Last Summer, I had at my disposal four glorious months off. Aside from catching up with friends I don’t see often, and sleeping in past 5:17 am, my goals for the sabbatical included daily workouts, and a home-cooked dinner at least four nights a week. There’s no need to confess the outcome of either of those goals right now.
Eventually, I missed having a schedule, and began volunteering at two kitchens that serve the underprivileged in the community. Outside of the required number of servings of protein, fruit and vegetables that have to be provided for meals, there was dessert to be thought of. The center didn’t have a disposable income, so we often had to get innovative with the ingredients available. One day, we received a donation of pre-made tart shells, and happened to have extra lemons on hand. Another volunteer quickly seized the opportunity, and the result was a potion equally sweet, tart, thick, silky and delicious! A hit all around, I had to make them again!
Meet lemon curd tarts.
The curd makes a great and simple dessert, and was really nice atop a toasted (and buttered!) blueberry English muffin this morning. It would be divine between the layers of a cake, inside of a crepe, or drizzled over fluffy pancakes. It’s acceptable by the spoonful as well.
Materials (makes about 1.5 cups)
zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
pinch coarse salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into several pats
1. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Add sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice, and whisk to combine. Transfer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet, and place on medium heat.
2. Bring to a gentle boil and continue to cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick, about 5-10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, stir in butter (a pat or two at a time), and whisk slowly until curd is smooth and silky.
4. Cool and store in the fridge.
5. To assemble tarts, fill each homemade or store bought tart shell or Phyllo cup with about a tablespoon of curd, and top with a fresh raspberry, blueberry or dollop of whipped cream.
The next time life hands you some lemons, get in the kitchen and make lemon curd!