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January 25, 2013

Lemon Love

Myer Lemon Curd
I hate to say it, but winter is a season often lost on the masses. Even more, I hate to admit that I was once guilty of the same.

Spring was fabulous with all the burgeoning greens--vibrant new asparagus, tender peas, delicate leaves and greens, and summer, well of course summer won me over with her heady, juicy fruits--strawberries bursting with sugary goodness, melons and peaches that not only sent their juices down my chin, but through my fingers and all the way to the crook of my arm; fall was unforgettable, her harvest seemingly unending with overripe tomatoes and bushels of peppers that still tasted of the sun and zucchini too numerous to count. Fall was ongoing and each week I'd come from the garden, my basket full of some newly ripened treasure--pumpkins and squashes and eggplant and fennel.

And then, the first frost would come, most likely catching me off guard. The last of the tomatoes would fall to the ground and rot, the once gorgeous landscape of gold and orange and red foliage would change and everywhere the eye moved there was nothing to see but cracked ground, dead grass, and bare branches.

One day,  though, like any great love story, I had an epiphany and in a single moment, after catching a glimpse of the beautiful winter sky, edged in an array of grays, I fell desperately for winter. Now, I await her with anticipation and joy, and savor each of her gifts.

Two weeks ago, Mr. B had business in Sacramento. While it was important business indeed, his other important business was to visit with his cousin. Cousin J has one of the most prolific Myer Lemon trees in his yard that I have ever borne witness to--Myer lemons literally cover every spare space of each and every branch--the ground underneath is carpeted in Myer lemons; this tree is the Rocky of Myer lemon trees. So, while I knew that Mr. B and Cousin J would spend a good bit of time catching up over thick New York Strips and Manhattans, I also knew they'd give equal attention to collecting Myer lemons for me.

When Mr. B returned home, he had a cardboard box so overstuffed with Myer lemons that the sides were splitting apart; I had to transfer the lemons to a big basket, which led me to wonder how much they weighed. Was I shocked to discover that I had, in my possession, 22 POUNDS of Myer Lemons?
Nope. It was ecstasy that pulsed through my veins. I was going to make Myer lemon curd. Stuff so good one could stand in front of the refrigerator and spoon it out of the jar, its cold, tangy, buttery richness slowly melting on the tongue, transporting the palate to citrus heaven.

Myer Lemon Curd (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

3 Myer lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
5 Jumbo egg yolks
1/2 cup Myer lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, careful to avoid the white pith (a bonus of Myer lemons is the zest is easily removed and there is very little pith). Put the zest into a food processor and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the egg yolks one at a time, and then the lemon juice and salt.

Pour the mixture into a non-reactive saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees, or just below simmering. Remove from the heat, let cool, then refrigerate.

* A Myer lemon is a winter lemon. It is extremely fragrant and juicy; it's sweeter than a regular lemon, the zest is easier to remove and the fruit is an orangey yellow. The zest is wonderful finely grated over fresh steamed green vegetables and drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Myer lemon juice is ethereal squeezed over avocado slices.


3 comments :

  1. Mel!!! So glad to have found you again. Can you believe it, I've never had a Myer lemon in my life, but my sweet MIL has a lemon tree in her back yard in Florida, and sends them to me at Christmas - I told her I never need any other gift than lemons!

    Hugs!

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  2. Aw, Biz, you haven't lived until you've had a Myer lemon. We'll have to work on that...in the meantime, this lemon curd is pretty wicked with regular lemons, too.

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