Yeah I know, lemon curd fever.... This is the third time I tried making lemon curd and I've come to realize some handy and useful hints which I would love to share with you all. Making lemon curd to spread on toast, making lemon curd for lemon curd ice creams and making lemon curd to be used as tart filling are all very different.
When making ice cream, the lemon curd is best cooked over a double boiler. In fact, once it's slightly thickened, you can stop cooking it and use it in the following step of the ice cream when it has cooled down.
For making lemon curd to spread on toast, it is also recommended to use a double boiler. I'm gonna ignore what big chefs and great pattiserie baker tell you. Whisk like mad dog and aerate it, it doesn't matter if it bubbles up and all because this way allows you to reach the desired 175°F a lot more quicker. And you'll soon realise the bubbles somehow all disappear and you'll get a thick, gooey mass in the matter of seconds. Stir nonstop and vigorously with a whisk until it starts thickening up. Then use a silicone spatula and keep scraping and stirring the sides and the bottom of the bowl non stop. You can stop once the temperature is reached. You can use lemon curd made such way to fill up tartlet cases since you won't be slicing them, rather you'll be popping them straight in your mouth.
As for making lemon curd for filling up an empty tart case, I have come to realise using direct heat is the best and NO, you will not get scramble eggs if you do it correctly. I didn't measure the temperature but it's very very thick. Sometimes, I prefer my tart to be zest-less. The zest makes it not as smooth as it should be. What I'll try next time, rub the fine zest with the castor sugar. Add lemon juice to it and cook the zest with the sugar and lemon juice. Filter that before tempering it with the egg mixture. This method is so quick and most importantly, it gives you neat crust and fills up the case very nicely. You need overnight chilling though so be patient and wait.
This recipe is adapted from Baking Bites, both the crust and the filling. I've modified and changed it to suit my tart tin size and Aaron likes more crust and less filling, I guess he's just not that into lemons and tangy stuffs.
Sugar Cookie Tart Crust (makes one 8 inch tart tin with false bottom)
3 tbsp castor sugar
55g butter, softened until it reaches room temperature
70g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 200°C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the remaining ingredients and run fingers through them until mixture is moist and crumbly. Plop everything onto the tart tin and press it up the sides of the tin, ensuring the bottom is even. Bake it for 15-20 mins until golden and cool it.
Lemon Curd Filling
8 tbsp castor sugar (I'll definitely use 5 tbsp only next time especially if I'm using Meyer Lemon)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp butter (45g)
Combine sugar lemon juice and zest in a small stainless steel pot and bring to boil to dissolve sugar. Once dissolved, at this stage, you can choose to strain it or just leave the zest in it. Combine the eggs and yolks in a large bowl and briefly whisk it to combine. Add in the lemon syrup one teaspoon at a time. Keep doing this and feel the temperature of the egg mixture by touching the bowl. When the temperature are about the same, you can gradually pour in more syrup at one go, just remember to whisk it nonstop, at all times. This process is called tempering, easier done that said, really.
Return all the mixture back into the pot and back on the stove. Cook it over medium heat. I started off with low and nothing happen and I couldn't be bothered and use medium heat all along. It didn't scramble. Just whisk nonstop and after 5 mins or so, it thickens up so quickly that I have to remove it from the stove from time to time and scrap the bottom and sides with spatula just in case it's scrambling but I was definitely worrying too much. Once very thick, remove it from the stove and whisk in 3 tbsp butter slowly. Just use a knife and cut a small cube in it one at a time. Stir until dissolve and repeat again. It's just 3 tbsp anyway, it will not take you forever. Again, easier done that said. Pour it into a bowl with a cling wrap touching the surface. Cool it for 15mins or so before pouring it into the tart tin.
You'll be so surprised nothing sticks to the cling wrap and there's no skin layer forming. Gently whip it around with a spatula and pour everything into the tart tin. No leftovers for me, it all went in just nicely. Chill overnight and serve.
If you like lemon curd tart, you should try this recipe. Good luck and I might make lemon tart very soon. Yes, lemon fever!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Posted by Quinn at Sunday, October 11, 2009