This is the first time for many, many years that I've made lemon curd, but it was well worth the 20 minutes at the stove, stirring a gently heating bowl.
Searching for a recipe, I was amazed at all the variations of what should be a simple recipe. I was using the remains of a bag of 7 lemons bought 'reduced to clear', when I just had only needed the zest of 2, so didn't want to use any recipes using just egg yolks - there's no point making leftovers when you're using up leftovers! I finally decided that the crucial part of the recipe was enough eggs to set the lemon juice, and the butter and sugar was more arbitrary, so I started with the simplest recipe I found - one egg, one ounce (28g) of butter, and 4 ounces (110g) of sugar to every lemon. I had found recipes using double that amount of butter, but that seems excessive to me.
My lemons were quite small, but my eggs were large, so I used 5 lemons, only two of which still had their zest. I only had 350g sugar left in the bag, so decided this would be enough, as I like my lemon products quite tart. Then I just chopped a block of butter in half, giving me roughly 125g.
So, 125g butter was cut into small pieces and put into a large bowl with the finely grated zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 5, 350g caster sugar and 4 eggs. The bowl was placed over a pan of simmering water and whisked constantly until the contents had thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
This took about 20 minutes, but would have possibly been quicker if I had used a larger pan, so that the bowl sat deeper into it and was nearer the simmering water. I didn't get any of the possible problems - curdling or threads of egg white setting quicker than the yolks. I put this down to the very slow heating and the fact that I was using a balloon whisk and not a spoon.
The curd was then poured into sterilised jars and sealed with screw-top lids while still hot. Stored in the fridge these should keep for a couple of weeks.
I liked the texture and taste of the curd - smooth, just holding it's shape, not too rich and buttery, but felt it wouldn't have hurt it to be a little tarter - next time I will use more zest.
As you can see, I tried a little for breakfast this morning, but I don't usually eat much bread, so don't want to succumb to this temptation too often. If any of you can recommend baking recipes to use up the lemon curd, that would be fantastic. I would like to be able to incorporate it into something baked, such as a cake or cookie bar, rather than use it as a filling for a layer cake or pie, as the Chief Tester isn't very fond of sharply lemon flavours, even though I am.