What a misfortune that this dessert should be burdened with the name "curd," which implies something more like cottage cheese than the light and lovely dish that it is. Extra lemony and creamy this curd can be used as a spread on toasted bread, as a tart filling or served like custard with fresh berries, which is how I prepare this recipe.
Lemon curd is very simple to prepare, it only takes 20 to 30 minutes. The only drawback is that you need a double boiler. A double boiler is a pan that sits on top of another pan. You heat water in the bottom pan and cook the curd in the top pan. Although you may not have a double boiler on hand, it is worth it to purchase one because it makes preparing recipes like this much easier because you don't have to worry about the ingredients burning. In a pinch I have used a stock pot and a metal bowl. The bowl should sit on the rim of the stock pot and not touch the water beneath.
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp. butter, unsalted, softened
- 1 pt. raspberries
- mint sprigs for garnish
Bring the water in the bottom pan of your double boiler to a simmer, as boiling water is too hot and may cause the eggs to curdle.
While the water is heating, cut the butter into small pieces, zest and juice the lemons. Set the butter and the lemon zest aside. The zest comes from the yellow portion of the lemon rind. You can either use a tool called a zester or a fine cheese grater to remove the zest.
In the top pan of your double boiler whisk together the eggs, lemon juice and sugar. Set the top pan over the simmering water in the bottom pan and continue to whisk the mixture until it becomes thick. This should take about 10 minutes. If you find that the curd is reluctant to thicken, it could be that the water temperature in the double boiler is too low.
When it is ready the curd will become frothy and then creamy with a yogurt like consistency.
Remove the curd from the stove top, add the small pieces of butter and whisk until the butter is melted.
Stir in the lemon zest and cool in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving. To prevent a skin from forming on top of the curd, cover the bowl with plastic wrap while it cools.
Just before serving fold in the raspberries.
I like to serve this dessert with a simple sugar cookie and a sprig of mint. If I'm lucky enough to have any lemon curd left over I use it as a spread on morning toast or for afternoon tea. It will keep in the refrigerator for about one to two weeks.
Serves 3 to 4 depending on the size of the portions.
Time to prepare: 30 minutes.
Serves 3 - 4.