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« Homemade chèvre fresh from the farm... | Main | A trip to our local asian grocery and the feast that followed.... »
Sunday
Apr032011

Homemade lemon curd and raspberry tartlets.... the taste of sunshine

 

 

I'm a sucker for lemon curd.  If sunshine had a flavor it would certainly be lemon curd.  This very versatile "condiment" can be spread on scones or bread, dolloped on a pound cake, fill a tart shell, or my favorite, simply licked off a spoon....  just another vehicle for the smooth and creamy sunshine.

Commercially made lemon curd doesn't keep well without preservatives and often has thickening agents, so homemade curd is the best way to go.  Fortunately, it is very simple to make and tastes so much much better than store bought curd.  

 

 

In late 19th and early 20th century England, homemade lemon curd, also known as lemon cheese, was traditionally served with scones and crumpets for their afternoon tea in lieu of jam (oh so British). Lemon curd was also known to fill their cakes and tarts as a truly scrumptious treat.  It was special and made in small amounts because it didn't keep as well as jam.

 

 

I like to use Meyer lemons (when my neighbor's tree is producing fruit). However, unless you live in parts Florida, Texas, or California, don't look for them in your local grocery store because they don't ship well due to their thin skins.  Actually, Meyer lemons are a cross between a true lemon and a Mandarin orange and are slightly sweet.... less pucker.  Truth be told any luscious lemon will fill the bill when it comes to curd.

 

 

The above photo is the point in the recipe when I added the creamed butter to the sugar and lemon zest that had already been minced together in my food processor.  Honestly, if I didn't have tarts to make and photograph for this blog, I would have probably stopped there and grabbed a spoon... butter, sugar and lemon zest... nirvana!  

I have also made key lime curd (fan-key-tastic) with this recipe and plan on trying orange curd and grapefruit curd.... so stay tuned....

 

 

Lemon Curd 

Zest of 3 lemons 

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

4 eggs

1/2 cup lemon juice

one pinch kosher salt

Remove the zest of three lemons using a carrot peeler.  Put the zest and the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the sugar and zest are finely minced.

In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Add the sugar/zest mixture and beat together.  Add the eggs, lemon juice and salt and mix together until thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture into a pan and cook over low heat while stirring constantly for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the curd starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and cool.  Using a rubber spatula and a sieve, push the curd through the sieve and into a bowl.  This makes it very smooth.  It will continue to thicken as it cools, especially in the refrigerator.  If you are storing in a bowl, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the curd so it will not form a skin.  Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  

pate sucrée - basic sweet pastry dough 

(this recipe makes dough for two 10” tarts or more tartlets)

300 grams flour (2 cups) I like to weigh my flour for more accuracy

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar

14 tablespoons unsalted butter - chopped

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ice water

In a food processor add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse until combined. Add the chopped butter and pulse until the butter is in small pea sized balls. Add the water and pulse until the dough just comes together. 

Put the dough out to a floured surface and make into a large mound and cut in half with a pastry scraper. I like to weigh the halves so that they are equal. Put each half onto a square of wax paper and form into a disk. Wrap with the paper and chill for at least one hour. 

If you are freezing at this time, then wrap again in foil and freeze. Let dough defrost in the refrigerator before use.

Roll out dough on a floured surface. If you are using a 10” tart pan roll the dough into a 13" circle.  (For tartlets roll the dough out to a 13” circle and cut the dough into smaller circles with a knife using the tartlet pans as a size guide. Go 1” larger than the size of the pan)  Place dough into a 10" tart pan and fold the overhang inward and press gently into the sides. Do not force or stretch the dough because a thin spot may cause the filling to leak. The dough edges should be a little bit higher than the side of the tart pan to help prevent shrinkage. Prick the bottom of the shell with your fork. Press a piece of foil (12"x13") into the edges of the shell and cover with the foil completely touching and covering the entire shell. Chill for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Completely fill the foil covered shell with pie weights or dried beans. Put the shell into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove beans and foil. Brush the inside of the shell with a beaten egg white to prevent leakage from small cracks. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes and bake until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack.

The shells are ready to fill.

 

 

If you'd like to post a comment, I'd love to hear from you!  Please click here. 

 

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Reader Comments (25)

You've inspired me! I agree on the 'taste of sunshine'; color of sunshine too! I made some orange curd with oranges sent to me by snow bird relatives wintering in warm climates, and it was divine. The taste was so fresh and 'soft', no sharpness from additives or preservatives. I love your prompting to make other citrus curds. Would never have thought of grapefruit. Your photos cannot be beat!

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBoulder Locavore

This looks so good! I love the combination of rasberry and lemons :) Yum!

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDee D.

OK, that's it! You officially sold me on making lemon curd. I've never done it before but now I definitely want to. Love it paired with the raspberries. Just gorgeous!

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFresh and Foodie

I absolutely love lemon curd and usually make a double batch so I can eat half of it straight away with a spoon. Your photos are lovely!

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynda

LOVE the color! These are soooo beautiful! Bookmarked to try soon!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

I just discovered lemon curd recently. What an awesome thing and what a great way to use it!

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Kitchen Noob

I totally agree with you : This looks like a taste of sunshine.
I love home made lemon curd too. Pairing them with raspberries sounds like a brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing

Lisa, what can I say? Another brilliant post and a recipe that is just mouth-watering with these raspberries and Meyer lemons....
Time for some rewards coming your way:
http://madaboutmacarons.com/archives/2338
Cheers!
J xxoo

Wow, I'm another you've convinced to make lemon curd...your photos are super!!!! What delicious looking tarts :)

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

I love lemon curd too and certainly agree if sunshine had a flavour it would be lemon!

I love your gorgeous little tartlets. So sweet and delicious!

Whooo ... I can feel my taste buds tingling just by looking at these yummy, zesty, lemony pictures!

04.6.2011 | Unregistered Commenterping

Those lemon curd tartlets look fantastic! I seriously love the raspberries atop. :-)))

Jill - thanks for the awards!! Very nice indeed!
Lynda - a double batch is truly wise.... it goes too quickly!

I am also a sucker for lemon curd. My husband isn't nearly as keen on it - doesn't mind it. So when I make lemon curd, I pretty much get it all to myself. Heaven! I haven't made it many times but I remember thinking it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and definitely not so difficult that I should ever buy it from the store again. Our lemon tree has huge green lemons on it. Can't wait until they start to turn sunshine yellow.

04.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterGenie

I couldn't agree more-the sunshiney yellow of lemon curd can't help but put a smile on the face. And home made curd is so easy and so much better than commercial I agree!

The taste of sunshine is right! Just looking at these darling tartlets makes me feel warm and summery. Our friend David loves anything lemon and I've been making him lemon surprises for years now... I look forward to springing these on him, he'll go nuts! Love the recipe, especially the homemade lemon curd. You're right he commercial ones, even the supposedly gourmet ones all taste like chemistry to me as well. Great photos, too.

Wow, just found your blog and I feel so lucky! Tarts are my absolute favorite kind of dessert! You inspire me to attempt some of your wonderful creations! Looking forward to your next post :)

Goodness, those photos are beautiful! Your tartlets are so dreamy and pretty!

xx,
Tammy

04.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

I must admit I've never tried lemon curd, but I have a friend who raves about it. I can see why, when I look at your pictures.

Kristi

04.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristi Rimkus

yummm this tartlets are so pretty!
I love the lemon curd...
Have a good day! :)

04.9.2011 | Unregistered Commenterclém'

Those are indeed very sunshiny and they look and sound simply delicious!

04.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoyti

These tarts look simply scrumptious! I love lemon curd, too, so I'll be trying this recipe. Have actually been checking into the possibility of growing a Meyer Lemon Tree as a houseplant!

05.1.2011 | Unregistered Commentercherylk

Divine! I will certainly be making this. Lemon curd is such a favourite of mine. I've recently been making loads of lemon tarts. I adore it (just as I adore meyer lemons...). Loved the history about lemon curd too!
Heidi xo

These tartlets look delicious! Thanks for sharing.

08.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEftychia

xlpharmacy this tartlet is the most strange recipe I've ever seen, do you have more ?

11.21.2011 | Unregistered Commenteriyfige
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