Last night, as I was recuperating from a horrible bout with what I can only assume was a 4-hour stomach bug (if such a thing exists), my husband walked in with a lemon the size of his hand. Now, my husband isn't exactly a wee man- he's 6'6 (think Michael Jordan- sized)- so any piece of citrus that fills his hand is just monstrously huge. In a hushed voice, I asked "Where did you get that?" Imagine my shock and awe when he said with a wry smile "Oh, there's more where that came from, baby" and produced a box piled high with gorgeous yellow lemons. Really, it was breathtaking, especially for someone who used to get oranges from her grandma's trees in Florida and is now living in a veritable citrus wasteland.
Apparently, one of his coworkers went on vacation to Arizona and visited her parents who have citrus trees on their property. She brought back dozens of lemons, oranges, and a few grapefruits for whoever wanted them at work. Of course, most people only took a few; Yves, however, knew better and picked up at least 30 lemons, 15 oranges, and a couple of grapefruits for me, lest he face a sobbing mess of a wife if I were to learn he passed up on free fresh citrus. What can I say- the man knows what makes me happy.
So what does one do with such a citrus cornucopia? I, for one, start with lemon curd! Oh, there are lemon tarts and bars and cakes and pavlovas to be had, but curd... that's where it's at for me. It's fantastic as a cake filling, or in thumbprint cookies, or just straight from the jar at 2 a.m. (hey, don't judge!). I also like to give it as gifts to my friends. This recipe is for quite a large batch, but you can scale it down to suit your needs.
Lemon or Lime Curd
(From Toba Garret)
8 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 lbs (648g) granulated sugar
zest of 10 medium-large lemons or limes
12 fl oz (360 ml) fresh lemon or lime juice (about 10)
1 1/2 cups (345g or 3/4 lb) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1. Beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar together in a stainless steel bowl until well combined. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and butter.
2. Cook in a double boiler over simmering watter, stirring constantly until the curd starts to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. The curd is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Strain immediately and cool over an ice bath.
3. Store the curd in a plastic container covered with plastic wrap directly on the curd (no air should get to the top surface). This prevents a skin from forming. Cover with the lid. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: If 10 lemons or limes didn't give you the required 12 oz (360 ml) of juice, squeeze more lemons/limes. You can also substitute oranges to create orange curd.
Storage: This curd will last refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. It will last 2 to 3 months if frozen.
Yield: 5 1/2 cups (1.3 L).
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