Monday, May 24, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

One of my favorite things about island life is the abundant supply of lemons and, with our own little tree in the garden, the availability of freshly squeezed juice just mere steps away.  As a long time lover of lemons (and generally all things tart), I've been using them wherever I possibly can.  Lemonade, cake, chicken, rice, bars, tea, fish... The list goes on, yet still I continue to search out new ways to cash in on our yellow bounty.

our little lemon tree

The other day a friend asked me if I had any good dessert recipes.  With my standard disclaimer that I am more cook than bake, I asked him what type of desserts he liked.  When he responded with liquid-ish items, including yogurt and vla, my interest peaked; these are the types of desserts that are right up my alley.  For those who don't know what vla is (don't worry, neither did I), it is a Dutch custard product that, to the best of my wiki knowledge, is similar to flan. This same friend, just moments before posing the dessert question, had recited a recipe for eggs that incorporated lemon juice.  I took a quick mental stock.  I knew he liked lemon.  I knew he ate eggs.  I knew he enjoyed the consistency of custards.  I knew exactly what to make.

bowl of lemons

Lemon curd (or spread) is one of those items I always find myself stopping to look at in the grocery store. I consider it and then put right back on the shelf.  Aside from the exaggerated price, I am generally disappointed with products containing prefabricated pie filling (blame my mom for spoiling me with homemade lemon meringue) and I am quick to assume that the fancy jelly aisle jars contain precisely that.  It looks good in theory, but I know better than to be tempted by pretty packaged promises.

juicer w/cut lemon

Fresh lemon curd is seriously as simple as zesting a couple of lemons, squeezing out the juice and mixing it with sugar, eggs, and butter.  I'm not going to go through the motions of telling you exactly how to make it, instead I will just cut to the chase and suggest that you use the recipe posted at; the results were simply to die for and I couldn't explain it any better myself.  Do yourself one better and bake her cream scones too.  You'll thank me (and Joy of Baking) for it later.

lemon curd

At first taste, I immediately announced that the spread was way too sweet.  Then I instantly changed my mind and deemed it far too tart.  My confused mouth sent mixed messages to my brain, and I took a good couple of minutes to battle it out in my mind; Sweet?  Tart!  Sweet!  Tart?   I argued with myself as I continued taking tastes.  Whatever it was, it was good, so we loaded our basket with scones and went out to the terrace to enjoy the luscious lemon curd in all of its full flavoured glory. 

lemon curd w/cream scones

Sweet...  Tart...  Sweet... Tart...  I honestly couldn't decide.  That's how I knew it was perfect.


Rebecca said...

Mmm, tasty!

Try out this recipe for something else to do with lemon curd: ... I haven't had a chance yet but REALLY want to! And apparently Baking Bites has a recipe on there for an even better lemon curd and delicious lemon meringue cupcakes. You still have a few days of your lemon life!

pollysplayground said...

The pie looks so good but will have to wait until next time - baking is low on my list of priorities for my final couple of days lol. As for a better lemon curd? I can't imagine anything better than already perfect! I seriously wouldn't change a thing.

Rebecca said...

I didn't mean better than YOURS, of course ;) Just that reports are the recipe for the curd in the cupcake recipe is better than the curd in the pie recipe. But you could use yours!!!

pollysplayground said...

Haha! Yes, yes, I could.

Corn said...

hmm, that looks delicious. I will definitely try this one out :). thanks for putting it up

Ellen Kinsel said...

Being a lover of all things lemon, I am seriously tempted to try this. Having just weighed myself after 5 days on the road, I think I better save it for a future indulgence.

Corn said...

Also, Polly,
I made my lemon curd for the second time now, I noticed it is a lot more light (almost vla-like) colored compared to your nearly gold colored curd. Do you know what causes this? Mind you, it still tastes great, it just that the color is a whole lot different. I'd say mine is "vanilla" yellow versus your "gold" yellow.

pollysplayground said...

hmm... im not sure? maybe the difference is in our eggs or our lemons? ye... mine was definitely bright yellow!

ps. i am impressed you've made this twice - i can't wait to get back to my lemon tree and make it again!

corn said...

Hmm.. I did something different with the leftovers of this batch. I mixed a few spoons of vla with it! Since its the same viscosity it mixes in seamlessly, and it adds a third taste element.. now my mouth is the battleground for vanilla, sweetsour and tart tastes :). To bad it would be really hard to get your hands on some vla :0.

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