The Musette: lemon curd

During lockdown my precious preserves store has been not just depleted but emptied!

I decided I would start by making some lemon curd for a friend’s husband. He loves my lemon curd and is quite a keen cook himself. He recently gave my beloved some of his homemade marmalade which was adjudged not bad! I’m not allowed to gift anyone a jar of the marmalade I make for my beloved, so lemon curd it was.

If you’ve ever made it on the top of the stove, you know it can be quite tricky, requiring your full attention, lots of patience, straining and waiting. Well, guess what? There’s a way to cut to the chase and make lemon curd from scratch in around six minutes! Rich, creamy, thick and bright this lemon curd is the real deal made with so much more ease in a fraction of the time!

Ingredients (make a large jar)

  • 115g (8 tbsp) unsalted organic butter
  • 130g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 unwaxed organic lemons, zested
  • 120ml (½ cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 medium organic eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

Method

1. Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice into a microwave proof bowl and microwave on medium power for 4 minutes, just until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

2. Beat the eggs and egg yolk together until very smooth (sieve the mixture to make it ultra smooth). Stir the eggs into the butter mixture.

3. Microwave again on medium for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute, until the curd has thickened. The lemon curd is done when it coats the back of a spoon nicely. Additionally, it will become more opaque, forming a lovely sold bright yellow colour. This is how you know the eggs are fully cooked.

4. Allow to cool slightly before pouring into a sterile jar, covering the surface to prevent a skin forming.

5. Store in the fridge.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. DO NOT be tempted to use store-bought lemon juice, you need the fresh flavour and acidity provided by real lemons to make the right flavour.

2. Either mix the sugar with the lemon zest in your food processor, or use a small microplane to zest the lemons. If they’re not organic, wash well beforehand to remove the wax finish.

3. Always use room temperature eggs.

4. Use raw or coconut sugar to make this with an unrefined sugar.

5. Lemon curd is one of my favourite things to keep on hand as it really dresses up everything from cakes and ice cream to fresh berries and cream.

6. The lemon curd will keep fresh in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. All you have to do is put it in an airtight container, or a sterile jar, and lay cling Film (wrap) directly onto the surface to prevent it from forming a skin.

7. It goes without saying that this makes a lovely gift, and no one will ever know you made it in a matter of minutes.

 

 

Fridge of a thousand jars

A house guest once commented on the number of jars in my fridge calling it the “fridge of a thousand jars!” That was obviously an exaggeration but I’ve just given the fridge a tip to toe clean and frankly, once I saw all the jars lined up, I realised he did have a point.

Any jar once open naturally ends up in the fridge. I have the usual selection of mustards, home-made jams and marmalades, sauces, chutneys, mayo etc that you’d probably find in most people’s fridges, though I may have a few more condiments. For example, sweet German mustard for veal sausages, dill sauce for smoked salmon, two types of horseradish, German curry ketchup, Scandinavian remoulade sauce for cold roast beef, capers in brine and salt, anchovies in oil and salt……………I think you’re now beginning to get the picture!

I’m also keen on pickles, they add such a satisfying crunch to so many dishes. Of course, you’ll always find jars containing large dill pickled cucumbers and the smaller French cornichons along with a whole host of home-made pickles such as onion, red cabbage, cauliflower and even mixed vegetables. That reminds me, I must do a blog with some of my ridiculously easy pickle and fermented vegetable recipes. I find it’s an excellent way of not wasting a scrap.

I also have small jars of confit and roast garlic which I’ve prepared to pop into dishes where I don’t want the hit of raw garlic, along with confit tomatoes and maybe the odd confit duck leg sitting in its protective layer of unctuous goose fat. I’ll also often mince ginger and turmeric and pop the paste into little jars to use as and when, otherwise I find they tend to shrivel up in the fridge.

I’ll generally have some home preserved soft fruits, typically white peaches or apricots, as a go to dessert if unexpected visitors drop by. Before the jar’s open, it stays in my stand alone preserves fridge but once open it migrates to the main one.

There’s usually a small selection of open jars of home-made jams, chutneys and marmalades, along with home-made nut butters, home-made tahini and preserved lemons. There’s also usually a bottle of my home-made pesto. In summer it’ll be made with basil but at other times maybe rocket or carrot tops. Then there’s my home-made vanilla paste and extract, a few flavoured oils – though these don’t last too long – and let’s not get started on the small plastic containers full of dips such as hummous, guacamole, aubergine caviar and artichoke mousse which form the basis of many a pre-dinner nibble or a sandwich filling for me.

When I make up different curry pastes, I’ll make these in bulk and freeze what I don’t need in individual portions. Though, occasionally, I’ll just pop some in a small glass jar to use later in the month.

Every time I open a can of chickpeas, I drain off the aquafaba. If I’m going to use it within the next week, I’ll pop it into a jar in the fridge. If not, I’ll freeze it. I follow a similar procedure with egg whites.

I think you’re beginning to get my drift and it’s probably a good thing my guest didn’t glance into my freezer which is always full of little plastic bags filled with so many different treasures!