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bloviatrix

Lemon Curd: The Topic

299 posts in this topic

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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Another reminder about lemon curd- either cook it in a stainless steel pot (or if you don't have one in a stainless bowl over a water bath. Aluminum will react with the acid (your color won't be very nice).

I beur mix in cold butter after the curd has cooled slightly- strain, and then add the (microplaned) zest.

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That's a pretty important thing Karen S brought up, that I think maybe was assumed, at least by me.

Only do it in stainless steel, in fact any acid recipes.

I used to carry my own pots with me here, nothing but aluminum.

Thanks for posting that, Karen!


2317/5000

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a tangent and controversy: I do not have access to a stainless pot at one job and I refuse to buy my pots too (as I buy too much personally for the job already). So when I began I asked for a stainless and was denied, chef insisted his pots worked just fine for curds (the last pc used them, yada, yada)............and he was right.

Yes, yes....I know all the reasons, the rules, etc....but after having done so for over a year now I can't find a problem in color or taste with making curd in an alumium pot. I don't know, perhaps the years of them (the pots) going thru the automatic dish washer and oxiding (or what ever that is when the metal turns matt in finish) has changed some sort of physical property of this metal..............

I add my butter after it's cooled down....and just barely warm. Basicly a ditto of Karens method.

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Lemon curd is divine ( I love it in combo with Strawberries or Blueberries)...no doubt about it, but do try making Lime curd, Grapefruit curd and the Passionfruit is so easy also. Just so delectable.

I fill little tart cases with curd, sandwich Victoria sponges together with curd, fold through whipped cream to sandwich meringues together, et al. But most of all, I sneak away by myself and devour a dishful spoon by yummy spoonful!!! :biggrin:

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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.

Hey, I think I have this recipe written down in a file somewhere. It was one of the first things I ever baked--the MS lemon tart. Do you want me to find it?

Personally, that recipe is a little too tart for me. I add a lot of butter to my lemon curd recipe--I guess it must be like the lemon cream nightscotsman was talking about, because it is quite thick.

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on another note, you can use the basic formula for lemon curd and make all kinds of interesting creams with fruit purees, alcohols...my previous boss made a red wine tart (basically a red wine curd with a little gelatin added) which william grimes (retired ny times food critic) really liked. so let your imagination run wild.

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Just wanted to let you know that I tried making my curd with euro style butter and didn't really like the result.

It became all about the butter, kind of lost the plot with that one....


2317/5000

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If you're going to strain out the zest anyway, why not just use lemon oil to start with, and skip the straining step?

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If you're going to strain out the zest anyway, why not just use lemon oil to start with, and skip the straining step?

You could use high quality lemon oil, but even the best is a highly processed and refined product while the fresh zest tastes, well... fresh. Sort of like vanilla vs. vanillin - sure the main flavor is the chemical vanillin, but there are other, more subtle and volatile elements that add complexity and fullness of flavor. Many people probably won't be able to tell the difference, but a difference there is.

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regardless of having zest to strain out of your curd, you shouldn't skip the straining step...and through a chinois, something with a fine mesh. egg coagulation is not the most even thing and you're bound to have some bumps and chunks. so, unless you're making curd using the french method of burr mixing the butter in at the end for a full five minutes, i would recommend straining it.

when i worked for my first boss, it was a thomas keller-esque experience (i had yet to read interviews with him and realize this in hindsight); nothing left the pastry kitchen without having been through a chinois at least once! i'm sure that's the case in most kitchens today. it's just a good habit when there are egg shells, zest, other things involved. fortunately, in a restaurant we have dishwashers...

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regardless of having zest to strain out of your curd, you shouldn't skip the straining step...and through a chinois, something with a fine mesh. egg coagulation is not the most even thing and you're bound to have some bumps and chunks.

You've just brought back another repressed memory. The first time I ever made lemon pudding I didn't force it through a strainer and found bits of coagulated egg in my bowl. The texture was very disconcerting and ruined the dish for me. I learned my lesson that day.


"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

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Borrowing Wendy's idea from the chocolate, banana, and white cake threads, I'm wondering if anyone has a lemon curd recipe they're particularly fond of. I like Wendy's format of trying one recipe, then posting another if yo have one you like better. To that end, I'm going to post my current favorite, from Fine Cooking #26, in an article by Elinor Klivans.

Lemon Curd

3 oz. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Beat the butter with the sugar until it's light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute more, then stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled. Do not panic.

Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth, then increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, without letting it boil, until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of the spoon when you drag your finger through it. If you want to go by temperature, you're looking for 170 F.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator.

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Borrowing Wendy's idea from the chocolate, banana, and white cake threads, I'm wondering if anyone has a lemon curd recipe they're particularly fond of. I like Wendy's format of trying one recipe, then posting another if yo have one you like better. To that end, I'm going to post my current favorite, from Fine Cooking #26, in an article by Elinor Klivans.

Lemon Curd

3 oz. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Beat the butter with the sugar until it's light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute more, then stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled. Do not panic.

Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth, then increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, without letting it boil, until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of the spoon when you drag your finger through it. If you want to go by temperature, you're looking for 170 F.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator.

This the the lemon curd recipes I use as well, and have received many compliments on it, so my vote goes for this one.

Jason

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Sherry Yard's lemon curd is very good also. I don't have her book here at the office but can try and post it later this weekend.

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Samaki ....we may have a winner already ;) That's the recipe I use also and it's the best I've found so far. I do have Sherry Yard's book, so may try that one as people have said it's a good recipe.

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Hmmmmmmmm...........I may have to change my mind. I made the Lemon Curd from Sherry Yard's book tonight and it is fantastic. Maybe it's the lime juice? I don't know ...but if I keep "tasting" it, it's gonna be gone before you know it. I did make it with the optional extra butter (1/2 cup instead of 1/4).

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A nice option on curd that I learned which both makes the curd lighter (it practically dissolves in your mouth) and prevents a skin from forming is when the curd is finished (still hot), strain it through a chinois into a mixer bowl and whip it on medium speed until cool (you can place a bowl of ice underneath it to speed up the cooling). This produces a great finished product.

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We had a whole discussion about lemon curd here with quite a bit of focus on Sherry Yard's recipe.


"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

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I'm wondering if you can be more specific in what your seeking in a perfect lemon curd. Is there some way that the recipe you posted seems weak, or not quite perect enough? Is there a curd you've eaten someplace that your comparing this to and trying to achieve?

I ditto chefwoodys remarks about finishing your curd. In many professional books that is how they beat/whip.

If your adding lime juice too, then isn't it a lemon/lime curd? a variation?

Personally, I've come across several lemon curds I've liked alot. I'm finding other fruit flavors more ellusive to nail. I followed the other thread on curds, I've tried some from recipes posted here and at other sites (in the past), I've tried some from well known baking books...........but so far I've only got a key lime and a lemon that I'm solidly pleased with. I'd love to have a great orange, raspberry, passion fruit, etc.... Does that interest anyone else?

P.S. My everyday lemon curd recipe comes from Martha Stewart.

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