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bloviatrix

Lemon Curd: The Topic

299 posts in this topic

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 (log)

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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

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

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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.


"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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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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...........

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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

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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 (log)

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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.

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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

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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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Here's my recipe. I usually make a bigger batch at one time, but had to recently reduce the recipe for an upcoming magazine article. - double it if you want. You can replace the margarine for butter of course.

Use a double boiler - whisking the lemon juice, eggs and sugar until they coat a spoon. Take off the heat and whisk in the butter.

Lemon Curd:

2/3 C. fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

3 egg yolks

1 C. sugar

¼ C. non-dairy, cold Passover margarine

The grated lemon zest would definately add flavour, but I don't like the texture so I don't put it in. Instead I zest the lemons and add the zest to the lemon chiffon cake batter.

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Any tried-and-true recipes you'd care to post, would be great also.

Sherry Yard's recipe is very good. I think it was printed in a previous lemon curd thread.

jgm,

I've made Yard's version, and I like it too. Its slightly thin for my taste, but still good. I used a little bit of orange juice (like 1 tablespoon).

gallery_23736_355_1106280302.jpg

I also tried this recipe this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine. Pretty good. More tart. More translucent in appearance. Stiffer.

gallery_23736_355_1106280764.jpg


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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jgm, what temperature are you cooking your curd too?


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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jgm, what temperature are you cooking your curd too?

I cooked it just to a boil. In reading previous entries on this newly combined thread, I'm beginning to suspect that may have caused the graininess. What do you think? Also, do you think it's necessary to cook it in a double boiler, or would a good, heavy-bottomed saucepan be adequate?

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jgm, what temperature are you cooking your curd too?

I cooked it just to a boil. In reading previous entries on this newly combined thread, I'm beginning to suspect that may have caused the graininess. What do you think? Also, do you think it's necessary to cook it in a double boiler, or would a good, heavy-bottomed saucepan be adequate?

If you really cooked to a boil, that's at least 212F. I've never cooked a curd that high. 150 to 180F is more typical in the ones I've done. I would try that with your recipe, using a thermometer. You can use direct heat as long as you are careful, that is, have the burner low and stir the curd constantly so that egg bits dont coagulate in it.

EDIT: Reading over thread, Wendy says she brings her curds to a boil and they still turn out fine. Hmm. But she also finishes them with a blender, which I suppose would break up any graininess. I don't know. I know the recipe I linked to specifically warns not to boil.


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I cooked it just to a boil.  In reading previous entries on this newly combined thread, I'm beginning to suspect that may have caused the graininess.

It's either that or you left the yolks and sugar together too long before blending and adding the other ingredients. That can also lead to graininess. The sugar kind of "burns" the yolks.

As for recipes, I liked Sherry Yard's a lo. I'm also a big fan of Fine Cooking's recipe, especially because of the foolproof mixing method.

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Okay, so I'm completely confused by all these different opinions. I've made S. Yard's curd before and really liked it. I've been thinking of trying RLB's mousseline buttercream from the Cake Bible which, to make lemon flavored, says to mix in lemon curd. If you were doing that, which curd would you use in order to ensure you had a bright lemon flavor.

Please, in your response, remember that I am a better than average home baker but still not a pro. I just don't get too much chance to do buttercream so am no as experienced as I would like.

Thanks.


So long and thanks for all the fish.

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Anyone using meyer lemons for their curd, is the curd 'lemony' enough when one does this?

...just curious as my current stock of meyer lemons is the best I can remember and I am thinking of all the things I can make while they are in season.

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Okay, so I'm completely confused by all these different opinions.  I've made S. Yard's curd before and really liked it.  I've been thinking of trying RLB's mousseline buttercream from the Cake Bible which, to make lemon flavored, says to mix in lemon curd.  If you were doing that, which curd would you use in order to ensure you had a bright lemon flavor.

I imagine all the recipes would work fine, but my advice would be to use the Fine Cooking recipe in the first post to this thread. It has a much higher lemon juice/egg ratio, and a more intense flavor, which I think is preferable if you are going to mix the curd with more ingredients to make a buttercream. Also, I dont like the lime juice in Yard's recipe.


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Anyone using meyer lemons for their curd, is the curd 'lemony' enough when one does this?

...just curious as my current stock of meyer lemons is the best I can remember and I am thinking of all the things I can make while they are in season.

Head over to the California Board and check in with the digest for the LA Times Food Section. It wasn't that long back that Russ Parsons did his ode to Meyer lemons where he discussed this issue and provided several recipes, including curd.


So long and thanks for all the fish.

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