Lemon curd. The very words conjure images of High Tea, lace doilies, petit fours and Britain’s elite – impeccably dressed, pinkies in the air. The generic term refers to a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest (sometimes butter) thickened by gentle heating, resulting in a soft, smooth, intensely flavored spread used in dishes ranging from scones, biscuits, toast and muffins, to cakes, pastry, meringue and tarts.
I’d like to try this with gingerbread, personally. Or swirled into a cheesecake. Eaten straight from the bowl?
It’s always a quandary when asked, “What should we have for your dessert?” A great question, but how to choose the one thing that so perfectly goes with that specific celebration and season?!
Tucked in a pocket of my cooking folder is an ever-growing stack of dessert recipes, none of which I’ve tried. This particular one always catches my eye as something a tad different; light and bright, perfect to debut at an outdoor gathering. After all, it’s [partially] my party and I’ll give kisses if I want to!
Meyer Lemon Kisses [makes 14-16 kisses]
For the kisses:
1/4 c superfine sugar
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/4 c AP flour
1/2 t baking powder
additional superfine sugar, to sprinkle
7 fl oz heavy whipping cream
+ + +
For the Meyer lemon curd:
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/2 c water
1/2 c freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 egg yolks, room temperature
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 oz butter, cubed
For the Kisses: Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric hand or stand mixer on high until the mixture resembles a thick stable foam and a mark from a spoon dragged through the middle doesn’t disappear [mine took at least ten minutes and probably should’ve gone longer]. Add the lemon zest and continue beating until well combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and very gently fold the flour in with a large metal spoon.
Gently drop tablespoonfuls of mixture onto the lined baking sheets to form approximately 28-32 even sized rounds, leaving some room for spreading. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra sugar.
Bake for 6-8 minutes or until light golden and spring back with a light touch. Remove to a rack covered with clean dry paper towels and allow to cool.
Whip the cream together with a couple tablespoons of lemon curd to taste.
A few minutes before serving place two of the halves together with a spoonful of the lemon curd-flavored cream and a little extra lemon curd.
For the Meyer lemon curd: Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1″ up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, juice and yolks in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. [Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.] Stir mixture until all the sugar has dissolved. Continue to heat gently until the mixture has thickened somewhat.
Remove from the heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Whisk in the lemon zest and butter cubes, and continue to cook over the bain marie until a fairly thick consistency has been reached.
Pour into a plastic container and use as required above. Extra lemon curd keeps well in a tightly sealed container up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It will keep even longer in the freezer, and bonus: it doesn’t freeze solid, so you can scoop out what you want, when you want!
Adapted from Bron Marshall
Lemon curd is a simple recipe. But heed this warning: it requires careful and constant attention for a prolonged period of time… emphasis on long. As Sandy said, “Grab a chair and a magazine. You’ll be in front of the stove for awhile.” Ohh, but when you snitch the first fingerful – after melting away and entering a brief state of nirvana – you’ll want it all the time, all for you.
Having never tasted or worked with a Meyer lemon before yesterday, I can now attest to it’s greatness. A strong but soft lemony flavor, not at all puckery. It’ll be difficult going back to conventional lemons.
These little kisses were one of many bright spots today, and they flew off the pedestal! Everybody but one of two five-year olds gave rave reviews between mouthfuls. I’ll take that as a good sign.