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December 15, 2016

Pucker Up

Myer Lemon Season: Let's Make Lemon Curd

Is it a coincidence that the grayest, foggiest weather comes along at precisely the same time that winter citrus season hits full swing? I'm not convinced the timing is mere chance. Perhaps, this serendipity is nature's way of adding an ample dose of sunshine and happiness into our lives all while providing a potent dose of vitamin C to keep us healthy during the cold winter months.

Of course, nothing beats peeling an icy cold orange and slowly eating each segment until you're left with nothing but sticky fingers. And, a generous squeeze of fresh lime or lemon on slices of avocado with a smattering of flaky sea salt is sublime. I love those fabulously dark blood oranges that pair perfectly with fennel and slivers of red onion, the Cara Cara oranges that are the palest hue of pinkish salmon color that just make me smile, and let me not overlook the ever so humble grapefruit, a true chameleon in the fruit basket, which is delicious topped with a sprinkle of raw sugar and run beneath the broiler until just beginning to blister.

But, I must admit that I have a particular fondness for the Myer lemon, a hybrid, which is a cross between a lemon and an orange--sweet, tart, and with a heavenly aroma that makes me want to squeeze its lusciousness on everything from fresh blackberries to fish.

During Myer lemon season, my refrigerator is never without a few of these perfect jewels and if I'm particularly lucky in finding a plentiful and reasonable source, I like to whip up a few batches of Myer lemon curd. This delicious treat pairs with everything from toast to holiday desserts--including, gingerbread, cheesecake, and trifle--but truth be told, it's pretty phenomenal eaten straight from the jar, while standing in front of the refrigerator. Preferably, when no one is watching.

Myer Lemon Curd (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

3 Myer lemons1 1/2 cups sugar1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature5 Jumbo egg yolks1/2 cup Myer lemon juice1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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