For Christmas I’m making Cannoli the way its made in someparts of Italy with pistachios and citron and- NO CHOCOLATE (infamia!) -but the other night I made lemon curd to use in tartlets to take to a get together. It’s so tangy, sweet but not killer and velvety smooth. Tomorrow night I’m making short bread tartlets and fill it with the curd. If you like lemon curd, I have to say once you make it, you will never go back to buying it. For one thing , it’s hellishly expensive but the stuff in the jar isn’t near as creamy as it is when it’s fresh. I looked at various recipes from here and Great Britain and they’re all pretty much the same and got a lot of hints but the one I used (and tinkered with) is from the Barefoot Contessa- because I liked her tart recipe.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-curd-tart-recipe/index.html

HINTS :    To make lemon curd without having to strain it, a great hint is to beat  the softened butter and sugar with one egg at a time until its creamy and keep the stove eye on low heat- no higher than 4 and stir the heck out of it. Use enamel coated pot and wooden or silpat spoon- nothing bare metal that can react with the acid of the lemons.

I also added 2 tsp cornstarch to aide with the thickening (a hint from a UK site).

Ingredients

4   lemons, at room temperature  (if you can get your hands on Meyer Lemons- it will be mana fit for a the gods!)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar  (substitute 1/2 cup of sugar for Splenda if you want- never tell the difference)
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (or 4 large eggs and one egg yoke; I like the cage free and they are large only)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Directions:

    Remove the zest of the lemons with a mandolin  or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice, strain the juice,  and set the juice aside (I used about 2/3) . Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add one cup of the sugar if you’re using Splenda or all the sugar if not. Process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (I used my Sunbeam hand mixer) , cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

    Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan or enamel coated  pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat. Put some Saran Wrap over it to keep it from getting a skin. It will keep nicely for weeks in the fridge (assuming you or your friends don’t gobble it up in a day :o)  )

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