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21 May 2007

Have you ever made lemon curd? Is it difficult? What have you made with it afterwards? I have a bag of lemons from a friend's lemon tree, and I owe some ladies in the neighborhood something nice (since they've been giving us yummy stuff and treats regularly - nice ladies!) [More:]

I was thinking of lemon curd because the ingredients are easy to find, and inexpensive, but I can't give the nice Greek ladies straight lemon curd because they won't know what it is, so I'm thinking... maybe some kind of layered dessert or something? Like with strawberries? (I can't get blueberries or raspberries.)

Or any other ideas for (relatively easy) lemony treats?
My mum and I used to make lemon curd (in Scotland) hundreds of years ago. I remember it being pretty easy, but then we used to make things like baked alaska and choux pastry too. Perhaps "we" = "she" (or at least, I suspect she did most of the heavy lifting). The lemon curd does seem to stick in my memory as very easy though.

They're very Australian, but I immediately thought of Neenish tarts as a great thing to fill with lemon curd. And what do you know? The BBC has a recipe for just that.

Hmm. Mrs Dundee has just peered over my shoulder and said "Yeuch! Lemon Curd in a Neensh Tart!". But she's a bit of a traditionalist. I say go for it.
posted by GeckoDundee 21 May | 05:33
*waves to Mrs. Dundee*

Thanks, GeckoDundee! I should've mentioned, though, that anything that requires a tart or pie shell (or that manner of thing) is a difficulty, because shops don't generally sell them (at least I've never seen them) here in the land of pita and phyllo (and I'm not ambitious enough today to try them on my own).
posted by taz 21 May | 05:43
A girl who lived in New Orleans should remember Lemon Chess Pie.
posted by paulsc 21 May | 05:59
Hmmm... No, I don't remember Lemon Chess Pie from New Orleans. I've never had it, actually. It sounds delicious and looks super easy. Still, pastry crust. I might attempt it for myself and my Canadian/Greek upstairs neighbor with my easy pastry crust recipe using the left over lemons. Gots a lots a lemons.
posted by taz 21 May | 06:14
hmm... interesting: lemonade scones.

Also, I found a recipe for "foolproof" lemon curd; seems worth a shot.

Of course, now I realize I don't have any parfait glasses (or parfait spoons) or even clear glass dessert bowls, and my wine glasses are too small for doing a layered lemon curd/strawberry sauce/whipped cream kind of thing. Lemon curd on walnut cake would be yummy, but I also don't feel up to actually shopping for and baking a real cake. It's tough being a buttlazy good neighbor.
posted by taz 21 May | 07:32
Let me know how your lemon curd turns out! I have a recipe (somewhere) for a cake with lemon curd filling, white chocolate frosting and coconut! Also I make lemon cupcakes all the damn time, they're my absolute favorite so if you want that recipe I can make that happen for you! Just email! And maybe you could fill the lemon cupcakes with the curd and then top them with frosting!
posted by Mrs.Pants 21 May | 10:23
Taz, making a top notch, super flaky, tender single shell 9" pie crust is literally a 5 minute endeavor, using the Classic Crisco Pie Crust receipe. It's so ridiculously easy, you'll be tempted to put a pie crust under every meal you make for a month after you do the first couple of crusts.

For filled pies, like the Lemon Chess Pie, it helps if you keep a bag of weighting pebbles around to weight the crust while you pre-bake it (and prick it through with a fork in several places before you put the pebbles in it), but you can even use beans or lentils to weight it. Or, get frisky devil-may-care and don't weight it, at all, just prick the heck out of it.
posted by paulsc 21 May | 10:27
You have fresh, just-picked lemons? You have a bag of fresh, just-picked lemons? You have so many that you're going to have to give some away? *swoons at the very thought*

I also don't feel up to actually shopping for and baking a real cake

Damn. I was going to suggest a sponge cake layered with lemon curd and maybe some fruit. Does your bakery sell plain sponge or angel food-type cake? Filled cookies, maybe? How about using meringue shells for your curd/strawberry sauce/whipped cream thing? How about inviting me over so I can help eat make them? I've made lemon curd, and not only was it not too difficult, but the result was better than any store-bought stuff I'd ever tasted. It's like making custard from scratch, though, so you do have to keep an eye on it.
posted by elizard 21 May | 11:29
Mediterraneans represent! Over in Spain, I have the same "problem" every year. I make a ton of lemon curd (easy as long as you remember to keep stirring gently with a wooden spoon the whole time), give pots away to everyone I know, and what's left keeps in the fridge for at least a month before it starts growing green mold. I cook a store-bought pate brisee (pie shell) and then put a 1cm layer of lemon curd on top. 2-minute dessert. I also like to spread it on bread for breakfast. Mmmm.

But the real fun thing to do is make limoncello. Before I juice the lemons for the lemon curd, I peel them carefully, making sure that I only get the yellow zest and none of the white. Then I throw the peels in something alcoholic and let them macerate for 7-10 days. Then strain out the lemon peels, and add a syrup made from dissolving sugar in hot water, and my summer afternoon drink is ready.

In Italy they make limoncello with pure grain alcohol, which is illegal to sell in Spain. So I've tried making it with grappa instead, and it's pretty good. I also make some using Menorcan Xoriguer gin, and mix the result with tonic for something a little less lethal than shots of pure limoncello.

Summer's almost here!
posted by fuzz 21 May | 12:26
Limoncello sounds great, and didn't arsehat have some silky preserved lemon thing? Someone gave me a bag of organic lemons earlier in the year and that had me zesting them with a big knife before i got my amazing all purpose rasp thing, and i made up the amazingly awesome lemon coconut cake topped in chocolate.
Cakes and cupcakes are surprisingly easy, and i always shied from baking, thinking it was a strict and dense science.
Basically cream together your butters, eggss and sugars, and when that's all well incorporated, add your flavors, like vanilla and lemon zest and juice. Combine your powdery things separately (flours, baking powder,baking soda, salt) and add to your sugary flavor base.
Voila, your batter is ready to be baked into something.
If it's hot already, you could treat them all to lemon sorbet or some granita in lemon cups. It could go with the creamy ice milk kind or just pretty strawberry garnishes.
posted by ethylene 21 May | 15:37
I love lemon curd. Once in a while I'll buy a jar just to eat it with a spoon.

My mum makes a yummy cake with lemon pudding (the cooked kind, not instant) but I'm sure curd would work. It's just a pound cake, sliced in two on the horizontal (so it's like two slices of bread). She spreads pudding on the top of the bottom slice, raspberries layered on top of that. Then the top slice is laid back on the bottom slice. She puts more pudding on top in a thick line from one end to the other so it ends up dripping down the sides and then she puts a line of raspberries along that line letting the raspberry juice drip down with the curd. The juxtaposition of the sweet cake with the tart lemon and raspberries is truly awesome. She uses a mix for the pound cake but I'm sure you could make your own cake (or buy a ready-made) should you be so inclined.
posted by deborah 21 May | 17:13
Mmmm, I love lemon curd. What an excellent gift.
posted by theora55 21 May | 19:08
Oh, god, I'll never catch up. Yesterday afternoon a friend dropped by, so I didn't make the lemon curd. Also, my upstairs neighbor (young, Greek/Canadian) stopped in to give me some great organic vanilla yogurt that she found while shopping, and just now my downstairs neighbor lady brought me Greek meatball soup, plus stewed strawberries for dessert.

Today, I must make good! I'll let you know. :)
posted by taz 22 May | 05:39
I did. I made good. Yay, me! I made the Walnut Spice Cake from here, and the lemon curd using the foolproof method outlined here (recipe here) - and guess what? It really is foolproof! The lemon curd is perfectly, wonderfully wonderful.

Three pieces of cake with lemon curd topping went to neighbors across the street, two pieces to neighbors upstairs, one piece to neighbor downstairs, and two pieces for me, me, me! Plus extra lemon curd left over. For me, me, me!
posted by taz 22 May | 13:14
*sigh* I'll never win this arms race. Today I got cooked fresh greens and a plate of sliced honeydew from the lady downstairs, and gardenias from her bush from the lady across the street. Just waiting for my upstairs neighbor to wake up and give me something.

Hee. But I have half of a bowl of lemon curd left over, and it's so, so good. Really. Make it, you guys. If you follow the foolproof method, the hardest part is stirring it for 15 minutes. But so worth it!

For the record, I didn't put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the curd to keep it from developing a skin, 'cause the idea of heat plus plastic directly on it, absorbing plastoxics (I don't know, I just totally made that up) ooks me. And I also didn't put the hot stuff in the fridge to cool (and also bring the temperature up in my small fridge). Instead, I just let it sit out to cool, and stirred once in a while. It came out fine - no "skin".

And I still have lemons! I might try the limoncello and the lemonade scones. I might gain 10 pounds as a result of getting a free bag of organic lemons.
posted by taz 23 May | 04:38
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