Monday, August 15, 2011
Eat. . . When life gives you lemons. . .
. . . make lemon curd! And little lemon cakes/muffins!
I was half way through making lemon curd yesterday morning when that well-known saying sprang to mind - "When life gives you lemons. . . make lemonade!" Saturday was indeed a lemon of a day. To quote Sonny Jim: "It sucked!" But it was purely coincidental that I started making lemon curd on Sunday morning - just a need to do something useful, over which I had control (albeit tenuous at the point where you add cold beaten eggs to hot melted butter, lemon and sugar!) So an enjoyable morning of lemoniness was to be my diversion yesterday. . . first I made the lemon curd and then when faced with all the lemon rind residue in the bottom of the sieve, I knew it was far too tasty to throw out, so made little lemon cakes instead!
Here's how. . .
12 oz caster sugar
6 oz butter, chopped
4 large eggs
First, attempt to sterilise your jam jars by heating at 150C in the oven for 15 mins or filling with boiling water.
Put the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter in a ceramic or glass bowl over a pan of simmering water (or a double boiler if you happen to have such a thing!) Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.
Stir it until the sugar dissolves and butter melts. Add a bit more juice if you think it tastes too sweet.
Beat the eggs in another bowl until well combined. Now for the scary bit - add a little bit of the hot mixture to the eggs, stir well then add the whole lot to the hot lemon, sugar and butter mixture. At this point you need to hope desperately that it won't curdle. If it does, try plunging the bowl into cold water and stirring like crazy.
Assuming all goes well, and it doesn't curdle (I've made it three times in the last year and it's never curdled yet!) stir it constantly until the mixture thickens. It will thicken more in the jar so don't expect it get to the final texture. This will take between 5 and 20 minutes depending on how fast you are heating the mixture (ie how daring you are being!) but DON'T LET IT BOIL!!
Once your bowl of lemon loveliness has reached the desired thickness, pour it through a sieve into a jug.
Next, pour the sieved lemon curd from the jug into your sterilised jars and screw on the lids. I did a double mixture and this is how much it yielded. . .
Store in the fridge and eat within 2-3 weeks. Delicious on bread, toast, scones, as a sponge cake filling, inside lemon muffins, on ice cream etc etc. Good luck making it last 3 weeks!
You will be left with a lot of lemon rind and maybe a few small eggy bits in your sieve. . .
Of course, you could just put this on your compost heap, but I couldn't bear to part with all that lemony loveliness, so decided to dig out an old lemon cake recipe from one of my handwritten recipe books of years gone by. I put the mixture in muffin tins instead of a cake tin though and omitted the lemon syrup glaze, as that suits us better for packed lunch treats straight from the freezer.
175 g/6 oz margarine
175 g/6 oz caster sugar
4 tblsps milk
175 g/6 oz SR flour
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon (or ALL your lemon curd residue from the sieve!)
1 tblsp icing sugar
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
Cream marg and sugar till light and fluffy then gradually beat in lightly whisked eggs and milk. Lightly fold in sieved flour and lemon zest (or lemon curd residue).
Place in prepared tin and bake for 30 mins, then slightly reduce oven temp and bake for further 30 mins or until cake is golden brown, firm to touch and beginning to shrink from sides of tin. Mix lemon juice and icing sugar and pour over cake straight away. If using muffin tin cook for 15 - 20 mins only.