A couple of months ago, Kim from Rustic Garden Bistro offered to send me some meyer lemons, freshly picked from her backyard tree. Having never tasted the revered fruit, I quickly accepted her gracious offer.
The lemons were so lovely, smooth skinned and highly fragrant, much more of a perfume-y scent than normal lemons. They’re also a touch less acidic. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them, so I squeezed all the juice into a measuring cup and froze it.
Then life got in the way and I starting baking other things and promptly forgot about the juice sitting the back of my freezer. Oops!
So two months later, I’m finally getting around to making something with those tasty lemons (which is why the light in these photos is drastically different, it was bright and sunny the day I got the lemons, and it’s cloudy today).
I wanted to utilize the juice fully, to get the most flavor from the lemons themselves. The best way I could think of to do that was curd, spread on warm scones. Let me tell you, the combination of the tangy curd on the fresh from the oven scone was something akin to heaven.
If you’ve never made or tasted curd before, I urge you to try it out. It’s velvety smooth, and both tart & sweet. It’s also deceptively simple. I was scared of making it for a while, but when I did, I was surprised at how easy it was. It’s just a lot of whisking. The recipe below gives instructions for making the curd with meyer lemons or regular lemons!
From David Lebovitz
(I doubled this recipe)
Makes 1 cup (240 g)
1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar (or 1/2 cup, 100 g, if using regular lemons) 2 large egg yolks 2 large eggs pinch of salt 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cubed
1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.
4. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.
5. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.
from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook via smitten kitchen
(this recipe has the brilliant suggestion of pressing the dough into a cake pan to form a perfect circle for cutting. I had one of those “why didn’t I think of this before” moments when I read that. It works perfectly.)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. (it definietly took me more than 12 pulses to get the rid sized butter bits!) Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper.
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Thank you, Kim, for the lemons!