Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Meyer Lemon Curd

My sister brought Meyer lemons from her tree when she and hubby Mark came over for Thanksgiving this year. They have since been sitting prettily in a white bowl waiting for me to be inspired. This morning, there it was - a hankering for lemon curd.

I feel pressed to preface the publishing of this recipe with telling you about my predeliction for desserts. I love them. Not candy, mind you. But cakes, pies, cookies, puddings, creams, ganache, cheesecakes, curds, the list goes on. The rub here is that I don't do well with sugar, to say nothing of fat. Well, who does? Maybe marathon runners. Or those especially tedious people who can take just one bite and be satisfied.

When low-carbing became the "in" diet, I'd finally found a way to control my intake of sugar, lower my intake of fat, and severely curtail my consumption of "bad carbs", which, in a nutshell amounts to anything white, while still satisfying my craving for tasty desserts. It works for me. Now the low carb craze has gone the way of so many diets (most likely due to tremendous amounts of money thrown into advertising campaigns to denounce it) and it has become passe to even use the phrase.

So, I won't. I'll just tell you that I try to cut down on sugar, fat, flour, dairy and processed foods (especially those nasty trans-fats) in my diet. It's not rocket science; too much of any of those things is not good for you.

Herewith is my version of lemon curd. Made with the Meyers my sister brought me. Thank you Cynthia!

Low Sugar, Low(er) Fat Meyer Lemon Curd
5 tablespoons of butter (I said "lower" fat, not "no" fat)
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
juice of same lemons (mine yielded 1/2 cup of juice)
1 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup Splenda/Sugar Blend

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over very low heat until all solids are gone. Immediately remove from heat. Turn burner to simmer. Off the heat, whisk in the egg substitute, blending quickly and thoroughly. Add the Splenda/sugar blend and whisk until combined. Slowly add the lemon juice and zest, whisking to fully incorporate.

Return pan to burner and over lowest possible heat cook, whisking constantly until the consistency of soft pudding, about 10 minutes. Now listen up. When I say whisking constantly, I mean it. You cannot take your eyes off this nor stop your whisking for even one nano-second. Your mixture will curdle or worse, burn. This is, of course, because you are cooking the curd right on the heat source, not in the double boiler that most recipes will tell you to use. I don't happen to have a double boiler (Santa, are you reading this?), and so use the direct heat source method, which is why I have to be so very attentive.

When the curd is done, remove the pan from the heat, give the curd a final stir and let it cool a bit in the pan. Pour it into your favorite tartlet shells, spread it between layers of your favorite cake recipe, use it to butter your toast, or give it away in pretty jars as gifts. Just keep it refrigerated. It will keep about 3 weeks in the fridge if you can control yourself. The above recipe makes a scant 2 cups of curd.

Don't mind sugar and more fat? Use 3 eggs instead of the egg substitute and a scant cup of sugar instead of the Splenda blend. For me, I'm going to try using Smart Balance butter substitute in my next batch.

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