I’m an obssessive recipe clipper. I admit to regularly pulling out recipes from magazines and papers (those I own, by the way, not ones found in the Doctor’s office)and adding them to my research file. So many ideas and not enough time to play with them all. Many of the recipes that intrigue me are not naturally kosher ones. They need improvising and creative adapting. I find that with most savoury recipes, a lot of license may be taken. You don’t have to measure out each ingredient and you certainly don’t have to weigh anything. Baking is a whole other enterprise. Measuring exactly makes the difference between an okay dessert and a great one.
Rose Levy Beranbaum, the acclaimed doyenne of baking, has taken exactitude to a level to which I can’t even aspire. Rose measures and weighs everything so that there is absolutely no question of what to do. She takes every nuance into account.
A fruit curd is different from a fruit filling ie. lemon filling for a pie; because it has no thickening agent in it. The thickening process occurs solely by heating and stirring the eggs, sugar, fruit juice and butter/margarine together. The result is a much more vibrant, pure flavor and color. I decided to make individual mini lemon tarts for a dinner party and started researching lemon curd. I found the perfect lemon curd in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Every instruction is exact including what temperature the thickened mixture should be. This was invaluable information. I made the one change I had to to make it non-dairy. I substituted Earth Balance margarine for the required butter. Trust me when I say that I could have eaten it all up with a spoon. It was so tart, creamy and delicious.
I contacted Rose and asked her for permission to post her recipe on my website. She graciously allowed me to do so; but asked that I make sure to give the measurements in grams as well as teaspoons. Rose only trusts weights- and I have complete trust in Rose.
I doubled this recipe and used it to fill 30 mini tartlets made from Sugar Crust.
Note: I placed my saucepan directly over the heat as I stirred the egg mixture. It cooks quicker that way and I’ve gotten used to dealing with it in that manner. For anyone just starting out with thickening mixtures including eggs and is nervous about the eggs curdling/scrambling, start by using a double boiler. It takes longer but it is a gentler way to thicken the mixture and you’re less likely to have to throw out a batch or two.
Prep time: 10 minutes
CLASSIC LEMON CURD
By January 31, 2017Published:
- 1 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons/312 grams
- 2 teaspoons/4 grams lemon zest finely grated
- 4 large egg yolks 1/4 liquid cup/74 grams
- 3/4 cup/150 grams sugar
- 6 tablespoons/3 fluid ounces/94 grams fresh lemon juice from about 2 1/2 large lemons
- 4 tablespoons/57 grams unsalted butter cut into pieces or softened ( I used non dairy margarine )
- a pinch salt
- candy thermometer
- medium bowl with strainer
- heavy nonreactive saucepan
- wooden spoon
- Place zest in bottom of medium bowl. Cover with strainer and place near stove top.
- "In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, beat the yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice, butter" (margarine)"and salt. Cook over medium-low hear, stirring constantly (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thickened and resembles hollandaise sauce; it should thickly coat a wooden spoon but still be liquid enough to pour. The mixture will change from translucent to opaque and begin to take on a yellow color on the back of the spoon; it must not be allowed to boil, or it will curdle. Whenever steam appears, remove the pan briefly from the heat, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from boiling. When the mixture has thickened (196°F. on an accurate thermometer, pour it at once into the strainer. Press with the back of a spoon until only the coarse residue remains. Discard the residue (or enjoy it as a treat---it tastes great). Gently stir in the zest and allow it to cool."
- I made this lemon curd several days before I was going to use it. I placed waxed paper directly on top of the curd so it wouldn't develop a skin. On the day you plan to use it, remove curd from the fridge several hours in advance so it can return to room temp and get back to its creamy texture. I filled my tart shells to the top with curd and topped each one with either a raspberry or blueberry. Enjoy