Friday, December 14, 2012

Meyer Lemon Curd & Meringues


Meyer Lemon Curd & Meringues
*******
Not that you need to serve these together, but why not make meringues
to use up the leftover egg whites?
If Meyer lemons are available, this is a great way to enjoy their milder flavor.
If you use regular lemons, increase sugar to about ¾ cup.
This is delicious with strawberry shortcake, tarts, on scones, crêpes, pancakes, toast, etc.
Experiment with different fruits to make other fruit flavored curds.**

½ C Meyer lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
½ C sugar (3/4 C if using regular lemons)
2 large eggs
5 TBL butter, unsalted cut into pieces
zest from two lemons
*
Meringues (look up recipe in this blog's search bar)

  1. In mortar and pestle grind zest with some of the sugar to release the oils, if you want a stronger flavor.  Otherwise, just mix all ingredients in top of a double boiler (I just use a stainless steel bowl set on top of a saucepan of boiling water.  It works fine).
  2. Add a couple of inches water to bottom of double boiler (or saucepan).  You do not want water to touch the pan on top.
  3. Bring water to a boil, and set the top pan of the double boiler on top of boiling water and whisk constantly until the curd thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain into container.  Allow to cool.  Refrigerate for up to one week.

History of lemon curd:  In late 19th and early 20th century England, homemade lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea (as an alternative to jam), and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts. Homemade lemon curd was usually made in small amounts since it didn't keep as well as jam.  Curds are different from pie fillings or custards because they contain a higher proportion of juice and zest, which gives them a more intense flavor.   Also, curds contain butter so they have a smoother and creamier texture than both pie fillings and custards; both contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening. Finally, unlike custards curds are not usually eaten on their own--at least no one will admit to it.

**Other flavor variations also exist using citrus fruits such as limes and nectarines, passion fruit, mangoes, and berries such as cranberries or blackberries.  Literally hundreds of commercial variations are sold globally.

The Meyer lemon is native to China. It's thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was introduced to the U.S. in 1908 by the agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the U.S. Dept of Agrigulture, who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China.  It is commonly grown in China potted as an ornamental plant. The fruit is yellow and rounder than a true lemon with a slight orange tint when ripe. It has a sweeter, less acidic flavor than the more common lemon (Lisbon or Eureka are typical grocery store varieties) and a fragrant edible skin.

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