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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Finger Licking Stuff

After my morning swim and a lovely chat with Nick - he shared views about his passion for Tai-Chi and Cold water swimming - I went to "Wendy's Kitchen" for another cooking lesson.

This time, Lemon Curd was on the menu. It was actually me who suggested to Wendy as far back as the summer to have a go at making lemon curd. Wendy is already renowned for making delicious jams, scones, cakes and marmalade of course! But what about adding lemon curd to her repertoire?!

Well, she had a go in the autumn and we both agreed that it was a touch too sweet and that the lemon flavour didn't comes out as much as it could.

Wendy investigated further, found another recipe - one that puts more emphasis on the lemons and bases the process on the amount of lemon juice and not the number of lemons.

So, today she had another go (under my watchful eye!) at producing home made organic lemon curd.

As expected, getting out of the water after swimming two lengths at 5 Celsius my body felt as tingly as ever and, as I was driving over to Wendy, I wondered whether the lemon curd we were about to make would be as tangy as the lido water was tingly?!

Enough swimming, let's get going - we've got all the (organic) ingredients ready

I grated the zest of three unwaxed organic lemons while ...

... Wendy squeezed the juice out of five large lemons which produce ...

... the desired amount of 200ml of lemon juice which Wendy added to the zest by using a sieve to make sure no little pips would make their way into the glass bowl.

then 125 gr of unsalted butter was cut into small cubes and ...

... added to the bowl

next Wendy also added 400gr of granulated sugar

She then sat the glass bowl onto a saucepan of boiling water
to gently melt the butter and sugar

I gave it the occasional gentle stir until the sugar and the butter had totally melted and

.... the butter added a kind of glazed effect to the texture

meanwhile, Wendy cracked four eggs to make up the desired amount of 200ml

which were beaten (up!!) by Wendy - some recipes include only 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks instead of 4 entire eggs - but as long as you beat the eggs well so that the egg white is well mixed in and ...

... you use a sieve to pass the eggs through (to make sure no loose egg white finds its way into the bowl) you'll be fine using 4 whole eggs! and you won't be waisting 2 egg whites (unless of course you want to end up making meringue later too!)

here you can see the loose bits that stay in the sieve

and now it's time to get stirring .. for about ... at least 20 minutes but more like ...

... 25 minutes! patience is needed

just to make sure that this part, the most delicate part of making lemon curd, goes according to plan, it's best to use a sugar thermometer - at the time we put it in it showed 60 Celsius

but remember: keep stirring - gently!

the temperature crept up to 70 celsius quite quickly but then hovered for a while until it reached about 75 - it should not go higher than 80 Celsius - at 75 Celsius you could already observe that the texture was getting much firmer - Wendy did her spoon trick again and one could see that the back of the wooden spoon was covered in a thin layer (of lemon curd) and when moving the spoon in the bowl it produced thick ripples ... DONE!

time to decanter the lemon curd into glass jars which Wendy heated up before (so to avoid the glass shattering under the heat of the lemon curd)

not much left in the bowl :) - you can see the texture a bit better now

squeezing every little, last bit of lemon curd into the final jar! By now I had licked the back of the wooden spoon : Delicious!

Wendy tells me that one should't make too much lemon curd at a time as it only keeps about four weeks (in the fridge) - little does she know that I could eat this by the spoon and that a jar that size could easily be gone in no time at all :)

Thank you for this marvellous treat Wendy and for sharing in detail your method of making this finger-licking lemon curd!

Make sure you catch Wendy and Nick on the boo too :) !

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