Recipe for Success

Monday, March 14, 2005

Lemon curd

Today I've experimented with making lemon curd partly in the microwave. You need to make lemon curd in a bain marie or a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water - the pan I was using wasn't quite the right size so the curd wasn't thickening well, leading to my desperate microwaving effort. Do proceed carefully either way - cook it too fast and you'll have lemon flavoured scrambled eggs, not really what we want.

Ingredients:

grated zest of 3 lemons
juice of 2 large lemons
8 oz sugar
4 oz butter
3 medium eggs

Method:

  1. Fill your sink with cold water. If the curd starts to turn scrambled, put the bowl in the water to cool it quickly to stop it getting worse.
  2. Sterilize jars (makes a little more than one standard 454g / 1lb jar) - place them in a cool oven or just put them on a hot cycle in the dishwasher and use immediately when it finishes, when they are still hot and steaming.
  3. Place a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl and that the pan does not boil dry.
  4. Put the sugar, butter, zest and juice in the bowl and keep stirring until the butter is melted and everything is combined.
  5. Beat the eggs well and add to the bowl. Cook and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
  6. After adding the eggs you can try using the microwave to thicken the curd. Remove the bowl from the pan and dry it before placing in the microwave. I have a 950W microwave and would advise proceeding very carefully: put the curd in the microwave for only about 15 seconds at a time and then whisk well before returning to the microwave - any longer and you risk the scrambled egg problem. Continue until the curd thickens.
  7. Pour the curd into the hot jars (they must be hot or they may crack). Allow to cool for a while then place in the sink full of cold water (with lids on) to cool quickly. The jars should seal. Once cool, keep in the fridge.

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