Last night, just when I thought the Spaghetti Carbonara Two Ways (with Ruth Reichl's recipe made with one egg and Pancetta instead of bacon and Mario Batali's Molto Italiano version with 4 eggs and Salumi's Guanciale) that I had prepared for supper earlier this week would be my entry for IMBB: Eggs, I changed my mind.
I wanted to try something different, something I have not made in a while using some of my favorite ingredients: citrus and eggs. An entry that would appeal to my sweet tooth, my love of preserving, and that would come in handy for breakfast and dessert this week, to share with friends and neighbors.
So, I woke up early this morning with a plan. I was to watch the Williams-Craybas match and then get busy cooking. As I was in the process of gathering my ingredients I noticed I did not have enough lemons (barely enough for the zesting) and my entry was to be Lemon Curd.
Normally, with plenty of time and energy to spare I would have walked the few blocks to the market in two shakes. But I was in a lazy mood. Any other day, I would have no problem getting in the car and taking a quick drive to Pike Place Market or Queen Anne for some last minute necessities. However, this morning that was just not possible.
The Seattle Fire Department had responded to a fire alarm coming from one of the lower floors of our building (a false alarm, thankfully).
Not only were the elevators out of commission during the investigation--way too many floors down for me to tackle with only a cup of coffee in my system-- but the garage door opening system was also out for the time being. Driving out of here was out of the question. Which meant that alternative plans, possibly even recipes, were now in order. What to do?
That's when I remembered about the Meyer lemons I had juiced and frozen earlier this year and that were sitting in our freezer, looking forward to being put to good use.
I had purchased so many of these beautiful Meyers--my favorite lemon of all-- at the market over the winter that I found myself juicing and slicing a whole bunch, putting them away for those summer days when the sight and taste of one of these babies was just the thing.
All of these lemon curd recipes called for either whole eggs or just the yolks or a combination of both. With the lemon dilemma resolved, it was a matter of deciding on which of the few tasty sounding recipes I had collected (Martha's included) I should use.
In the end, I opted for Alton Brown's Lemon Curd recipe. His method is not only simple but also renders a small batch (one pint). Alton uses 5 egg yolks, one cup of sugar, lemon zest and one third of a cup of lemon juice.
The rest is of the procedure is easy peasy: double boiler, slow simmer and the very slow incorporation, one at a time, of chilled butter pats. A last minute straining for better texture and consistency, pour into a sterile jar and you are done.
For my Meyer Lemon Curd I used a mix of --gorgeous and fresh as can be with intense orange colored yolks-- Araucana and Red Russet eggs from the happy feathered girls at Monteillet Farms in Walla Walla (purchased on Wednesday at Columbia City Farmers Market). The butter was purchased at Pike Place Market Creamery (Organic Valley) and the sugar used is my favorite kind for this type of endeavor, C&H Baker's Ultrafine.
Making this curd is not difficult but it can be a bit tricky. The key is to monitor the simmering water, keeping it a low temperature so as not to curdle the eggs. It also requires at least eight to twelve minutes of your time, carefully, evenly and slowly stirring the custard over a double boiler.
For me, the reward was the amazingly intense orange-yellow color of the finished curd. Almost uncanny, really. The combination of the beautiful Meyer lemon juice and the the bright egg yolks rendered a beautiful curd. And the flavor, as if not a day had gone by since I last saw my beloved Meyers.
Once cooled, earlier this evening, Mr. C and I enjoyed a spoonful of the curd as a dipping sauce to a few Ladyfingers. Later this week I'll try using the curd in little tartlets or perhaps in dark chocolate cups. We'll see.
In any case, if those happy free girls from Monteillet could see this beautiful curd, I am sure they would be very pleased to know what's become of their beautiful eggs and all their hard work.
Food Network posts show recipes for a limiteed time only. Best to save it to your computer ASAP just in case you ever want to try this recipe at home.