Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lemon Curd

I can make fresh pasta.  Have made my own Asian dumplings.  I keep jars of wine I'm turning into vinegar in the pantry.  Cured salmon to end up with gravlax. And it's standard procedure for me to add a bit of lemon juice to milk to make fresh ricotta. Homemade chicken stock? That's a no-brainer.

Still on the list for me to try making on my own: mayonnaise, mustard, sauerkraut, and Canadian bacon.

But I've always wondered which things are worth making vs. what I should buy.  I have no trouble using refrigerated pie crusts and, while I CAN make fresh pasta, I hardly ever do.  The stuff from the grocery is just fine.

So how excited was I to run across a book that helps guide me through the decision process? Make the Bread, Buy the Butter includes more than 120 recipes for homemade foods like cheeses, condiments, cured meats and bread products.  Even more valuable, author Jennifer Reese shares her experiences and analyses in whether they are worth it or not--both in terms of cost and hassle factor. 

I won't spoil the book by listing which way she sends you on a variety of recipes, but I will share that I have been convinced to make lemon curd from this day forward.  No reason to spend a lot of money at the grocery store; I made a batch with some Meyer lemons and it was sublime.  It's delicious in tiny phyllo cups as mini-tarts.  Or a spoonful mixed into plain yogurt for a flavor boost.

Lemon Curd
Makes one cup.
From Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs

In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk together all the ingredients.  Continue whisking until the curd is thick and shiny, about 10 minutes.

Pour the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to strain out any bits of zest and egg.

The curd will keep about a week, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

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