i love lemons - their bright and vivid flavor amaze me. when i saw ina make this recipe on her show - i knew i had to try it. gotta be honest - i threw out the first batch because i thought the lemon juice has "wrecked" the eggs - it looks curdled. so i started over - and it happened again!!
alex wouldn't let me throw it out - he wanted to try going through with the rest of the recipe to see what would happen. thank goodness he convinced me - because it turns out wonderful in the end. so don't fear that it looks weird before you begin to cook it.
this is perhaps the most perfect lemon curd recipe ever! the lemon flavor is intense and the texture is perfect. i have used it in so many ways and they are all wonderful. you can spread it on scones, make little tartlets and put a raspberry or blueberry in the middle, bake off a shortbread crust and best of all - just eat it plain.
adapted from the great one (ina garten)
zest of 4 lemons (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
4 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
put the zest and sugar in food processor and pulse until combined and zest is broken down.
put lemon sugar and butter into mixer and cream.
add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined.
add lemon juice and salt and mix a little while longer.
(don't panic - it will look weird and curdled - it will be ok!)
pour into a sauce pan and heat on low until mixture reaches 175 degrees. it will start to thicken around 170 degrees.
i usually send the curd through a sieve to make sure to have a smooth consistency - but this isn't necessary.
let the lemon curd cool - cover the with plastic wrap (allow the plastic wrap to sit right on the curd) and refrigerate.
lemon raspberry tartlets
to make use your favorite tart or pie crust (you can cheat and buy pre-made pie dough - i do) and using a circle cutter (i use a glass) cut out circles and mold them into tartlet pans. bake until golden. cool.
spoon lemon curd into baked crusts and top with a raspberry.
lemon raspberry swirl tart
pour lemon curd into crust (see recipe below). mash up a pint of raspberries with 1 tbs sugar. strain through sieve. pour raspberry mixture over the lemon curd and swirl in with a butter knife. let set at room temp.
sweet tart crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in - you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. when the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change. turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
to roll or press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
if you want to roll the dough, chill it for about 2 hours before rolling
if you want to use the press-in method, you can work with the dough as soon as it's processed. just press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. don't press too hard- just enough so the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but don't press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.
freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
to fully bake the crust: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F
butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. no pie weights needed. put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 minutes. carefully remove the foil. if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. bake the crust for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.
the dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. while the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.
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