Holiday Food Gifts: Lemon Curd

What the hell is Lemon Curd, you ask? It's yummy in a jar. Maybe more yummy than Channing Tatum. :) (yes, I'm still a sucker for high school movies...even the bad ones!).

Lemon curd is more commonly served in England with high tea scones, for example, but it very easy to make at home and very economical if you're short on cash like everyone else in this economy. This sweet and tart spread makes a great holiday food gift and packages nicely, but to avoid an anti-climactic response like "oh, you got me lemon...curd?....", you should hand-write suggested uses on the tag.

-Sandwich together angel food cake or pound cake layers with lemon curd.
-Fill curd into a pre-baked piecrust, and top with whipped cream.
-Use as a glaze
– spread thinly on cakes
-Fill pre-baked tartlet shells with lemon curd, top with green sugar sprinkles or a dusting of powdered sugar
-Spread on thin cake rounds, top with sweetened whipped cream and berries in alternating layers for individual serving-sized parfaits or trifles.
-Spoon onto ice-cream sundaes as a sauce; top with your favorite add-ons.

Package lemon curd in a glass jar, such as a mason jar and tie a ribbon and a holiday note around the neck. For an added touch, tie a small spoon upright against the jar.


Here is Alton Brown's recipes for lemon curd:

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, zested and juiced
1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled


Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


I was surprised to find that the recipe for lemon curd is yolk-based. It makes sense, but that's not what I was expecting. Once you taste it, lemon curd will move up on the totem pole of condiments and the only guesswork left is to find a companion for it.

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