Jump to content


Scheduled Downtime

NOTICE: The eG Forums will be offline for several hours on Friday, November 28 for system maintenance.

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Lemon Curd: The Topic


  • Please log in to reply
276 replies to this topic

#1 bloviatrix

bloviatrix
  • participating member
  • 4,553 posts
  • Location:Manhattan

Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:22 PM

I love lemon curd.

So, I've decided I'm going to try my hand at making it. I've gone through my books and I've noticed that while most recipes call for the butter to be added off-heat after the egg/sugar/lemon juice mixture has thickened, one or two recipes tell you to throw all the ingredients in a double boiler and whisk until thickened. (I've narrowed it down to RLB's The Cake Bible and Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking specifically.)

Does it make a difference when the butter is added? Should I go with a recipe where I add butter at the end?

Regarding the butter, will european-style (higher fat) make much of a flavor difference. Or should I stick the regular Keller's and save the Plugra for baking?
"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

#2 tan319

tan319
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,074 posts
  • Location:southwest usa

Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:26 PM

You should do the butter at the end.
You can do it over very low heat too, like a hollandaise.
Regular butter should do fine.
2317/5000

#3 SethG

SethG
  • participating member
  • 1,676 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY

Posted 16 March 2004 - 11:09 PM

You should go for it, B! Lemon curd is a wonderful thing.

If you need an excuse to use the lemon curd, I made this dessert a while ago and found it delicious-- and its presentation is striking, too.
"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#4 kitwilliams

kitwilliams
  • participating member
  • 981 posts
  • Location:southern california

Posted 16 March 2004 - 11:58 PM

Ted, you've raised a question which I have wondered about, since I have made curd adding the butter after the cooking process as well as incorporating it with all the other ingredients during the cooking process. Why is it better to add the butter at the end? What have you found to be the differences in the final result?

I have found the final product to be smoother after adding the butter at the end. Can you, or anyone else, explain why that is?

Just curious.

Thanks!
kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"
Weebl

#5 Katherine

Katherine
  • participating member
  • 1,515 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 05:09 AM

I can't recall where I read this, and I'm not a lemon curd person myself, but I did read once that an unthinking person made the recipe by creaming together the butter and sugar, then beating in egg yolks, followed by addition of the rest of the ingredients. It came out completely smooth very easily, to the surprise of the author of the article.

#6 tan319

tan319
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,074 posts
  • Location:southwest usa

Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:55 AM

Ted, you've raised a question which I have wondered about, since I have made curd adding the butter after the cooking process as well as incorporating it with all the other ingredients during the cooking process. Why is it better to add the butter at the end? What have you found to be the differences in the final result?

I have found the final product to be smoother after adding the butter at the end. Can you, or anyone else, explain why that is?

Just curious.

Thanks!

Well, to be honest, I haven't made it any other way :biggrin:
But, I think by beating in the butter at the end, you're kind of making it like mayonnaise.
Probably has to do with whisking in a little air, and emulsification(?)
Mine is more like a thick creme.
I would be concerned about it being slightly greasy by doing it all together.
Of course, I doubt someone like Sherry Yard is making a greasy product, eh?
2317/5000

#7 Sandra Levine

Sandra Levine
  • participating member
  • 1,690 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 17 March 2004 - 07:07 AM

I've done it both ways and there's no discernible difference, but I prefer to put the butter in at the end simply because it makes more sense to me. Also, there is more control. If you feel you've added enough butter, even if it's less than the recipe calls for, you can stop. Go for it and use the Plugra.

Edited by Sandra Levine, 17 March 2004 - 07:08 AM.


#8 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 17 March 2004 - 08:36 AM

There probably won't be a noticable difference between adding the butter at the beginning of cooking and adding at the end right off the heat. In both methods the curd is hot enough to simply melt the butter. However, there is a big difference if you let the curd cool to about 65 C before adding softened butter - preferable with a stick blender - because the butter will retain some of it's emulsion. The curd will be lighter in color and much creamier in taste/mouth feel. It may also tend to be a bit thicker when chilled.

#9 artisanbaker

artisanbaker
  • participating member
  • 667 posts
  • Location:North America usually

Posted 17 March 2004 - 08:55 AM

nightscotsman is right.

sr. torreblanca told me that the lactose matrix is broken when heated too high and becomes "grainy" when cool. better add the butter (pommade) after the mixture has cooled to 95ish F degrees for the most creamy mouthfeel. same with ganaches.

he said at totel they make a chocolate with a "buerre noisette" ganache whose texture is characteristically grainy due to the broken lactose.

regarding butter quality: generally the quality of the primary ingredients determine the quality of the finished product. but, will the customer (or your friends) recognise and appreciate the difference enough to justify the expense?

regards,
rob

#10 Comfort Me

Comfort Me
  • participating member
  • 603 posts
  • Location:Chicago - Hyde Park

Posted 17 March 2004 - 09:08 AM

Bloviatrix:

There was a spectacular lemon curd recipe in an old Martha Stewart Living in the early 90's. It came from a restaurant in England -- possibly London. It was part of a tart recipe. I am one of those people who doesn't make lemon curd because if I do, I wake up in the middle of the night and eat it with a spoon until it is gone. This recipe -- which I will try to find for you, was by far and away the best I ever made.

Now that I look at them, I have a decade's worth of MSL on the shelf. I wish they would come out with an index, so I could find those things I remember and would like to make again.
Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

#11 JFLinLA

JFLinLA
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 988 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 17 March 2004 - 09:42 AM

In a related lemon curd question, can you use it between cake layers? How well or how long will it hold up? Will the cake get soggy?
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#12 ducphat30

ducphat30
  • participating member
  • 251 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:05 AM

Hope that this is an appropriate segue? can you achieve the same results in making a blood orange curd by substituting lemon juice for blood orange juice? Or is the acidity from the lemon necessary to help set up the curd?
Patrick Sheerin

#13 bloviatrix

bloviatrix
  • participating member
  • 4,553 posts
  • Location:Manhattan

Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:10 AM

Thanks for all the input. I'll report back when it's done.
"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

#14 bloviatrix

bloviatrix
  • participating member
  • 4,553 posts
  • Location:Manhattan

Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:15 AM

Hope that this is an appropriate segue? can you achieve the same results in making a blood orange curd by substituting lemon juice for blood orange juice? Or is the acidity from the lemon necessary to help set up the curd?

Yard actually gives a variation for Blood Orange curd. Her master recipe calls for 2 Tbl lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup lime juice. For the Blood Orange version use blood orange zest, 1/2 cup blood orange juice and 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Basically the acidity is not to exceed 2.5 on the Ph scale.
"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

#15 Comfort Me

Comfort Me
  • participating member
  • 603 posts
  • Location:Chicago - Hyde Park

Posted 17 March 2004 - 11:19 AM

In a related lemon curd question, can you use it between cake layers? How well or how long will it hold up? Will the cake get soggy?

Oh yeah! It stays in best if you pipe a dam of buttercream around the edge.

Lemon curd filling....I want to be alone now!
Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

#16 Samaki

Samaki
  • participating member
  • 104 posts
  • Location:Alberta, Canada

Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:00 PM

I can't recall where I read this, and I'm not a lemon curd person myself, but I did read once that an unthinking person made the recipe by creaming together the butter and sugar, then beating in egg yolks, followed by addition of the rest of the ingredients. It came out completely smooth very easily, to the surprise of the author of the article.

That's from an old issue of Fine Cooking. It's my absolute favorite lemon curd. The recipe also uses whole eggs instead of just yolks, which gives the curd a somewhat lighter texture, which I prefer.

#17 Joni

Joni
  • participating member
  • 220 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:02 PM

Comfort Me...I know what you mean about eating lemon curd! I once froze it, thinking to "hide it"...then discovered I liked it even better frozen!

#18 Joni

Joni
  • participating member
  • 220 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:02 PM

Comfort Me...I know what you mean about eating lemon curd! I once froze it, thinking to "hide it"...then discovered I liked it even better frozen!

#19 kitwilliams

kitwilliams
  • participating member
  • 981 posts
  • Location:southern california

Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:11 PM

However, there is a big difference if you let the curd cool to about 65 C before adding softened butter - preferable with a stick blender - because the butter will retain some of it's emulsion. The curd will be lighter in color and much creamier in taste/mouth feel. It may also tend to be a bit thicker when chilled.

So this brings up another question: do most of you strain after cooking to remove the zest and, particularly with your technique nightscotsman, does the immersion blender puree enough so that straining is unnecessary? Which makes me wonder, is there a taste benefit from leaving the zest in after cooking or have all the oils/flavors been cooked out at this point? I know some people like bits of zest in their curd although I prefer it satiny smooth.

Joni: you're right about frozen curd!
kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"
Weebl

#20 Flossie

Flossie
  • participating member
  • 61 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 02:28 PM

I recently bought a jar of passion fruit curd and it was sensational. I'd thought I'd use it for cake fillings, etc., but I ended up eating most of it from the jar. I went to a small once-weekly food market near where I live the other day and bought some most unusual preserves including banana jam and Irish Coffee Preserve.

#21 McDuff

McDuff
  • participating member
  • 718 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 02:31 PM

nightscotsman is right.

sr. torreblanca told me that the lactose matrix is broken when heated too high and becomes "grainy" when cool. better add the butter (pommade) after the mixture has cooled to 95ish F degrees for the most creamy mouthfeel. same with ganaches.

he said at totel they make a chocolate with a "buerre noisette" ganache whose texture is characteristically grainy due to the broken lactose.

regarding butter quality: generally the quality of the primary ingredients determine the quality of the finished product. but, will the customer (or your friends) recognise and appreciate the difference enough to justify the expense?

regards,
rob

This is the technique Pierre Herme uses in his Lemon Cream, which product brings to mind the adjective "smooth."

#22 tan319

tan319
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,074 posts
  • Location:southwest usa

Posted 17 March 2004 - 03:40 PM

nightscotsman is right.

sr. torreblanca told me that the lactose matrix is broken when heated too high and becomes "grainy" when cool. better add the butter (pommade) after the mixture has cooled to 95ish F degrees for the most creamy mouthfeel. same with ganaches.

he said at totel they make a chocolate with a "buerre noisette" ganache whose texture is characteristically grainy due to the broken lactose.

regarding butter quality: generally the quality of the primary ingredients determine the quality of the finished product. but, will the customer (or your friends) recognise and appreciate the difference enough to justify the expense?

regards,
rob

I went to work today with the question of butter quality on my mind, ie: euro style butter VS. regular style.
Since I've been curious about euro style butter lately, I ordered a case of Plugra, which, btw, only was about 10,12 bucks more a case. Seems butterfat content is costing more lately. Regular butter is costing about 96.00 dollars a case now.
Re: lemon zest. I dont strain mine out. If you grate on a microplane style grater, it just melts into the curd.
My recipe uses half yolks/half whole eggs.
It is satiny smooth and indeed, is very thick when chilled.
I use it in a lemon napoleon I do at my place.
I use my stick blender to beat the eggs with sugar and the lemon juice, very quickly.
I use a spatula to stir until it just starts to thicken, then whisk and start mounting my butter in.
  • Shel_B likes this
2317/5000

#23 bloviatrix

bloviatrix
  • participating member
  • 4,553 posts
  • Location:Manhattan

Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:10 PM

It snowed all day - it's gray and cold. In other words, the perfect day for working with citrus.

The Yard recipe is super easy (I should note this is the first thing I've made out of the book). It calls for 3 whole eggs and 4 yolks. I decided to use the regular butter (I'm trying to empty my freezer before Passover). And I strained the curd, even though I zested with the microplane.

Ooo, it's so good. It's tart and creamy. Like eating sunshine. It was hard to stop after 2 teaspoons. I'm thinking of making a pound cake for the accompaniment (I'll use the Plugra for that).

Flossie - Yard includes a recipe for Passion Fruit curd.
"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

#24 FWED

FWED
  • participating member
  • 250 posts
  • Location:Snohomish Wa

Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:26 PM

Ted, tell us more about the lemon napoleon.

Fred Rowe

#25 ducphat30

ducphat30
  • participating member
  • 251 posts

Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:29 PM

I am going out on a limb here, I am not familiar with Yard. Hope none of you think less of me. But a little bit of help would be appreciated, and is there a link to this recipe for curd? :wacko:
Patrick Sheerin

#26 bloviatrix

bloviatrix
  • participating member
  • 4,553 posts
  • Location:Manhattan

Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:40 PM

I am going out on a limb here, I am not familiar with Yard. Hope none of you think less of me. But a little bit of help would be appreciated, and is there a link to this recipe for curd? :wacko:

Yard is Sherry Yard, the author of The Secrets of Baking.

Here is the Amazon link.
"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

#27 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 17 March 2004 - 07:10 PM

However, there is a big difference if you let the curd cool to about 65 C before adding softened butter - preferable with a stick blender - because the butter will retain some of it's emulsion. The curd will be lighter in color and much creamier in taste/mouth feel. It may also tend to be a bit thicker when chilled.

So this brings up another question: do most of you strain after cooking to remove the zest and, particularly with your technique nightscotsman, does the immersion blender puree enough so that straining is unnecessary? Which makes me wonder, is there a taste benefit from leaving the zest in after cooking or have all the oils/flavors been cooked out at this point? I know some people like bits of zest in their curd although I prefer it satiny smooth.

Joni: you're right about frozen curd!

In class we were taught to strain out the zest. It doesn't add any more flavor if you leave it in, so if you want perfect smoothness, go ahead and remove it. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. The emersion blender doesn't chop the zest any more finely, especially if you use a microplane, so you'll still need to strain.

We also made a somewhat different recipe for a "lemon cream" that had a much higher percentage of butter. Still very tart, but ultra thick and creamy. Lemon curd needs a short bake in a tart crust if you want it to hold a slice - the chilled lemon cream is thick enough without baking.

#28 kitwilliams

kitwilliams
  • participating member
  • 981 posts
  • Location:southern california

Posted 17 March 2004 - 07:27 PM

Ted and Neil:

Thanks for all your knowledgeable advice. So many times we get advice yet those giving it haven't the knowledge to back it up. It is much appreciated getting real answers, graciously given. Which is usually the case here on egullet :smile: And thanks for starting the thread, bloviatrix!

And now I'm off to slice a piece of freshly made pound cake and devour it with a few small scoops of frozen lemon curd on the side!

And Ted is right about the Lemon Napoleon/Millefeuille. Killer.
kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"
Weebl

#29 tan319

tan319
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,074 posts
  • Location:southwest usa

Posted 17 March 2004 - 09:03 PM

Ted, tell us more about the lemon napoleon.

Not quite sure what else you want to know about it :biggrin:
I think I use a recipe pretty similar to what Neil is talking about above, it uses a lot of butter.
To 12 eggs (half yolks,half whole eggs) 8oz. lemon juice and sugar, I'm using a lb. of butter ( a big recipe).
I think using the zest makes it less tart, or something.
I've found people are strange about lemon desserts or sorbets.
I use zest in my sorbet mix too, even though I do strain it.
It seems to finish it in a way I can't quite describe, it just seems to finalize it.
My sorbet reminds me of a lemon drop, minus the vodka, if you catch my drift.
Likewise the lemon creme I make, as far as people seem to like it (can't take it off the menu) because it's pleasantly tart but has a really smooth finish.
As far as the napoleon goes, I plate it with filo crisps ( butter, sugar every other layer x 3, baked pretty dark) some bruleed italian meringue on the side, prickly pear,blackberry and blueberry sauces.
kitwilliams, have you been to my place???
2317/5000

#30 lancastermike

lancastermike
  • legacy participant
  • 1,354 posts

Posted 18 March 2004 - 02:27 PM

Ted and Neil certainly know more than I but I also add the butter off the heat. My family adores a lemon layer cake I make with the curd as the filling. A butter cream dam around the edge does help as the curd likes to ooze. The curd is by far my favorite part of the cake and I always make more than I need for the cake for eating with a spoon or on an english muffin. Like everyone else I adore it and could and do eat it by the spoonful. My recipie came from The Cake Bible