Spread A Little Sunshine

Whoa! Life is galloping apace, so swiftly that months have passed without a blog post. I’ve been auditioning, working, cooking (even catered some parties for a dear dear friend, hip hip hooray!), performing a little, hosting family (providing me the opportunity to vacation in my own city), and have found myself knee deep in spring time with something VERY important to share with you.

Spring is indeed here in sunny California, and if the requisite blue skies and blooming flowers aren’t indicators that the season has changed (they aren’t), just look for the MEYER LEMONS! SQUEE! Image

I am beyond nutso for them. I didn’t really know they existed until we discovered some in our bestie Martin’s backyard last year, the lucky jerk. They’re thin skinned and tart (like me!), but with a bit more of a sweetness than a regular lemon, an almost fresh mandarin orange flavor (Just! Like! Me!). I fell so in love with them that last season I made as many lemon-related recipes as I could think of. I also cooked my way through a variety of lemon curd recipes to discover this one by Pierre Herme, my very very favorite, by far. It’s a delicious citrus dream, creamy rather than opaque and it even freezes well, so you can pull it out for a springy hit of seasons past when winter weather approaches. The ingredients are the same as a regular lemon curd, but Pierre Herme puts a little English on the order of operations that changes the game and makes this curd sing.

What to do with this stuff? Make a tart, lemon squares, incorporate it into your homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, spread it between a bisected angel food cake then top with strawberries and cream, spoon it onto scones… my recent favorite is to whip some cream and mix a generous amount of Meyer lemon curd into it, resulting in the most beautifully decadent, yet light and refreshing lemon mousse that you could ever hope for. And yes, of course you can use regular lemons if you can’t find Meyer. It’ll be delicious either way, don’t worry.

I’ve followed this recipe to the letter and nothing could be better. Give it a whirl if you’re a lemon guy or girl and I promise, you won’t be disappointed. It’s sunshine in a jar.

MEYER LEMON DREAM CREAM CURD

By Pierre Herme, from http://www.seriouseats.com posted by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

Zest of 3 Meyer lemons (a microplane works a treat)

4 large eggs

¾ cup Meyer lemon juice (approx. 5 lemons)

2 sticks plus 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp. (Yep. It’s a lot. Hush. Just do it.)

handy tools:

Reamer

Candy Thermometer

Strainer

Blender

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Preparation:

1) Bring a large pot of water to simmer.

2) Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers- it feels kinda nice, hunh? Smell it. Dreamy! Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice.

3) Place bowl over pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water!) and heat while constantly stirring (this is to avoid scrambling the eggs). Your arm is probably gonna get a little tired- we’re aiming for 180 degrees, so have about ten minutes worth of non-stop stirring stamina and patience. The thin, foamy texture will change into a thicker, creamy consistency that will keep tracks in it if you run a finger through.

4) At the desired 180 degrees strain the mixture into the blender. Let it cool for ten minutes, stirring every once in a while. Chuck the strained zest into the garbage bin.

5) Turn the blender onto high and add the room temperature butter a few tablespoons at a time until completely incorporated. Keep blending the cream for another couple of minutes until it’s light and a beautiful buttery yellow (stop the blender intermittently if it starts to overheat, no harm done).

6) Scoop the curd in a dish, place plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate for a couple of hours, because it tastes even dreamier when it’s cold. (try not to lick the blender blade, and if you do, don’t blame me if you cut yourself. But honestly, I challenge you not to lick the blender carafe clean. This stuff is irresistible).

7) Use it up within four days (good luck to it lasting that long), or freeze for up to two months.

*1 recipe will fill a tart shell. A half recipe mixes well into a 250ml container of heavy cream that has been whipped lightly with a little sugar and vanilla for sunshiney meyer lemon mousse.

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