March 28, 2011
Dorie Greenspan is a francophile icon. She’s perhaps one of the most interesting women cooking French-inspired cuisine today and, having released her latest cookbook (Around My French Table) late last year, she’s also an inspiration in her own right. A part-time Paris resident, she focuses on sharing what real French people eat at home. We’re delighted to be able to share this post, which Shelby Larsson originally wrote for Eat Boutique. – Maggie
You may have noticed that we have all gone a bit nuts over citrus recently here on Eat Boutique. First it was Maggie’s Meyer Lemon liquor. Then Meagan shows up with these incredible looking Pomander Cupcakes. Can you imagine a better afternoon than hanging out with these two ladies around a kitchen table, sipping a homemade Meyer lemon cocktail and slowly unwrapping an orange, buttermilk and clove cupcake? With all these tart treats jumping off my screen, I just couldn’t resist the urge to add my own citrus creation.
Luckily, the perfect situation presented itself a few cold weekends ago. I was visiting my family up in Maine, doing what I typically do up there: cook, read, sleep, eat, repeat. My mom, intrigued by Maggie’s Meyer Lemon Liquor, had purchased a half dozen Meyer lemons at the local grocery store so that she could see what all the fuss was about. I knew immediately that I wanted to try making a batch of lemon curd with the Meyer lemons, and set off to find the perfect recipe.
After searching various websites and food blogs, I grew weary of my computer, cast it aside, and went outside to play on the frozen lake. When I came back inside, cold and sleepy, I snuggled into the couch and heaved my new Dorie Greenspan cookbook onto my stomach, balanced it up against my knees and flipped through those beautiful pages. As I read, I realized that Dorie had a great lemon curd recipe in there the whole time.
Around My French Table might be my new favorite cookbook. The photographs are beautiful and compelling: I want to jump right into each picture and dig deep into the chard-stuffed pork roast, moules marinières, and salted butter break-ups. The recipes are simple and geared towards unfussy meals at home or with a crowd of friends. The dishes come not just from Paris, but also feature traditional food from the different regions of France: Normandy, Provence, the Alps, and more. Like American food, French food is often influenced by other countries, particularly North African nations (tagine, couscous, b’stilla), Spain (chicken basquaise), and Italy (osso buco). Dorie gives great ideas about how to present, serve and store the food, as well as often offering up a bonne idèe about possible variations. Most of all, I appreciated how straight-forward and unpretentious these recipes are – French food often gets a bad rap for being over-the-top and complicated, but this is the food that the French cook at home. My kind of food.
Most lemon curd recipes that I’ve ever seen involve only egg yolks – but not Dorie’s. She describes in her head notes that she misread instructions during a cooking class and added four whole eggs to the recipe. Her mistake didn’t destroy the lemon curd, but instead made it a tad lighter in taste and texture, and less fussy, since egg whites can handle more heat.
I used Meyer lemons in this recipe, giving the curd a slightly sweeter and rounder taste than a traditional lemon curd. While you can use regular lemons here, I simply loved the Meyer lemon version and I share a few suggestions for how to use it after the recipe.
Meyer Lemon Curd
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup *
- about ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 4-5 Meyer lemons)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
* This was the only change I made- my parents’ kitchen didn’t have corn syrup, so I used a tablespoon of agave nectar here, which was a good neutral alternative.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (off-heat), whisk the sugar and the eggs together until blended. Whisk in the corn syrup (agave nectar) and lemon juice and then drop in the chunks of butter.
Put the saucepan over medium heat and start whisking, taking care to work the whisk into the edges of the pan. If your whisk is too big to clean the edges of the pan, switch to a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Keep heating and whisking the mixture without stop. After about 6 to 8 minutes, you’ll notice the curd starting to thicken- it won’t be very thick, but the change is easily perceptible. When the curd is thickened, and most important, you see a bubble or two burble to the surface and then pop immediately, remove the pan from the heat.
Scrape the curd into a heatproof bowl or a canning jar or two. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal, and let the curd cool to room temperature (it will thicken slightly as it cools). Chill before serving. The curd will keep up to three weeks, refrigerated.
Meyer Lemon Curd on Toast (French Tart)
A few thoughts on how to use your new handmade Meyer lemon curd:
- Top your morning piece of toast or English muffin with a bit of your own stock of lemon curd, and you might just feel like you have invited a ray of sunshine to your breakfast table. Want to ramp things up a notch? Bake some biscuits or scones to be vehicles for your lemon curd. Then invite me over to your place, please.
- Bake yourself up a special treat. Lemon curd is a fantastic filling for a gorgeous tart, mini tartelettes, or for lemon bars. I used this recipe as a guide with my batch of lemon curd, swapping out a bit of the flour for almond meal. It was a great end to a cold weather meal that needed a bit of brightness. I am also imagining using lemon curd as a base for this Blueberry Kuchen come summertime. Lemon and blueberries are one of my all time favorite super-tart combinations. My lips are puckering just thinking about it!
- Use the lemon curd as a pretty cake layer, inside a crepe, or as a filling in cookie sandwiches. I came across this adorable cookie in my lemon curd research, and I have big plans for it soon.
- Eat it right from the jar. Sometimes I think lemon curd might be the best when snuck straight from the fridge on the back of a spoon.
- Dorie Greenspan’s website
- Honey and Jam for amazing dessert recipes and beautiful photos and for more on lemon curd
- Fabulous recipes and gorgeous photos Cannelle et Vanille
Written by Shelby Larsson (aka Lady Gouda) originally for Eat Boutique and re-posted on the Hip Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
Written by Shelby Larsson