When life hands you a crate of lemons what do you make? I reflected on this question recently, since I was handed a crate with 100 lemons. They were leftovers from a middle school outing in which I participated as a kitchen assistant. Aside from spending time with my daughter and her class in beautiful Mendocino, this crate of lemons was a highlight of the trip. For me, 100 lemons are far more than leftovers – they are a gift.
The first recipe I tackled was Lemon Curd, one of my favorite food products. Lemon Curd is delicious as a garnish with fruit, meringues, cakes and breads. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and also freezes beautifully. I like to make my curd especially lemony, and manage to slip in an entire cup of freshly squeezed juice, as well as a heaping tablespoon of zest. I prefer to keep the sugar content on the conservative side so that the citrus can sparkle.
6 lemons down, 94 to go.
Makes about 2 cups
8 large egg yolks, whites reserved for another use
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
Combine egg yolks and sugar in a heavy noncorrodible saucepan and whisk together. Add sugar, lemon juice, butter and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. As the butter melts continue stirring until the curd begins to thicken. Do not let the curd boil; if it begins to give off steam, briefly remove pan from heat, stirring constantly. Once the curd thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon, strain the curd through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl and cool. The curd may be refrigerated up to two weeks, or frozen up to 2 months.