Serves: Makes ~2 jars
Preparation time: ~40 minutes
Calories: ~51 per tbsp of 15g
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, so the saying goes. Well – “life” didn’t give me lemons, the market did (and it was more a case of “giving” in exchange for money), and I’m not making lemonade, I’m making lemon curd, but I prefer that anyway! Before I launch into that though I’m going to show you a bit of what I did last weekend. The weather is great, spring is here and it’s time to start decorating the balcony. I have a gooseberry bush which I bought some years ago which has been been on the balcony through frost and snow! I never thought it would make it this far – I tend to have rather bad luck with plants but it’s a hardy thing and now that it’s got a bigger pot I’m hoping for a small crop of gooseberries this year, as I had two years ago. We bought some small herb plants – sage, rosemary and thyme (just missing the parsley for a Simon and Garfunkel sing-along!). Previously we’ve bought coriander and basil but the coriander seems to go to seed before I have a chance to use enough every year, and the basil I always use too fast! We normally like to buy seedlings of vegetable plants, but this year we even thought we’d give a try at growing some things from seed, so we got some red spring onions and beetroot which we’re going to try and grow – I’ll keep you updated on the progress of those!
All this is for the kitchen balcony – for the bedroom balcony we have some more floral plants. Some pretty, delicate plants with small flowers in white and purple which look a little like violets or pansies… their name was beginning with “Cor…” something, I forget now, alas . I’ll post some photos of those once they’ve developed a little more, and in addition to these I made up some boxes with geraniums which add a lovely splash of green and pink. Living without a garden one needs to be rather more experimental and inventive – growing things, or trying to at least which might not always grow in pots. I managed to grow a number of aubergines and cherry tomatoes last year in very shallow pots – this year I’m going to try and grow some potatoes in a pot!
Anyway, enough plants for now – on to today’s recipe! I’ve always adored lemon curd, which incidentally, is sometimes called lemon cheese! For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a delicious, glossy, lemony spread, with the consistency of quite soft butter. It was a common sight on English tea tables in the late 19th and early 20th century, though at this point usually made in small quantities. These days it can be made in larger quantities without worrying about conservation thanks to the wonderful invention of refrigerators and doesn’t even have to be limited to lemons. Other citrus fruit can be used or even apricots, peaches and so forth.
Curd can be made very cheaply – two good jars can be cooked up for the price of one of these small “gourmet” jars that you might buy from a store. Not only that but it’s pretty fast to make as well. Never buy lemon curd again – give this a try – you’ll love it! Additionally, once you’ve grated the zest from, and juiced, the lemons, you can then throw them in some water and boil them up on the stove for 30 minutes or so – it’s a wonderful, natural air freshener
- 180g Caster Sugar
- 120g Butter
- 4 Eggs
- 3 Lemons
You’ll also need
- Canning Jars
- Start off by grating the zest from the lemons, taking care not to grate up the bitter white pith.
- Mix the grated zest with the sugar and then set aside.
- Squeeze the juice from the lemons, being sure to remove as many lumps of flesh as possible, and of course any stray seeds. Transfer to a bowl with the eggs and whisk well.
- Wash your Canning Jars well and preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the jars – and lids, if heat-proof – into the oven and allow to sterilise for 15 minutes while you prepare the curd. Mix the sugar and zest into the juice and eggs and place the mixture into a pan. Fill a larger pan with water and set onto a medium heat. Place the small pan inside and add the butter. Heat the curd through, stirring gently. Make sure the water underneath does not boil or dry up – once the butter has dissolved the curd will slowly start to thicken up. Continue to stir slowly until the curd has a custard-like consistency which will coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour into the still warm canning jars and lid up. Allow to cool before transferring to the refrigerator to finish fully setting. The curd will last about one month – serve on bread or as a cake filling and enjoy