Saturday, May 7, 2011

Oh, Lemon Curd!

Lemon Curd with Meringue
Did you know that May is National Egg Month?  Oh yes, it is.  Seems a little strange that National Egg Month would be the month following Easter, but that's when it is.  The egg industry must take a huge sales volume dive in May.  Do you think National Egg Month drives additional egg sales?

Well, hearing that it is National Egg Month made me stop and think about just how versatile the egg is.  It can stand alone as a main dish and is a critical ingredient in many recipes.  So, I thought it would be fun to focus on some egg recipes this month.  Today my focus is on desserts where eggs are the star ingredient.

The first egg dessert I want to talk about this month is definitely all about the egg, but it also highlights another ingredient that is my obsession these days, lemon.  Oh, how I'm loving anything lemon.  So, what could be a better way to marry the egg with lemon than with lemon curd? 

What's that, you are agreeing with me?  Let's make it just one step more wonderful by adding a meringue topping shall we?  Let's highlight the deliciousness of a fluffy meringue on top of a pot of lemon curd.  Sounds good.  Let's go...
Lemon Curd Ingredients

Lemon Curd and Meringue
Print Recipe
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Let your lemons warm to room temperature because they will release their juice more easily.  After squeezing, strain the juice to remove any pulp. 
Grate your lemon zest before squeezing the lemons for juice and just before using because the zest will dry out if it sits too long.  
In a stainless steel heavy bottomed pan (or in a bowl over simmering water), whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent curdling.  Cook until the mixture becomes thick, like sour cream.  It will be 160 degrees F.   It takes about 10 minutes. 
Remove the lemon mixture from the heat and immediately pour it through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted.  Add the lemon zest and let cool.
Mix in the Zest and Butter
The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover it immediately with plastic wrap touching the entire surface of the curd so a skin doesn't form and refrigerate for up to a week.

Meringue Ingredients
The Meringue Topping
  • 3 egg whites ( used eggs whites I had frozen)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Bring the eggs whites to room temperature.  In the bowl of your electric mixer with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy at medium speed.  Add the cream of tartar. 

Beat until the egg whites begin to thicken.  Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Meringue with Stiff Peaks
Go ahead and take a taste (unless you are pregnant or elderly).   Mmmm, good!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Pour the warm lemon curd into individual ramekins.  Spoon the meringue onto the lemon curd being sure to fully cover the surface and out to the edges of the dish.  Make some pretty swirls and peaks.

Lemon Curd with Meringue Ready for the Oven
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 8-12 minutes, until the meringue is browned.  Remove from the oven, cool and serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nice, huh?  They taste even better!  Do you love lemon?  Do you love meringue?  This is your dessert.  Go ahead and celebrate egg month.  You'll be glad you did!  

You might also like these other lemon recipes:
Lemon-Lime Cupcakes
Lemon Yogurt Cake


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