In my opinion, the best thing about the winter months – aside from having a million & one excuses to make soup – is the return of the citrus season. Oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruits… every year I await these juicy orbs of liquid sunshine with the giddy anticipation of a 3-year old on Christmas. The past couple of winters have been particularly plentiful, as friends & coworkers have generously passed down their surplus fruit to me, and this year is proving to be just as fruitful (haha). Grapefruits, lemons, and even kumquats are making their way into my thumbtack-sized kitchen, filling it with bright, sunny colors and sweet, floral scents.
One of my bosses seems to have a rather prolific Meyer lemon tree, so she’s been bringing these sweet lemon-mandarin hybrids to the office by the bucketful. They’re usually gone within about 2.5 seconds, so I’m lucky to have been able to snag as many as I did recently. And while I definitely want to do a photo makeover on my Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Shots with Candied Kumquats, I had different plans for this first batch of lemons: the first thing I’d make with them would be lovely, creamy lemon curd. Though regular lemon curd is delicious, I was eager to try a version using the slightly sweeter Meyer lemon, since the flavor would be slightly different, and the color just gorgeous (and you all know how much I like pretty food!).
Fruit curds, much like jams, jellies, and marmalades, are wonderful not only because they help preserve extra produce, but because of their versatility. Once you’ve made a basic fruit curd you can use it as a spread for muffins & scones, or as a filling for pastries, danishes, and of course, pies. And while it sounds like it could be a daunting venture, making your own fruit curd isn’t hard it all. Not to mention the fact that it’s far more affordable than buying an $11 jar of it at some specialty store! Sure, it requires a decent amount of stirring and a healthy dose of patience, but the end result is well worth it (and you get in a free upper body workout too… way to multitask!).
For this project, I decided to work with Alton Brown’s regular lemon curd recipe and tweak it a bit to suit my needs. I absolutely fell in love with how it turned out and was happy to avoid the whole “strain through a mesh sieve” step that many lemon curd recipes call for, even if I wasn’t able to use the double-boiler method Alton lists in his recipe. Because I’m comfortable with canning I made sure my finished product went into some cute little jars, but if you don’t have the right equipment or are just not sure about how to can properly, don’t fret; this will keep just fine in the fridge for a couple of weeks. But it’s so darned tasty that I’m not sure it will last that long!