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Lemon Curd: The Topic


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#61 alacarte

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 01:42 PM

I'd also love to see the Sherry Yard recipe, or the Nigella recipe too.

When I make lemon curd, many of the recipes tell you to stir the curd "until thick," or "until it holds the mark of the whisk," or something equally vague.

How do you know when it's cooked long enough? I've actually gotten to the point where it curdles, which isn't so terrible except that it reduces the lemon curd quite significantly.

(and if it's not supposed to curdle anyway, why call it lemon "curd"?)

#62 bloviatrix

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 02:02 PM

I hope I'm doing this right, but here's Sherry Yard's recipe:

Use heatproof bowls.

2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest


Combine the sugar and zest. You want to work it so that the oils from the zest are released into the sugar (I find a fork works well although she suggests doing this in the food processor)

3 large eggs
4 egg yolks


Add the lemon-sugar mixture to eggs and whisk for roughly 30 seconds. Then place mixture over simmering water and continue whisking until sugar dissolves (about 15 seconds).

Add:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice


And continue whisking until the temperature reaches 160 F. (every so often you should scrape down the sides).

Take bowl off heat.

4 tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

At this point you can either put the curd in a food processor and pulse after each addition of butter, or whisk the butter in by hand.

Strain the curd and set in ice bath to cool. Cover with plastic wrap pressed down on surface so no skin develops.

Refrigerate.
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#63 Samaki

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 08:30 PM

Thanks a bunch bloviatrix! I'm off to try this as soon as I get my hands on some limes.

Today I made a batch of the FC recipe I posted, as well as Russ'. Russ' was thicker, and definitely more sour. It was also cloudier too, though I have no idea why that would be. And I could taste the salt rather distinctly. That was the deciding factor for me. Russ, I did like your curd, but I still like my old standby better. I've discovered I don't like salt in my lemon curd.

#64 Amuse Bouche

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 01:05 PM

Nigella's Recipe:

4 organic lemons
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
300 g sugar
200 g unsalted butter (Sorry for the metric for you USers, I have the UK version of the cookbook)

Zest and juice the lemons.

Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar together until the sugar's dissolved. Add butter, lemon juice and zest and heat gently over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and grows smooth.

I don't have a chance to test this weekend, but the recipe's there for anyone else's testing pleasure.

While I'm at it,

Cranberry Curd

5 c. or 1 lb cranberries
1 c. + 2 T water
7 T unsalted butter
1 2/3 c. sugar
6 large eggs

Heat cranberries and water in a covered saucepan over low heat until tender and the cranberries have popped. Pass through a food mill (or push through a sieve) and put puree back in the saucepan. Add butter and sugar, melting them gently. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add to the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Passionfruit curd

11 passionfruit
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
7 T unsalted butter
PUt seeded pulp of 10 of passionfruit into a food processor and pulse just to loosen the seeds. Strain into a bowl.

Beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar.

Melt butter over low heat in a saucepan, and when melted stir in sugar egg mixture and the passionfruit juice, and keep cooking gently, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Off the heat, whisk in the pulp, seeds and all, of the remaining passionfruit. Let cool.

#65 jackal10

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 01:42 PM

Last year I made a Tomato Curd from a recipe sent into Farmer's Weekly sometime before 1946, the date of my collected recipes. Interesting but mild.

1lb tomatos
6 oz sugar
3 oz butter
1 lemon
2 eggs

Stew the tomatos until tender, then puree and sieve.
Add the butter, sugar and lemon juice, then add the well beaten eggs and stir over gentle heat until hick. Don't overcook. Put into warmed clean preserving jars.

Edited by jackal10, 29 May 2004 - 02:10 PM.


#66 Samaki

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Posted 31 May 2004 - 09:13 AM

I made Sherry Yard's recipe over the weekend. It is very, very good. The lime juice adds a nice complexity to the flavor of the curd. For flavor I like this one beter than my old standby. For texture, though, I still prefer the looser consistency of the FC recipe. The next step will be using the technique from Fc with the ingredients from Sheryy Yard.

#67 JanKK

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Posted 31 May 2004 - 09:28 AM

I made Sherry Yard's recipe over the weekend. It is very, very good. The lime juice adds a nice complexity to the flavor of the curd. For flavor I like this one beter than my old standby. For texture, though, I still prefer the looser consistency of the FC recipe. The next step will be using the technique from Fc with the ingredients from Sheryy Yard.

I wonder if whipping the Yard curd until it was cool, as several people suggested, would make it more the consistency you're looking for?

#68 Samaki

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Posted 31 May 2004 - 11:33 AM

That's definitely another option.

#69 KarenS

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Posted 31 May 2004 - 03:00 PM

I always add orange juice and lime zest to my lemon curd. The orange juice softens the lemon and the lime zest adds a nice perk in taste. I add butter by beur mixing it in after the curd has cooled a bit (this is something I learned from reading Pierre Herme). The temp of the butter does make a difference in terms of color and silkiness. I make this in a stainless bowl over a water bath.
16 whole eggs
16 yolks
4c sugar
2 1/2c lemon juice
1/2c orange juice
zest od 2 limes

Cook eggs, sugar, and juices over a water bath, whisking occasionally until very thick.
Strain through a chinois into a non metal container and cool to about 100F.
Beur mix in the cold cubed butter, then stir in the lime zest.
Chill with plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

This is a variation of what I learned at Spago in the pre Sherry Yard days. It was in 1986 and Nancy Silverton was still there.

#70 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 05:35 AM

Karen, you forgot to add how much butter?

I hope to make a couple of these today, will take photos if possible.

#71 Samaki

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 09:26 AM

Yesterday I blended my curds with whipped cream for a follow-up taste test. It's amazing how much this changed the flavor profiles of the curds. The FC curd outshone Sherry yard's by far. The complexity of Yard's curd was sort of muffled by the cream, while the clear lemon taste of the FC curs really shined through. The difference in sweetness between the two also came to the fore, with Yard's curd tasting almost too sour (and I love sour).

#72 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 10:02 PM

I had the chance to do some testing yesterday at work.

I was bad, in that I didn't follow the recipe proceedures written with each recipe. Instead I made each of them exactly as I make my "standard" curd recipe. I cooked each in a pan over dirrect heat (no double boilers), I brought each one up to a boil, I burr whipped in the butter after the curd cooled down (to warm/ not hot) over a ice water bath.

I just can't grasp how differently any of these recipes would have been if I had whipped the eggs before cooking (this is a issue I always disagree with in books) and introducing a fair amount of liquid to them (I get the same results with less effort). One day I'll come across supporting published words on this topic (hopefully).



The first one I made was the Fine Cooking.

Posted Image

I liked the flavor of this one the best. It had the cleanest lemon flavor of the 3. Nice, clear lemon flavor with an expected twang from the lemon. BUT this one was the thinnest of all 3. It's too thin for me to be able to use it as is, in place of my 'standard' recipe.


The second one I made was from KarenS.

Posted Image
This one had the most eggs to liquid and it was the thickest of the 3. I wasn't crazy about the flavor, it was much duller then the fine cooking recipe. I did use the orange juice as written in the recipe, but used lemon zest instead of lime zest (green zest in a 'lemon' curd is a conflict to me). I thought the addition of the orange juice was minor, it didn't add alot, didn't take away either.

The last one I had time for was the Sherry Yard recipe.

Posted Image

It called for lime with the lemon. I didn't like the lime juice addition, it was strong enough to confuse the issue and make me rename this a lemon/lime curd. This was my second place pick of the 3 for both flavor and consistancy. This one also was too thin for me to be able to use it in my typical applications with-out modifications.

I'm not sure that I want to offer up my 'standard' recipe from Martha as a challenge. It's flavor is similar to karens and Sherry Yards...where as the one from fine cooking really did taste superior, although it's texture is much much thicker and more versitle in it's uses. I'd like to know why the fine cooking recipe left such a better lemon flavor then all the other lemon curds I've ever made. It didn't have any trase of a metalic flavor and it was strangly a clearer flavor.


As far as adding the whipped cream. I didn't do that with any of these although it's something I do frequently for minature pastries. I like how the two combine, but I don't think the under tones of the curd would change (until I try it and you prove that wrong).

#73 nightscotsman

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 02:57 AM

Wendy - I totally agree about the whipping of eggs and sugar before cooking. Completely wasted effort since adding liquid and cooking will remove all the air you worked so hard to incorporate.

I'm surprised you bring your curd to a full boil. You don't find you get a curdled, grainy texture? Also, if you wanted to bake it in a tart shell I'm afraid it wouldn't set up properly since the eggs had already been cooked as far as they could go.

#74 aidensnd

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 04:16 AM

I'm surprised you bring your curd to a full boil. You don't find you get a curdled, grainy texture?


The acid from the lemons will prevent it from curdling allowing you to bring it to quite a generous boil. However it still makes me nervous though and I normally try not to take it beyond a heavy simmer.

Also, if you wanted to bake it in a tart shell I'm afraid it wouldn't set up properly since the eggs had already been cooked as far as they could go.


If you have cooked it this way then there is no need to bake it in the shell, you can just blind bake the case and let the curd set in it.

Dan

#75 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 05:55 AM

I ditto aidensnds post.

I bring it up to the bubble, not a rolling boil. My boiled eggs don't curdle at all. I rarely bake with the finished curd, but I have and it still works fine. If my curd was as loose as some of these that I tested, I'd be scared that I wouldn't be able to cut my finished product or if I used it as say a filling in a danish, I think it would puddle off or sog out the product..

#76 beans

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 10:12 AM

I'm not sure that I want to offer up my 'standard' recipe from Martha as a challenge. It's flavor is similar to karens and Sherry Yards...where as the one from fine cooking really did taste superior, although it's texture is much much thicker and more versitle in it's uses.

Sinclair,

Which Martha lemon curd did you use? She changed her recipe from her early publications to the monster growth of MSLiving. I remember her comment being that her original recipe was too tart for most of her readers' tastes (from written complaints and perhaps even that was one of her recipes that wasn't test kitchened and simply didn't work for whatever reasons, but that's a different thread :rolleyes: ), which I find to be true of many of her citrus preparations. She doesn't like anything sweet. I like things to be lightly sweet with a clean flavour.

Thanks. Great pics and testing/tasting notes. :cool:

BTW, I caught the tail end of Barefoot Contessa this early afternoon -- she did a lemon-lime curd tart for a party today. :raz: I'm gonna visit FN to see the recipe she used.

Edited by beans, 05 June 2004 - 10:14 AM.


#77 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 08:16 PM

The one issue that bothered me the most was the thinness of these curds. After sitting 2 days in the cooler I used some inside some mini choux puffs. I used a piping bag (to fill many shells) and it just poured out of the bag, they were all close to being liquid. I used some in tart shells and they sogged out the shells over night.


The recipe I've been using for years came from Martha Stewarts book on desserts. She uses it in a "1-2-3-4 lemon cake":

12 yolks
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons


Cook stove top until it thickens (I bring it to the bubble), then chill over an ice bath, when it's warm but not hot I bur whip in:

1 c. butter


This has alot of body. If you add the butter while it's hot-it still sets up rather firm. Similar but less firm then a pastry cream. I get a metalic tasting undertone in alot of lemon items I bake (I've discussed this before) and I definately get that in this curd, thats why I don't think it's worthy to challenge the recipe from Fine Cooking.

If you compare the two recipes (martha's and fine cookings), this is how it looks: doubling the fine cooking recipe so their closer in volume.

Fine Cooking-------------------------------------------------Martha S.'s

2 c. sugar-------------------------------------------------- 1 1/2 c. sugar
4 yolks------------------------------------------------------12 yolks
4 whole eggs-----------------------------------------------0 whole eggs
1 1/3 c. lemon juice---------------------------------------1 1/2 c. lemon juice
2 tsp. zest--------------------------------------------------2 tsp. zest
6 oz. butter-------------------------------------------------8 oz. butter


Lets look at Sherry Y.'s and KarenS.'s too. I'm doubling Yards recipe and 1/2ing Karens to get them closer in volume to the above examples.

Sherry Yards-----------------------------------------------KarenS

1 1/3 c. sugar-----------------------------------------------2 c. sugar
8 yolks-------------------------------------------------------8 yolks
6 whole eggs------------------------------------------------8 whole eggs
1 1/2 c. juice(combined lemon & orange)----------------1 1/4 c. lemon juice
4 tbsp. lemon zest------------------------------------------zest from 1 lime
4 oz. butter--------------------------------------------------4 oz. butter

#78 Joni

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 11:40 AM

Wendy...is the curd made with just yolks thicker ...are the whites making the curd less metallic tasting, but thinner?

#79 bloviatrix

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 11:50 AM

Wendy, I don't know if you're working from the Yard recipe posted here or the actual book, but Yard says for a richer curd to increase butter by 1/4 pound. She also mentions that you can go with all lemon juice if desired as opposed to the lemon/lime combo.
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#80 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 06:48 AM

Although I do own Yards book, I took the recipe that was posted here to use.

Yes, the Stewart recipe with all yolks is much thicker.

I don't understand why the fine cooking one tasted better, the differences aren't that huge. I didn't get that metalic taste with the fine cooking one. But the other two I made also had whites and they were more similar to Marthas in taste.

I don't know, why use whites? I like whites in my anglaise for it's thickening powers.........and don't like them in my pastry cream as a thickener. I wonder if adding whites break down the thickening properties quicker.

Perhaps the next step is to increase the yolks in the fine cooking recipe until it's thicker, keeping everything else as is. So it looks like this;

Fine cooking

2 c. sugar
8 yolks
4 whites
1 1/3 c. lemon j.
2 tsp. zest

Then split this batch in 1/2 . To one half add 3 oz. butter (as posted online) and follow Sherry Yards suggestion of more butter for a richer curd and add 4 or 5 oz. of butter to that second half.


If you had the time, try another batch of the fine cooking recipe and use all yolks no whites .........

2 c. sugar
12 yolks
1 1/3 c. lemon juice
2 tsp. zest

And repeat the butter experiment, adding more to one half of this batch then the other.


How's this sound? I can't give your any exact science on it, but thats how I would continue testing to perfect the fine cooking recipe. Samaki have you done any more testing on this?

#81 nightscotsman

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 07:22 AM

For comparison's sake, I thought I would post the lemon curd recipe we made in school. I remember it being very good, very tart, and firm enough to be sliceable after a brief bake in a tart shell. I haven't tried it side-by-side with other recipes yet, so I can't promote it as the "best ever".

FPS Lemon Curd

300 g whole eggs
110 g sugar
175 g lemon juice
grated zest of 3 lemons
45 g butter
1/2 g salt

Mix eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add butter and cook over water bath unil very thick. Strain (yes, strain out the zest) then hand blend. If making a tart, put into sweet dough tart shell while still warm and bake for a few minutes until curd is just set. This recipe makes enough for about 1-1/2 8" tarts.

#82 FWED

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 10:04 AM

Hi Neil. I am assuming that the pastry shell is prebaked or almost completely baked. Yes/No. I love straining out the zest because I can munch on it while the tart is finishing doing its thing.

Fred Rowe

#83 nightscotsman

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 04:34 PM

Hi Neil. I am assuming that the pastry shell is prebaked or almost completely baked. Yes/No. I love straining out the zest because I can munch on it while the tart is finishing doing its thing.

right, fully baked shell, since it's only in the oven for a few minutes. To moisture proof the tart shell, you can brush the inside with egg wash when it's done and browned, then put it back in the oven for a minute to just dry the egg. The shell should be room temp and the curd warm when you pour it in. If you want to add a meringue topping, we piped on Italian meringue when the tart was cold and browned it with a blow torch.

#84 KarenS

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 05:50 PM

Wendy, the added lime zest at the end makes a big difference in taste. If I make meyer lemon curd-it is essential (meaning the zest of the meyer lemon), the zest carries so much of the floral, fresh lemon flavor.

#85 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 05:59 AM

I'm positive your right Karen! I just couldn't put flecks of green into a yellow curd, someone would have called me on it. It was very noticable to me when I used recipes that added other flavors to the lemon. In my mind that changes them too much to call them a lemon curd. It's then a lemon./lime curd or a lemon/orange curd, etc... It's great to have those other combinations-I never really thought about doing that previously and will do so in the future for more variety. Just my opinion...........

#86 FWED

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 10:07 AM

Hi Wendy. Just a thought. If you wanted to add a little lime to the finished curd but not have the green flecks how about adding a small amount of a good quality lime oil.

Fred Rowe

#87 Samaki

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 07:59 PM

thanks for doing all that testing wendy. It's interesting that you found the curds to be on the runny side. When I made the Sherry Yard curd it came out very thick, almost too thick for my liking, actually. The FC curd was a little looser. I wonder if maybe the mixing methods make a difference here?

Personally I prefer whole egg curds over those made with just yolks, though I agree they tend to be softer. I prefer a softer curd, though. And I like the flavor better. All yolk curds taste too eggy to me. Just my opinion.

As soon as I get my hands on some more lemons, I'm going to try Neil's recipe as well.

Oops, I almost forgot to add that I was surprised at how much the flavor profile of the curds changed when they were blended with whipped cream. I hadn't expected that at all.

Edited by Samaki, 09 June 2004 - 08:02 PM.


#88 jgm

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 07:25 PM

I know there's a lemon pie thread, but I wanted to start one specific to lemon curd. I have made it -- always with the same recipe -- many times before with no problems and excellent results. Now everything is going wrong!

Here's the recipe I'm using:
Zest of two large lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler. I was very careful to get no white pith.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
5 egg yolks

Method: this was from a Bon Appetit recipe printed in the 1980's, as part of a recipe for "Luscious Three Layer Lemon Cake" which is to die for, I assure you. It was the era of the food processor, so it's a food processor recipe. The lemon zest and the sugar are processed first, and then the egg yolks are added, and then the lemon juice and melted butter. The mixture is transferred to a pan and cooked over low heat until thickened and just until boiling.

The first recipe burned when a local news story caught my attention. Unfortunately, it meant I had to abandon the cake altogether and call some friends and deliver some very difficult news. But enough about that. It did, however, really contribute to my frustration with this whole mess. It's not been a good week.

Okay, I wanted more lemon curd than the recipe made, since I've thought it to be a skimpy amount in the past, so I made two recipes. I did not double it and make it all at once. Upon tasting the finished product on the first batch, I found the lemon peel to be really obtrusive, and I strained it out. Ditto with the second batch. I strained out about 1/4 cup from each batch, and upon comparing this recipe with other lemon curd recipes, I've determined that this was just too much lemon peel.

It's now 24 hours later, and I've tasted the refrigerated curd. It's bitter (which I think is caused by just too much lemon zest, but I'm open to other opinions) and pretty grainy. And there's my main question now: what did I do wrong that made it so grainy? I've never had this problem before!!!!

Long story short, I'm giving up on this cake for this week. I have chosen not to proceed because I would have to start over on the lemon curd, and I'm out of patience and energy. But I haven't made this cake in years, and I want to make it again, so I need to do some troubleshooting. Any and all comments would be appreciated.

I think the first fix is to find a better recipe, with specific amounts designated for the amount of zest, since lemons can vary pretty dramatically in size and thickness of the zest. The second fix is to remove the zest with a microplane grater, as was suggested on the lemon pie thread. If anyone can address the graininess issue, I'd be grateful. Any tried-and-true recipes you'd care to post, would be great also.

#89 MsMelkor

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 07:51 PM

I use the filling from Thomas Keller's lemon tart recipe. It appears in both the French Laundry and Bouchon cookbooks, and in various places online.
allison

#90 andiesenji

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 07:52 PM

Check this bit from America's Test Kitchen
from Cook's Illustrated.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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