My mother in law lives in the country and has a teeny wee garden. On that garden lives the most redolent lemon tree I have ever come across, yielding fruits that are ripe with juice and colour and fragrance. Every December as we drive down to get her to our home for the Christmas hols, we fill the car with lemons from that tree, and they have a lasting power that never fails to amaze me.
We use those lemons all through Winter, their rind serving us for tisanes - I love a hot lemon and ginger tisane with honey added for sweetness! - their zest for flavouring cookies and seasoning chicken, their juice for cakes and drizzles, you name it. As long as I have those lemons at my home, I'm good to go, as I know I can always rely on them for a lemon sponge, or lemon pie, if in need of a speedy dessert, but most of all, what I simply cannot resist cooking with them is lemon curd.
Lemon curd is like a drop of sunshine at the table, when the Winter months are dark and cold and drizzling with rain. It's like a pop of freshness, a herald for Spring, and whenever I feel I'm getting down with the lack of sunshine, it is a treat to just open the fridge, bring out a jar of that bright yellow sweetness, and lather a toast with that tart and sweet flavour. And I happen to have a lemon curd recipe that is so easy to make, and so foulproof you will not believe it. Because life ain't too short to make your own lemon curd if it happens to be better than store bought!
So for this recipe you'll need:
- 3 eggs
- 200 gr caster sugar
- juice of 4 lemons (125 ml)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of lemon zest
- 125 gr cubed unsalted butter
Start by taking out of the fridge your ingredients well in advance so they can be at room temperature when you start cooking. On a glass bowl that is heatproof, whisk the eggs, the sugar, the lemon juice and zest. Put a pan on the stove in medium heat with about 2,5cm of water and let it come to a simmer, then place the bowl over said pan, making sure the bottom of it does not touch the water. Yes, we'll be using the bain marie method, but don't worry, it'll be fine. Stir the mixture until it's hot and slowly add the butter, whisking untill it's well combined and incorporated. Turn the heat lower and let it cook, whisking constantly. You want to keep a low heat to prevent the eggs from cooking too fast and forming lumps. Once the mixture thickens up and becomes glossy, coating the back of a wooden spoon, it's done. Remove it from the heat and let cool. Pour the curd into sterilised jars - you can easily do this by washing them in piping hot water, drying them thoroughly and them placing them in the oven at 100º for about half an hour - and while it's warm, cover the tops with greaseproof paper and seal. Then just keep them in the fridge and enjoy, over those Winter mornings, when you're in need of a pick me up and a sunny dollop on your toast. They're great as Christmas gifts as well, so get cooking, you won't be sorry!