There is just something special about lemons. Lemon juice, lemon rind, stewed lemons, limoncello, lemon tarts, etc. I would have a very hard time choosing just one of four favorite citrus fruits/flavorings: kalamansi, dayap, lemons or oranges, but lemons are definitely in my top 100 ingredients of all time. I donâ€™t know about you, but the fragrance of lemon seems to lift my spirits. It is a very â€œpositiveâ€ sniff, if you get my drift. And a little bowl of perfectly zested lemon rind (beautiful fresh firm lemons with no wax coating, a sharp clean microplane zester) provides a great aroma to any kitchen, not to mention makes a stunning photograph, up top. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I think most of the colognes I have found interesting were of a highly citrusy note.
Another form in which one can enjoy lemon flavor is in lemon curd, a rich, bright, intense preparation that is often seen in English desserts or those of commonwealth countries such as Australia. I never did quite get the attraction except that it was intenseâ€¦I just never had it in the right context, I thinkâ€¦ Here is a fairly simple recipe for lemon curd and I post it now as it is a critical ingredient is some superb lemon squares that a made a while ago. The lemon curd would be good served with an angel food cake or even a butter cake. Warning though, it is intense and should be consumed in very small quantitiesâ€¦ The recipe is from Rose Berenbaum in her great book Roseâ€™s Christmas Cookies. You will need 4 large egg yolks, Â¾ cup sugar, 3 fluid ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest (I use a microplane zester for the zest in photo up top).
In a heavy non-reactive pan (I used a small enamel covered pot), mix the egg yolks and sugar with a small whisk until blended. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and salt and cook over a medium flame stirring constantly. After about 5-6 minutes, it will thicken and look like a heavier sauce. It should not boil or it will curdle â€“ disaster. When the curd has thickened enough (coats the back of a wooden spoon nicely), then pour it immediately into a strainer set over a bowl. Press the curd with the wooden spoon until most of it is passed through the strainer, get rid of the resideue. Stir in the lemon zest now if you are going to use the curd in a recipe that will be cooked again. Alternatively, if you will use the curd cooled, then add the lemon zest while cooking it. The lemon curd (not Kurd, silly!) tasted absolutely fantasticâ€¦and wait till you see it on a â€œcookie,â€ that up in the next post, soonâ€¦