Grab a spoon and join me at the refrigerator. I made a fresh batch of velvety lemon curd and it’s well chilled and calling me wildly.
This hard-to-resist citrus custard is simple to make and amazingly versatile. I spoon it on toast and use it as a filling in white layer cakes. It also makes a wickedly good lemon tart and mixes beautifully with freshly whipped cream for an instant lemon mousse or creamy trifle filling.
On the practical side, curd is a great way to use up leftover egg yolks when making a recipe that calls exclusively for egg whites. In my case, it was an angle food cake. Tonight, I’ll top the cake with berries, but tomorrow each slice will get a large dollop of the smooth yellow curd. Between all these possibilities and my busy spoon it probably won’t matter that curd keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks.
As you review the recipe, notice that freshly squeezed lemon juice is a key ingredient, but curd gets much of its intense flavor from the oil-rich outer skin or “zest” of the tangy fruit. I prefer using a microplane to remove the yellow zest quickly without picking up any of the bitter white pith below. You could also use a sharp knife, traditional zester or vegetable peeler.
The most important requirement for perfect curd is patience. Like all custards, this must be cooked slowly over a low heat and stirred constantly to prevent burning. Don’t cheat and up the temperature or you’ll get scrambled eggs. Always strain the custard to remove imperfections and any curdled lumps.
Now, pardon me while I dig in and make a pig of myself.