LOVELY LUSCIOUS LEMON CURD

Tangy, zesty, absolutely to die for, sweetness that makes you pucker and salivate all at the same time; that’s a lemon curd experience.

lemon curdToday’s taste of lemon curd was part of the after meal pudding for end of harvest dinner; a wonderful way to finish a delightful meal. Lemon curd is basically a finessed mixture of lemon juice, zest, egg yolks and sugar. The ingredients are cooked slowly and gently until they become thick and creamy. Fruit curd can really be made from almost any fruit or berry, however, lemon is by far my favorite. Curds are different from pie fillings, custards or jams because they tend to retain a higher amount of the actual fruit flavor.

From a culinary perspective, fruit curds are amazing and versatile for sweet and even savory dishes. I have to admit that the very best lemon curd I have ever had in my life is made by my dad from the lemons off the meyer lemon tree in my brother’s back yard. Nothing compares, although, tonight’s pudding was very close. Lemon curd is an amazing filling for pies or puddings, topping for scones or biscuits or even just toast and it even goes well on a baked sweet potato!

From a health perspective, okay let’s face it, it’s dessert (for the most part). However, because it is slow cooked, it does retain some of its lemony goodness, not to mention the nutrients found in the egg yolks. Remember that adding lemon to foods can help the flavors brighten and become more complex. If your dish is missing a little something, reach for a little lemon before you reach for the salt and it can add just the right notes....even better reach for a little lemon curd and you can also include some healthy fats and creamy mouthfeel to complete the experience.

lemoncurd cooking

Research suggests that adding fresh citrus to foods can help people with difficulty tasting and smelling enjoy their food again. I think lemon curd would be a nice surprise for someone with muted taste buds, both for the mouthfeel and for the increased flavor from the volatile oils.
Lemon has a long list of benefits. It aids in digestion and stimulates peristalsis. It is antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial, so it helps with wound care and can help tissue heal without scarring. Lemon is a great addition to ginger and honey to make an awesome tonic for cold and flu....or slow cooked into a curd it can brighten someone’s palate if they are feeling a bit under the weather. (:

Traditional Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 TBS Lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour.

 

Vegan Option:

Ingredients

  • 1 14-ounce can coconut cream*
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup, plus more to taste 

Instructions

  1. Place coconut cream and lemon zest in a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
  2. Add lemon juice and arrowroot starch to a small mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly dissolve. Then add to coconut cream mixture and stir.
  3. Lastly, add maple syrup (starting with 1 Tbsp) and whisk again until well combined.
  4. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low bubble – not boil – whisking often. Once it starts bubbling and getting thick, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until a visible ribbon forms when spooning a bit of the curd across the top. It should be thick and kind of jiggly in texture. During this process switch to a rubber spatula for stirring to ensure the curd isn’t sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan.
  5. Remove from heat and taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for acidity/brightness, or maple syrup for sweetness.
  6. Let rest for 15 minutes, then whisk once more and transfer to a glass bowl or jar and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the curd – otherwise a film may form.
  7. Refrigerate for 5-6 hours, or overnight, or until completely chilled and set. Will keep in the refrigerator 7-10 days, though best within the first 4-5 days.
  8. ENJOY!

 

RAW FOOD OPTION

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 large Avocado
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 dates (soaked and drained)

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend all ingredients in vitamix or with hand blender until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate and enjoy. 

This has a different texture to the above recipes, almost more pudding like but if you blend it long enough the fat from the avocado will emulsify and it will be smooth and creamy and dreamy.