Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemon Curd

             On lazy afternoon I peeked into the refrigerator and realized the only thing in there, besides condiments, was half a pan of corn bread. I did mention that this was a lazy afternoon, so I warmed up the corn bread and while it was delicious, it needed something. I scoured the jars of exotic marinades and tubes of sauces and came across a half eaten jar of lemon curd. I had never had lemon curd before but my beau seemed to like it. I spread the creamy concoction on the corn bread and took a small bite. It was instant love and I was left wandering how could I not have known about this tart-sweet jar of heaven. 
            When I returned home to my own empty refrigerator I knew that lemon curd would be on my shopping list. Soon after wandering down the baking aisle I spotted the exact same brand of lemon curd that had turned me out and out of habit I picked up the jar and turned to its ingredients list. Ugh, why did I have to go and ruin a good thing, it's true; ignorance is bliss. The decadent spread was made with egg, heavy cream, and the neighboring brands were no better; featuring other undesirable ingredients like animal based gelatin and butter. I knew this could not be the end of my new love affair with lemon curd. There were so many dishes I wanted to slather it on; pancakes, waffles, toast, fresh fruit, and of course, corn bread. I was able to rekindle the food flame by using coconut milk instead of heavy cream and corn starch instead of gelatin or eggs as a thickener. The result was a sweet tooth satiating tryst that only felt naughty. 

Here's what you need:

  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup unbleached organic sugar (or sugar replacer) 
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

 Here's what you gotta do:

1. In a medium sauce pan combine the coconut milk, lemon juice, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla. 
2. Heat pan at medium heat for 2 minutes, stir occasionally to break up any lumps. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or until the mixture is thick and lump free. 
3. Once the mixture has thickened remove from heat and add the zest.
4. Let the lemon curd cool for 2 minutes before serving.

* Store remainder in refrigerator for later use. Tastes good warm or cold!

Snazzy red grater I picked up for $1
Lemon zest can be made by using a zester or a vegetable grater with a fine grating plane (aka little holes). Before juicing the lemons run them across the grater lightly to remove to top yellow layer of lemon peel. You don't want to get to the pith (white layer) of the lemon, this part is bitter and will make your curd bitter rather than tangy. One large lemon will make about a tablespoon of zest.

                   Life is Delicious...Go Taste it!

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