Lemon is without a doubt my favourite flavour when it comes to dessert. I can’t get enough of lemon meringue, lemon tart, lemon sorbet. Lemon lemon LEMON! There are plenty of cake’s that call for lemon curd in them and there’s nothing like a slice of madeira cake with a blob of lemon curd on top. As I have madeira cake scheduled for some time this week, I thought I’d better have a crack at lemon curd in preparation. My mum is a massive fan of the stuff so I cooked up a big batch to package and distribute among my friends and family for taste testing…
I went to good old Robert Dyas for nice little square 200ml jam jars (£1.25 each) which are just the right size. They also sell jam jar packing and labelling kits which contain 24 waxed discs, plastic shrink wrap, elastic bands and sticky labels.
An essential piece of kit for making this, unless you want to make a right mess, is a small funnel for filling your jars. You’ll also need to sterilise your jars first too and if you don’t know how to do that you can scroll to the bottom of this post for the easiest way.
The lemon curd recipe I used was of course from Delia: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/lemon/lemon-curd.html
This recipe is so short and easy, and makes about a litre which is just the right amount to fill 5 of my little Robert Dyas jars. My recommendation for anyone using this recipe is to zest and juice your lemons ahead of time and leave in a bowl ready to use. this took a fair while and you don’t want to get anything on the hob until you have it all ready to mix in.
*TOP TIP* Although this is a Delia recipe, this is actually a Mary Berry tip. Once you have zested your lemons, cut them in half and put them into a bowl and into the microwave 2 at a time on full power for about 30 seconds. When you then go to juice them you’ll find it so much easier. The juice will run out easily without applying much pressure at all and you’ll get much more juice than you usually would by juicing without heating first.
So I juiced and zested my lemons into a bowl to start off with, weighed out my sugar, cracked my eggs into the saucepan, and chopped my butter before combining anything. Another thing to take heed of is that you should NOT fire up your hob until you have everything in the saucepan together. Whisk you eggs in a cold pan, off the hob. Scrambled eggs do not a good lemon curd make! This is also a very good reason to keep it on a very gentle heat all the way. You’d have a job on your hand scrambling eggs with that much butter sugar and lemon mixed in but you never know… The mixture will take a while to start to thicken (remember to use your cornflour at the first stage of combining the ingredients) and do not panic and add more cornflour or turn up the heat! At the very moment when you feel as though you’re never going to get the lovely viscous consistency of your dreams, it comes together and you’re ready to turn down the heat and simmer.
When you are transferring to your sterilised jars, make sure you do it real quick! With each pour the curb will continue to thicken in the hot pan, so what I did what transfer it in 2 batches to a measuring jug first but my last batch still ended up being a little thick and gloopy (perfect for sipped Scottish shortbread in though).
*WARNING* This lemon curd is so good you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.
How to sterilise jam jars – the easiest way I’ve found is the put them all in a large casserole dish with a lid (without their lids on and you can do this in batches) and pour water around them (not into them) so they’re about an inch deep. Now put on the lid and bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes. You might hear them clank around a little bit but don’t panic. The boiling hot steam should be sufficient in sterilising your jars – but remember THEY ARE NOW VERY HOT. You can buy jar tong for lifting them when they’re hot but I just used a pair of Oxo Goodgrips kitchen tongs and they did the trick just fine.