In the spring, until I can eat desserts made of just-picked rhubarb, I eat lemon curd. The color of sunshine with a bright sweet and tart flavor, creamy homemade lemon curd just fills me with optimism and makes me feel happy.
I love lemon curd with shortbread. And it’s delicious with fresh berries. Those perfect pairings were my inspiration for Shortbread Spoons of Lemon Curd and Cream. Click here to get my recipe.
For several years I’ve been using a recipe for lemon curd that I love. But when I was in Portland, Oregon a couple of weeks ago, I took a cooking class from Nitockrees (Nito) Tadros Carpita, owner and principal instructor of the Seasons of Provence Cooking School in France. I joined nine other students. We were all members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and were in Portland to attend the annual conference. Nito shared several recipes with us that day at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, including her recipe for lemon curd. While most lemon curd recipes require separating eggs, cooking in a double boiler and straining the pudding-like mixture, Nito has come up with a way to produce wonderful lemon curd in no time flat. No separating eggs, no double boiler or sieve required. It’s my new favorite lemon curd.
Before class began that day, students at Le Cordon Bleu had made tiny tart shells.The tarts were filled with cooled lemon curd and then topped with meringue.
Nito explained to a Le Cordon Bleu student that the meringue must touch the tart shell all the way around the crust so that it seals the lemon curd. And, if you happen to cough, the meringue won’t slide right off the tart. It will adhere to the crust.
The light-as-a-feather meringues were torched and looked like golden marshmallows ready to sandwich with some chocolate between two graham crackers.
I should show you a a couple of other dishes we made during the class.
Warm Eggplant Salad with Mint and Goat Cheeese
Seared Tuna with Tomato Tartare and Pistou Sauce
In the last week I’ve had lemon curd with shortbread, berries, scones and ginger biscuits. And then I layered it with creamy honey-flavored Greek yogurt and pureed organic strawberries. If you have some Shortbread Spoons, dip them right into a parfait. And if you don’t, just spoon it up into your mouth with a teaspoon from your silverware drawer. As soon as I can make rhubarb sauce, that will replace the strawberry puree in these parfaits.
These pretty treats in a glass make breakfast very special. They are a snack worth waiting for. And they are the perfect something sweet to end an evening meal.
If you’re planning a trip to France and want to take in a cooking class or two, go see Nito. Until then, enjoy her lemon curd. Nito measures some ingredients by weight. I know there are many who don’t have kitchen scales, so I’ve converted her measurements for butter and sugar to tablespoons.
Nito’s Lemon Curd
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons superfine sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cut 6 tablespoons butter into small chunks. Set aside. Whisk superfine sugar and eggs until light in a 2½-quart saucepan. Add grated zest and lemon juice. Whisk briskly by hand over medium-low heat, adding pieces of butter, one at a time, making sure the butter is melted before each addition. When mixture comes to a boiling point and just begins to bubble, it will be thickened, similar to the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be stored in refrigerator for a week.
To make Little Lemon Curd Breakfast Parfaits:
Place organic strawberries that have been rinsed, stems removed in a blender or food processor. Add some superfine sugar to the strawberries and a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Puree. Taste and add more superfine sugar if needed. In small juice glasses, layer honey-flavored Greek yogurt, lemon curd and strawberry puree. Can be made the day before serving and refrigerated overnight.