November 24, 2010

Meyer Lemon Curd

'Tis the season for holiday parties! Don't worry, this is not a Christmas recipe. I do not believe in starting any kind of official Christmas preparation until the day after Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving much too much to steal any of its attention (as you might imagine, Christmas ads that now begin in AUGUST drive me a little insane).

However, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a month-long whirlwind of activity for most of us, much of which involves (if we're popular enough) kind invitations into our friends' homes. No one likes to be the lump who shows up empty-handed, and I've heard rumors of hosts who prefer not to receive a bottle of wine from every guest. I'm still not sure I believe them, but it's best to be prepared.

Seriously, though, it's always nice to bring something you made yourself, and a jar of this lemon curd is perfect for a pseudo-last-minute hostess gift. It's thoughtful and delicious, and it doesn't take up much space (let's be honest, who has spare room in the fridge between Thanksgiving and New Year?). And what better way to thank your hard-working host, who has probably spent the last few days scrubbing, cooking, and promptly re-scrubbing, than a hassle-free breakfast treat the morning after the shindig? And if you don't tell them it took less than 15 minutes, I won't either. Unless I forgot to bring something, in which case all bets are off.

Pictured: not a good hostess gift.
Even for someone who "doesn't want" wine.

Since I'm hosting Thanksgiving myself, I actually don't have to part with my jar. I just happened to come home from the farmer's market last weekend with a bag of plump, sweet-smelling Meyer lemons that were begging to be turned into something lovely and delicious. The kitchen smelled divine as soon as I cut into the first one, and the final product is pretty fantastic. Pale yellow and not too sweet, it's a buttery, rich spread that I can't wait to slather on a biscuit for breakfast tomorrow (although so far, I have very much enjoyed eating it straight from the jar with a spoon). Somewhere between a creamy jelly and a tart custard, I plan on enjoying it both for dessert and breakfast. This hostess gift pulls double-duty. And of course, you can't really go wrong throwing in a nice cabernet for good measure.

Meyer Lemon Curd
From Gourmet, December 1999

What's the difference between Meyer lemons and regular? Meyer lemons are wonderfully fragrant and much sweeter, almost like a cross between a lemon and an orange. 
This is fantastic on biscuits or toast, and I bet it would be great swirled into Greek yogurt. Any other thoughts for simple pairings?

  • 1/2 cup Meyer* lemon juice (2 large lemons did the trick for me)
    2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest**
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 stick butter, roughly cubed

  • Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a metal bowl. Add butter. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not quite touch the surface of the water). Cook, whisking, until mixture thickens and is a light yellow color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl. Place a layer of wax paper or plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming as curd cools. 

    Refrigerate for up to two weeks. 

    *Meyer lemons not in season? Use regular lemons and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup.
    **Be careful only to use zest from the yellow, outermost layer of peel. The white pith is bitter and not delicious.


    1. this is going in our baked goods baskets this year. congratulations on giving yourself a delicious chore!

    2. Damn right it is. I want back for about a dozen 'just one more bites' before bed last night. So tasty!

    3. Also, Mary and Megan, I expect you to act surprised.

    4. eeee!!!! I was going to say that I will ALWAYS accept a bottle of wine because it makes my grocery bill smaller for the following week (I was going to put "weeks" but let's be honest...). But now I am NOT going to say that because I WANT LEMON CURD!!!!

    5. I just got back on here because I was thinking about this again.
      Will Meyer lemons be clearly marked at the store (since way up here North, we haven't had a Farmer's Market for 2 months!)? I am concerned about getting the wrong kind. I've never given much thought to my lemon purchasing!

    6. Yes, always. I would try Whole Foods; I'm not sure that I've ever seen them at Kroger. And if you can't find them (but want some), let me know and I'll pick some extras up at the farmer's market here before I come home.

      Aaaaand Megan: Now we all know why game night is happening at your house! Sneaky lady.

    7. Okay deal! I will check WF this weekend. I am busy planning which delicious goods I will be giving out this year because there are too many yummy looking things that I want to make and taste, but I'm afraid if I make them all for us I won't be able to fit into my pants.