My garden has lots of herbs: sage, basil, a giant rosemary bush that's threatening to overrun our bbq, oregano, mint (kept in a pot, as that has been known to overrun the garden in the past too). But the thing that brings me most pleasure is our lemon tree. I adore lemons. So I decided to post my recipe for lemon curd. I generally use it to fill sponge cakes or to go with fruit salads and Gib loves to have it spread on toast. I've also been known to eat it straight out of the pot with a spoon (not too much though, it's not the healthiest thing ever!). Lemon curd is just so versatile.
- 3 home grown lemons, juiced and strained (about 125 ml). Zest one of the lemons.
- 200g sugar (you can also use "smart" sugar or other diabetic substitute)
- 3 free-range eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten and passed through a strainer (helps prevent curdling). I strongly recommend free range for this, not only to keep with the theme and because the hens they come from are more ethically treated (speak to Jamie Oliver for more on that), but also simply because eggs are a key ingredient in the flavour and consistency of your curd. Good quality lemon curd is dependent on good quality eggs.
- 100g butter cut into cubes (dairy-free margarines also work)
- Use a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl that fits neatly into a medium sized saucepan. Make sure it wont touch the water in the bottom. Fill the saucepan 1/4 or 1/3 with water and bring to just boiling (medium to high heat).
- With the bowl not sitting in the saucepan, combine the lemon and sugar in the heatproof bowl. Add eggs and lemon rind to the lemon and sugar mixture, mix until combined.
- Place the bowl into the saucepan and reduce the heat so the water is at a simmer. Stir the mixture constantly for about 20 minutes -- don't leave it or it will curdle! (Oh yes, I've curdled my curd before). It will have thickened and be of a smooth consistency.
- Remove the top part of your double boiler or your bowl from the pan and add the butter to your mixture, a few pieces at a time, making sure each is dissolved before the next addition. Sometimes I need to add up to 1 tsp cornflour if the mixture is too runny, or if I want it thicker as a filling for sponge cake.
Lemon curd by Patricia Scarpin