Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lemon Curd from Trader Joe's via England

Why is it that the English make the best lemon curd, but I've never seen a lemon tree in England. I've seen some lovely lemon trees in Italy but have never seen lemon curd made in Italy.

I suppose it stands to reason... if you're in England and you somehow find yourself with a big supply of lemons you would want to find a way to preserve it.

Whereas if you're in Italy with a tree in your garden that drops lemons nearly all year round, even in the winter, you may not care that much about preserving it.

And if English you find it necessary to satisfy your sour tooth with the refreshing taste of lemon whilst in the middle of winter, you may find yourself inventing a way to preserve it. "Necessity is the mother of invention" as they say (whoever "they" are). And what better way to preserve it than with some sugar, butter and egg yolks... a.k.a. lemon curd.

I hear that the English spread it on their toast but I haven't tried it that way yet, mainly because it doesn't really appeal to me. I love it best by just taking a little spoonful from the jar and enjoying it straight up. I also enjoy it on blueberry pancakes. What's also nice is to mix it in low-fat plain yogurt and add blueberries and walnuts.

I actually have a lemon tree in my own backyard and can never consume the lemons fast enough. I most often use them by squeezing the juice in my water, especially in the summer. I'm usually dismayed when I look for recipes that require lemon because usually the recipes call for the zest and maybe 2 tablespoons (at the most) of the lemon juice - for a cake, for example. How can I possibly use up the 10 lemons that just dropped on the ground today if I only need 2 tablespoons for one big cake?

I'm thinking home made lemon curd is a possibility but this recipe by Alton Brown calls for 1 whole stick of butter to 4 lemons (plus a whole cup of sugar) - that ratio still doesn't maximize the lemons enough, and the amount of butter and sugar I would have to consume is too much. But I bet my friends, family and neighbors would love it... so I think I'm going to try it one of these days.

If you don't have a lemon tree and you're craving that sweet, smooth and mouth puckering taste of lemon curd, I highly recommend the one that Trader Joe's sells.

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