ( we are all about spreading Christmas out in my family) Shhhh... the recipients don't know yet. Well they probably do now. But thats ok :) 

I was whipping up a quick batch this afternoon because I really wanted to show the step by step process of making the Lemon Curd. Well that was a bit of a problem. I was getting all set up to start cooking when my husband walks through the door with a fellow hay broker. They were going to sit and have coffee etc etc. Ok, well thats all well and good, but I felt veerryyy funny having this stranger sitting at my kitchen table while I was trying to take pictures of myself zesting lemons... I don't think that he knew quite what to think. Needless to say, I didn't just snap away like I normally do. After I crossed that bridge, it was just about time to add the eggs, so I swung open the fridge door...and there was only 5 eggs. This recipe needs 8. NEEDS 8. There is no getting away with 7 or 5 or 6. I tried thinking "maybe 5 will do the trick" . It didn't. So as a result. I have a few lovely pictures of the finished product from batch number 1. And no step by step pictures. I like step by step pictures. 

I also grated my thumb while I was zesting the lemons. I had to pick my skin out of the grater. Don't worry, I will strain it before I can it so there wont be any thumb skin in your curd! 

Is that gross? It kinda is...

But its cooked. 

You know whats worse? One time, I was grating cheese and that happened on the big holes in the cheese grater...I hope I got it all out. Because that was not cooked. Yum skin taco cheese. 

Ok enough of the grossness and on to the lemony goodness

I found this recipe...well I found many different recipes and compiled and changed things around to make a lemon curd that I love ( and isn't that the point?). 

So, you need

2 Large or 3 smallish lemons
1 1/2 cups Lemon Juice ( you can squeeze the lemons or just use the bought stuff. Thats what I do, because I am lazy Because I grated my thumb and lemon juice in cuts stings like crazzzyyy) 
1/8-1/4 tsp Lemon Extract (totally not needed but adds a nice zing) 
2 1/2 cups of Sugar
2 cups of butter or marg  ( 4 blocks of sticks) 
a touch of Yellow food coloring gel
8 Eggs

You will also need, about 7 1/2 pint jars, jar rings and seals, a canner
* You can make this without canning the curd too! Instead of canning you would put the lemon curd into freezer containers and freeze. 

So, we start by zesting our lemons. I use the small holes on my cheese grater 
( I actually did juice 2 of the lemons this time) 

Throw the lemon zest from the 3 lemons, 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups of sugar to a medium pot. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar it melted. ( by the way, 3 lemons will not give you 1 1/2 cups of juice, you will always have to add more regular juice) 

(sorrryyy its blurry :( ) 

Cut the butter up into chunks and add to the melted lemony mixture. Stir until the butter is also melted. Add the yellow food coloring and optional lemon extract.

This is where the pictures end and I realize I only have 5 eggs. 
But what you are supposed to do now is, 

Pour the mixture into a bowl, then strain out the lemon zest and pour it back into the pot. This is a totally unnecessary step, but I do it because I do not like lemon zesty chunkies.

Crack eggs into a bowl and beat up. 
Hold a fine mesh strainer over the pot (perhaps the same one you used to take out the lemon zest)
and pour the beat up eggs into the strainer. While they run into the pot in thin streams, stir the lemony mixture quickly. This will help reduce the chance of having cooked egg pieces in your lemon curd. If you do get egg chunkies you will have to strain it again.
Well you don't have to do anything, but I would strongly recommend it. 
Cook this for about 10-15 minutes until it is quite thick and coats the back of a spoon nicely. 

While the curd is cooking, heat clean jars in a oven on low heat and heat the jar rings in almost boiling water. 

The other day I heated my jars waayyyy to hot and then poured in some pear butter I was making. My jar shattered in my hand. Don't do that. It was the cutest jar ever too. 

When the lemon curd is thickened, remove from heat. 
Fill jars to about 1/4 inch from the top and place seal and ring on the jar. 
Once all the jars are filled, place in a canner and pour in boiling water till jars are covered in about 1 inch of water. Boil for 10 minutes and remove from canner. Let sit for 12 hours without moving. 
This should last for about a year in the pantry although there is some information that I have read says it should be used within a couple of months. 


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