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Lime Curd

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I made homemade lime curd as a contribution to our family Christmas dinner. It’s one of those things that’s a little fussy. (“Easy” versions can be found, and I’ve tried them. (1) I don’t think this is hard if you get organized, then follow the steps. (2) It’s worth it. (3) Cooking is fun, so a few more steps just make it more fun!)

NOTES:

  • This recipe can also be used to make lemon curd.
  • Only the hard colored outer layer of the rind is used for zest because the white pithy next layer is bitter. I use a citrus zester for this, but you can use a peeler or sharp paring knife, then chop the zest fine: you’re going to strain it out at the end. If your fruit is really ripe and starting to get soft, chilling them makes zesting easier.
  • The butter needs to be cold. Pull it out, unwrap it, cut into small pieces, then stick it back in the fridge until you’re ready for it.
  • The eggs, on the other hand, should be at room temperature. Put them in a bowl of very warm tap water to warm them quickly.
  • Instead of a double boiler (which I do have, but many people don’t), I use a large saucepan for the boiler and a wide stainless steel bowl for the upper cooking part. You don’t want to use aluminum. You also don’t want the boiling water to actually touch the bowl.
  • “Tempering” is a way of stabilizing eggs or chocolate so they don’t “break” (separate) when you add them to hot ingredients. You slowly ladle about a cup of the hot liquid into the eggs while whisking so the eggs don’t scramble; then you pour and whisk the eggs into the mix. If you get a little cooked egg that’s okay. Again, you’re going to strain it at the end.
  • Coating the back of a spoon (AKA “the gravy test) is when you dip a spoon into the liquid and it makes a clean channel when you run your finger through it.
    • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
    • Directions

    Bring water in saucepan to a full boil. Place sugar, lemon juice and rind in the bowl and place over the boiling water. Whisk gently until the sugar dissolves and this starts to look clear (about 2-3 minutes). Reduce heat to a low boil/high simmer. Begin adding cold butter 3-4 pieces at a time. Continue whisking gently but constantly, adding additional pieces as it melts. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and whisk until well combined but not frothy. Temper the eggs and whisk in, whisking lightly and continuously for 6-8 minutes. There will be a little foam which will reabsorb into the curd. It’s done when it coats the back of a spoon. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a heatproof non-reactive container and filter out the lime zest and any coagulated egg protein. When it’s mostly cooled, put some plastic wrap or wax paper on the surface so that a “skin” doesn’t form.

    Keep refrigerated for up to three weeks.

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