We have a winter storm warning, which in Virginia (go ahead and laugh you folks in New England and the upper Midwest) means 4-8 inches of snow. So it’s a good day to stay in, especially given the recent arctic cold, and cook. Inspired by the last few mouth-watering entries in the sustainability blog Snail of Happiness, I whipped up some lemon curd this morning.
Lemon curd is something you should never buy. Compare the cost of a jar in the store with these ingredients: juice and zest of one lemon; 1/2 cup of sugar; 4 tablespoons of butter; 1 beaten egg. Add in the fact that the whole process, from zesting and juicing to heating, stirring and bottling takes about 15 minutes.
Here is what you do. 1) Zest a lemon and squeeze out it’s juice. If you want perfectly smooth curd, you can leave out the zest. This also works with limes and oranges, though you would need to adjust proportions for the extra juice you’d get with an orange. 2) Add the 4 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar to a pan and heat it slowly. 3) Beat 1 egg.
4) Now this is important. The liquid resulting from the melted butter, sugar, and lemon juice should not be hot enough to cook your egg when it’s dropped in, or you will have lemon curd with chunks of egg white in it. Not a crisis, but not desirable either. 5) Return the pan with the beaten egg to the heat and whisk gently until it thickens. Remove from heat and decant into a sterile 1/2 pint jar. No boiling required, but do put it into the fridge.
Of course, you may feel the need to whip up some buttermilk biscuits to combine with the lemon curd. Think how comforting that would be after shoveling snow!