Luscious lemon curd

lemoncurdspoon

I must have burned out on making holiday cookies last year, because this year I just didn’t make any.

I did want to make something special, though–something lemony that would keep longer than lemon bars. Of course: lemon curd!  Though saddled with a fairly unattractive name, it is an exquisite concoction: creamy and rich, tart-sweet and intensely lemon-y.

making lemon curd

My trusty foolproof recipe filled the need. It’s in my book, and on my lemon blog.

Lemon curd is delicious spread on a piece of toast, a biscuit, muffin or scone — or simply eaten from the jar with a spoon! It’s also a superb filling for a (lemon) cake or in a tart.  Many people like it with shortbread cookies, which is basically a deconstructed lemon bar. (If you don’t want to make cookies, just read on past the recipes below, for store-bought cookie recommendations).

shortbread, pam

cookies and photo by Pam Glaze

My friend Pam offered a rolled shortbread recipe from the Alice Bay Cookbook which she says is “tried and true.” She cuts the cookies into charming shapes.  Here’s the recipe:

Alice Bay shortbread cut-outs

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. cream butter thoroughly. Blend in sugar and salt; mix well. Add flour gradually and blend well.
  3. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters or 2-inch squares.
  4. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are a delicate golden color. Cool on racks. Makes 3 dozen cookies, depending on size.

Pam said she usually divides the dough into two discs and chills it a bit before rolling it out. The dough also freezes well if you don’t want to use it all at once, she added.

Despite the appeal, I am definitely not making any rolled cookies this year. I’m the kind of person whose cookie dough sticks to the cutting board or the rolling pin. Or both.

A shortbread recipe I’ll be much more likely to try (though not now, as I’m about to head to California)  came from my friend Denise. This one is very easy (perhaps because of the addition of cornstarch?) and requires no rolling — you just pat the dough into a pan. Plus I can testify that the cookies are delicious:

Denise’s easy shortbread cookies
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cube butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients until they look like crumbs and pat into an 8-inch or 9-inch round pan.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.
  4. Cut the cookies into rectangles or triangles immediately.
  5. Sprinkle with sugar; cool
I got Denise’s recipe only yesterday, and by that time I’d already decided to take the easy way out and just buy some cookies this season. First I tried Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookies because I thought the flavors would marry well. Wrong. The triple ginger cookies are terrific on their own,  but too intense for the lemon curd: the ginger overwhelmed the lemon.
lemon curd with Anna's ginger thins
A much better choice was Anna’s Ginger Thins (the delicate Swedish cookie, which even happened to be on sale) or Orange Thins.  Of course, you could buy shortbread cookies too, but I like the balance of the lighter cookie with the richness of the lemon curd, and these cookies showed off the lemon flavor.
Speaking of showing off, remember in an earlier post I said I always think I’ll buy pomegranates after Thanksgiving but I never do?
Well, this year I actually did buy another pomegranate, weeks after Thanksgiving, and I’ve been enjoying the seeds–which look like the glittering confetti of the food world– in various salads and other dishes. Some of them made a star appearance on my cookies with lemon-curd:
lemon curd with pomegranate seeds

Happy New Year!

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Filed under dessert, fruit, Praise for other cooks, Uncategorized, winter

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