20. Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd on Bake Chocolate Cake - Countdown to Christmas
This is the recipe to make when the holidays feel rushed and you need an excuse to slow down.  The wonderful fragrance of lemons combined with the need to constantly stir the lemon curd while it is cooking is a therapeutic combination of mindful meditation and aromatherapy!

The last time I was in the grocery store I picked up an organic Meyer lemon.  The fragrance was unbelievable!  It actually smelled like a lemon - unlike the lemons that are usually in the produce department.  I looked at the sign and saw that it was almost six times the price of the other lemons.   In a perfect world I would have bought the Meyer lemon.  In my practical world, I wandered over to get the other lemons to use in this recipe.

Place the lemon curd into cute jars to have on hand during the holidays as a last minute gift.  One recipe makes four 4-oz jars.  The lemon curd is delicious on just about everything - crepes, cheesecake, toast, a spoon . . .

Lemon Curd

1/4 cup Lemon zest
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 egg yolks (save the whites for other recipes like Coconut Macaroons)
2 eggs
1/2 cup fresh Lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Heat a large pot of water on the stove until it boils.  Reduce the heat to a medium simmer.

In a bowl that is the size that fits on top of the pot (double boiler) place lemon zest and sugar.  Stir the sugar and zest until they are thoroughly combined.

Add the eggs to the sugar/zest and whisk.  Add the lemon juice and the butter.

Prepare to cook the curd
1.  Fill a tall glass with cold drinking water and add a couple of slices of lemon.
2.  Turn on some favorite Christmas music.

Set the bowl over the pot of simmering water.  Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Stir with a rubber spatula.  Continue stirring and cooking the mixture until it is thick and coats the back of the spatula.  The temperature on a candy thermometer should read about 190 degrees.  It will take about 6-9 minutes.

This is a good time to smell the lemon, sip the cold drinking water, enjoy the holiday music and think about all of the wonderful things you like about this time of year.

When the curd is thick, remove it from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.

The curd can be spooned into small bottles.

To preserve the curd:
Leave at least 1/2 inch space at the top of each jar.  Follow regular guidelines for preserving food.  This particular recipe requires the bottles of curd to be placed in boiling water for 25 minutes and then removed from the heat to cool in the pot for 5 minutes.  After the 30 minutes then remove the bottles from the pot and place them on a towel on a counter away from drafts.

Once the seals on the bottles have been broken then store the lemon curd in the refrigerator.