16:41 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category ,

Lemon Curd and a shortcrust recipe

I had the kitchen all to myself all day today and had planned to make a big batch of lemon curd, and then have a bash at making fresh pasta for my dinner. Best laid plans and all that, it went out the window when 5 of us had scrambled eggs for breakfast, leaving me with just one lonely egg. What to do? Well, one jar of lemon curd was possible and what a joy it is. After my traumatic jam making experiment, I've decided that curds are as far as I'll go when it comes to preserving. Lemon curd is easy and super quick. I used Delia Smith's curd recipe, as I find her pretty reliable when it comes to basics. My rule of thumb tends to be to master Delia first, and then start experimenting. The recipe that I give here will make three 1lb jars but it's easy to adjust to make however much you like.

Grated zest and juice of 4 large lemons
4 large eggs
350g golden caster sugar (I used normal caster and it's fine, it'll just make your curd slightly neon as opposed to sunset yellow!)
225g unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small chunks.
1 level dessert spoon cornflour

Begin by lightly whisking the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients and place the saucepan over a medium heat. Now whisk continuously using a balloon whisk until the mixture thickens – about 7-8 minutes. Next, lower the heat to its minimum setting and let the curd gently simmer for a further minute, continuing to whisk. After that, remove it from the heat. Now pour the lemon curd into the hot, sterilised jars, filling them as full as possible, cover straightaway with waxed discs, seal while it is still hot and label when it is cold. It will keep for several weeks, but it must be stored in a cool place.

Thanks Delia!

So, unable to make my pasta, I was kicking my heels a bit. Now, there is a curse on the woman of my family. We make dreadful pastry but fantastic bread. Apparently this is common, people are generally good at one or the other. My Mum swears it is a personality thing, and we tend to be hot-headed and fiesty. This sort of personality works for bread as it can take some bashing about. Pastry needs a cool head, cool hands, and a cool kitchen. I was feeling fairly benign today, and the kitchen was definitely chilly! So I had a go and I only went and broke the curse! Maybe it was beginners luck, maybe it's all thanks to Delia but the pastry was fab, light and crumbly. I made a few tarts to fill with my lemon curd, and a few traditional Alice-style jam ones while I was at it. You're not getting a picture of the finished product because I overfilled them and managed to sand-blast most of the little jam tarts to the tart tin... opps! They were tasty, just not very pretty!

Here's the great shortcrust recipe from How to Cook in case you fancy a go yourself.

110g plain flour, and extra for dusting.
Pinch of salt
25g softened lard
25g softened butter
A little cold water.

Begin by sifting the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin. Now add the lard and the butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour. Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible. As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there.
Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling (I needed 2 tablespoons of water here!). Then discard the knife and finally, bring it together with your fingertips. When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean, if his hasn't happened, then add a spot more water. Now place the pastry in a polythene bag (or cling film!) and leabe it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Note: This will make 175g finished weight of pastry, which will be enough to line a 18 or 20 cm flan or quiche tin.

Me again! Once you've done the above, you're free to do what you like with your pastry. If you fancy having a go at jam tarts and hopefully being more successful than me! You need to roll it out nice and thin, use a cup or cutter to cut out 12 circles before laying one in each hole of a 12-tart tin. Fill with a little bit of curd or jam, (really just a teaspoon is enough!) The bake for about 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 200oc.

PS: Let them cool for a good long while before sampling your wares, molten jam on the tongue is never a good idea.


Post a Comment