lemon curd (easter cake part 1)

Has someone ever said something to you super nonchalantly but it's stuck with you forever? There's a handful of sentences that have stuck with me like honey on a bear....and one of them was said to me by this really quirky personal trainer.

"You're really serious." He said to me once. "I can just tell you're a really serious person." 

Side note: This was forever ago, when mom and I decided to take up a personal trainer to get stronger. We'd been throwing medicine balls and making our muscles ache for a few months at this point. 

I laughed. "REALLY?" I said shocked and offended, "I think you're the first person that's ever called me serious."  

I paused. 

"I'm a Sagittarius? I can be really blunt? I don't really have tolerance for bull crap and I do have an uncanny talent for speaking up." I had to defend myself in some way. SERIOUS?! Come on! I'm FUN DANG IT. He shook his head and told me, "Nah, that's not it, you're just serious."  

I mean who is this guy?

That was the first time I realized he was right, I could be a very serious person.

I think of that accusation sometimes when I start writing a blog post.

Like the start of this one was me weeping over the deaths of innocent children in Syria but then I realized that you friends have probably already read all about it, and are crying with me and are probably already being proactive and helping and rehashing the sad stuff isn't going to do us any good.... unless we focus on the good we can do

See? I don't mean to be so serious. I'm never afraid to talk about the tough stuff, but I do find that being a new still very sleep deprived mom, I can lean more on the serious side of things lately.... I just want to scoop up all the children and hug them forever. You too?

Can we talk about lemon curd?

And the fact that I ate my husband's bouchon today?

Did that sound dirty?

Don't tell him I ate it. It's his fault for not eating it sooner and my fault for not having any self control... but mostly his fault because you can't just leave something like that lying around. 

Okay, lemon curd. I decided to split up the post for my Easter cake (aka my lemon curd filled buttermilk cake with vanilla bean buttercream) because it requires alotta butter and 3 different recipes. 

I KNOW.

And as I write this I am reminded of this awesome author who said she HATES when a recipe calls for another recipe... I was TOTALLY on her side until I realized, sometimes I'm her own worst nightmare... But, this cake is worth it.  

Stay tuned.

Love you friends. xo 

 

voluptuous lemon curd  

adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Makes about 2 1/2 cups, enough to fill one 8" or 9" cake or one 9" inch tart or to fill 10 eclairs

 Voluptuous is a word that reminds me of Jessica Rabbit, but appropriately used here because the amount of butter makes its super "bouncy in body"... and the author of this recipe used that word to describe it in the recipe notes and I'm like YES. 

bakers note: *I realize that it's a personality thing but when I read a recipe I try to decide if any of the steps are superfluous. I simplified this one just a tinge because who really minds lemon zest in their lemon curd? The original recipe calls for straining it out, but this homy ain't about to do that because #newmomlife. I say that because if the zest bothers you, strain it out with a fine mesh strainer before using. If you're making this for the Easter cake it can be made up to a week ahead of time, and kept in the fridge, tightly wrapped. And even if you don't wanna make the cake you need a good fool-proof lemon curd recipe right?

 

5 to 8 unwaxed lemons for  1 cup / 241g lemon juice, and 3 of lemons to be used for zesting

4 large eggs, preferably pasture raised

1 cup / 200g sugar 

1 cup (2 sticks) 227 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, preferably organic 

 

Zest 3 lemons trying not to remove any of the white part or the "pith". This stuff is bitter, nutritionally speaking it's actually really good for us, but it's bitter and we don't want it our lemon curd. 

Cut and juice these same zested lemons plus your extra lemons until you reach the required amount of juice needed for the recipe, 1 cup or 241g. (For me it took 4.5 lemons.)

Fill a medium sized saucepan with a little bit of water (about 2-3 inches). The saucepan needs to be big enough to place a glass bowl on top, but make sure the bowl does NOT touch the water. 

Bring the water in the medium sized saucepan to a gentle simmer - but don't put the glass bowl on top yet. 

While you're waiting for the water to simmer, bring lemon juice and zest to a boil in a different small saucepan. 

While you're waiting for your liquids to heat up, whisk eggs and sugar in your glass bowl (the glass bowl you're going to put over the simmering water).

Ladle about 1/3 of the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. We are tempering our eggs here or "bringing our eggs up to speed" aka making the eggs the same temperature as the hot liquid so they don't curdle. 

Slowly add the remaining hot lemon juice to the egg mixture whisking constantly until combined. 

Put this glass bowl mixture over your medium sized saucepan with the simmering water. (Remember the bowl should NOT touch the water!) The steam from the water is going to help "cook" our eggs and create a custard. 

Whisk this mixture faithfully until it gets thick - about 10-15 minutes maybe a little sooner or longer - watch it. Temperature it should be around 140°F or be able to coat the back of a spoon, and should leave a line when you run your finger across it. 

If you want to strain* your curd, strain it now. (See baker's note.) 

Whisk in the cold chunks of butter until incorporated. 

When the curd is smooth and butter disappears, cover the bowl with plastic wrap directly touching the surface so it doesn't form a skin. Keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for at least 3 hours before using, preferably chilled over night. 

This stuff lasts for up to two weeks if tightly wrapped and kept chilled.