Thursday, 3 May 2007

Discovering Lemon Curd

Doing grocery shopping is still kind of an adventure for me - at least here in Australia. Even after one and a half years in this country, I still find some edible things that aren't familiar to me. Or I finally figure out what a familiar thing is called around here. For example, it took me a while to realize that "apple sauce" is no sauce at all but the name for pureed apple compote - something I almost thought wouldn't exist in Australia. Not that it's hard to make it myself but to have a jar of apple sauce in the pantry is not too bad at all.

However, there is a down side to all those discoveries. A long time ago standing in the midst of a normal supermarket, I had come to realize that there is some sort of immanent order in Australian supermarkets that is completely different from German ones. It still happens that I'm walking the aisles back and forth, looking for a certain ingredient (of course looking at the spots where it would be in German supermarkets) - and not finding it at all. After I had eaten the jar of apple sauce a friend gave to me when he left Australia, I haven't been able to buy another one. It's not at the spot for preserved fruits, it's not at the spot for spreads, it's not at the spot for cans - it seems that I definitely will have to make my own apple sauce in the future. And did I mention that it's completely useless to ask any shop assistant? If you're lucky, they will narrow your search down to "look in aisle 2 or 3 but it could also be in aisle 8". If you're lucky, that is.

Anyway, there are also some happier discoveries like lemon curd. I was just looking for some jam and right next to it, I found nice little jars with either pale yellow or flashy yellow content. The label "lemon curd" wasn't familiar to me at all and "lemon butter" was even more confusing. Feeling adventurous, I bought a jar. I wasn't really sure what to do with it but its vicinity to jam and peanut butter pointed at some sort of spread. Well, what shall I say - I tried and loved it! Soon after I had gone through this first jar, I decided to make my own having read frequently that homemade lemon curd is very much superior to the store-bought variety. After checking out various recipes of fellow food bloggers, I quickly settled on this recipe from A Cat in the Kitchen. The changes I made were using only lemons (didn't have any limes) and omitting the zest (the lemons weren't organically grown and I wanted my curd to be completely smooth). Dagmar hadn't promised too much, this recipe was truly foolproof. The resulting curd firmed up nicely without any curdling whatsoever. Its tartness is noticeable but not overwhelming and can stand up against any kind of bread. And when I'm biting into my toast with homemade lemon curd, I can almost pardon the lack of logic in Australian supermarkets.


Nora B. said...

Beautiful photos, Eva! lemon curd can also look so elegant in a pre-baked homemade wholemeal crust pie shell (a.k.a lemon curd tart). How long do you think that you can store the curd for?

Eva said...

I think the original recipe said that three weeks in the fridge is fine. Although mine won't last that long - half of it went straight into a meringue frosting. (I had made lemon cupcakes for Katherine's birthday using the new mini-loaf pan. Unfortunately, after the lemon curd success, I got over-confident and juggled technique as well as ingredients and therefore wasn't overly happy with the little cakes. However, soaking them in cointreau and tons of lemon curd meringue frosting made them palatable...)

Eva said...

PS: Do you have a good recipe for such a pie crust? I'd love to try it!

Nora B. said...

Hi Eva,
I do have a good recipe for that in an old American cook book but I only took one cook book (a bred making one) with me when I moved to Sydney (hoping to buy more books when I got here). I'll try to get my sis to e-mail that particular recipe to me.

As for your lemon mini cakes, what you described sounds delicious. I am sure that it turned out better than you think because we do tend to be perfectionistic when it comes to baking! ;-)