If there is one fruit that immediately conjures up images of summer, it has to be the lemon. From cloudy lemonade, served in large dewdrop-clad pitchers, to tubs and cones of refreshing, zingy lemon sorbet being eaten by the seaside. Even its colour makes us think of the sun; from Mediterranean shores to lazy English summers and village cricket matches.
What could be better spread on a doorstep of homemade sourdough toast or a fluffy English muffin, for afternoon tea, than a large dollop of lemon curd. Unfortunately, this deceptively simple preserve seems to fall into the ‘I bet that’s really complicated’ box for most of us, and we are content to settle for something bought from a shop. However, once you have tried this simple recipe, that contains nothing more than lemons, eggs, sugar and butter, you won’t look back. And, when I say it is easy to make, it really is. The only downside is that, because it doesn’t contain any preservatives or chemicals, it will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Oh well, you’ll just have to enjoy it and make some more. This recipe makes about 200g, or 1 jar.
- 2 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
Place a clean Kilner or preserving jar on a baking tray, into a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 150ºC. Once the oven is up to temperature, turn off and set the jar and lid aside to cool.
Zest and juice the lemons and place in a double boiler, with the sugar and butter. Place over a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Pour in the beaten egg and stir continuously with a small hand whisk until the mixture begins to thicken like custard. Take away the guesswork and the risk of the curd 'splitting' by using a cooking thermometer. The curd will thicken at 82ºC.
Remove from the heat and plunge the double boiler into a bowl of iced water to cease any latent cooking activity. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and pour into the warm jar.
Seal the surface with a wax disc, close the lid and leave to cool.