We’re finally moving on into the beginning of summer, and Lynn and I cannot seem to get enough of all the fruit flavors that are coming into season now. As much as we love rich, decadent meals and desserts, the instant that we feel those warm days upon us, we are searching for a way to get our sugar fix with a lighter dessert that won’t weigh us down. Only natural that we started eyeing the fruits at our local farmers market to help us build that perfect dessert that is light, textured, juicy, and just the right amount of sweetness. We found that a great way to give our desserts more flavor is by adding a curd; whether it’s the classic lemon curd, or an exotic mango or passion fruit curd, it still brings our dessert game to a whole other level because a true lemon curd at once zesty, tart, fresh, and sweet – everything that we’re looking for! And it’s amazingly versatile as well – we’ve added dollops to a plated dessert, used it as a filling for a layered cake, spread it into our tart shells, and even kept a jar of it on hand to lather on our breakfast muffin. Lemon curd is wonderfully simple to make, but it just requires a bit of attention and finesse. With just a few simple ingredients such as egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest for a touch of bitterness, sugar, and butter – and we’re in business! Here are some important points to keep in mind when making a curd successfully:
The key here is whisk the yolk, lemon juice, zest, and sugar together in a bowl that is set over a pan of gently boiling water. Do not cook in a saucepan that is being heated directly.
Keep whisking! It is very important to continue whisking your ingredients so that the heat gets evenly distributed and the egg yolk doesn’t cook.
Check for consistency. The curd must be kept over heat until it thickens. You’ll see bubbles forming on the surface of the mixture. It will be ready when it can coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the bowl from the heat before adding butter! We have found that if we plop the butter into the bowl while the contents are still being heated, the curd will wind up being too thin and won’t set the way a true curd should.
If making a passion fruit or a mango curd, it isn’t enough to just use the juice of the fruit as we would with a lemon curd. To really achieve those beautiful exotic flavors, puree the flesh of the fruit and the juice, and add a touch of lemon juice for a bit of tartness.
And that’s it! Once cooled all the way through, you should have a delicious curd that can be spread, piped, or jarred for later use. Summer in a bottle!