I’m sure I’ve raved before about the incredible Meyer lemon tree that came with our house in California. It was legendary — we couldn’t keep up with its prolific production if we tried (see above). When people came over, they were given leave to pick at will, and take home as much as they could carry. We had come into this bounty unprepared, and we didn’t appreciate it as it deserved to be.
Since I’m a sentimental sort, I bought a Meyer Lemon tree a couple of years ago, with the intent to grow it in a container here at our new home. The winters here are just too cold for citrus, but if I could bring it inside during the colder months….
Well, so far that’s been successful, and the tree has found a great companion plant in what was once a tiny aloe vera — and is now a giant to rival our dog. Unfortunately, the deer have taken to chomping on the tree’s leaves, leaving it a bit worse for wear, but it still produced a prodigious harvest for such a small tree (maybe 2-3 feet tall). This year, I’m planning to replant it into a 1/2 whiskey barrel.
It would be easy to use up the lemons it produced willy nilly — a couple of teaspoons in this dish, a couple of squeezes over a salad, etc. — but I wanted this lemon harvest to get its due. So I found a recipe for Meyer Lemon Curd, intending that each time we taste it, we remember the beautiful buds and tree that gave that mellow flavor to us.
Recipe: Meyer Lemon Curd
based on a recipe by Erica of Northwest Edible Garden (Thanks, Erica, who I only know through your blog!)
- 18 tablespoons or 2-1/4 sticks of butter, softened
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon zest
- 6 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 cups freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 10 medium-sized lemons)
- Prepare 7-10 clean half-pint jars
- Start, if you haven’t already, by juicing the lemons. My Kitchen Aid food processor has an attachment that makes this very easy — maybe yours does, too. Remember the trick of rolling the lemon around on the cutting board with your hand first, to loosen up the juice. (Erica recommends chopping the rinds in a food processor and saving whatever you’re not using in this recipe, freezing the zest for future use!)
- Pour the juice into a cup to measure 2 cups total. (I had to supplement a little from some bottled lemon juice *the shame* and it turned out fine.)
- If you’ve got your food processor out, change to the standard metal blade. If you don’t, get it out.
- Pulse butter, sugar and lemon zest until combined, then run continuously for about a minute to fully mix the ingredients.
- Then, while the food processor is running, add the eggs and egg yolks. (I put them into a measuring cup with a spout so I could easily pour them into the food processor chute. Freeze the leftover egg whites — make sure to label the bag with the number of eggs — for making angel food cake someday.)
- Blend for about a minute, until the mixture is creamy, pale yellow and a little bubbly.
- Scrape down the bowl as needed to ensure the entire mix is fully blended.
- If you have a large enough food processor, add the lemon juice in and blend. Mine holds 11 cups and it was barely big enough.
- Pour the mixture into a large saucepan. If you can’t do the mixing in the food processor, pour both the mixture and the lemon juice into the saucepan, and whisk together.
- Turn on low heat and cook the mixture (custard!!!) until it is smooth and thickens, continuing to stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
- When it reaches 170 degrees (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon), remove the curd from the heat.
- Ladle it into the waiting half-pint jars — a canning funnel is very handy here. Make sure to leave 1/2 inch headroom for expansion if you plan to freeze the result. I vacuum sealed and froze mine.
- When it’s cooled a little, transfer to the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week in the fridge.
- For longer-term storage (in case your family can’t consume so much at once, or you aren’t giving it away), it can be frozen in the 1/2 pint jars. If you want to can, you should try this recipe or this one, as I can’t recommend canning a recipe that’s not specifically designed for canning.
- Enjoy! Delicious! (My youngest is on his 8th piece of toast with Lemon Curd this morning.)
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: English