Texas is trying to kill me, you guys. I’m so serious. This is like my last will and testament. At my funeral, make sure there’s copious amounts of this Meyer Lemon Curd for my friends and family to partake of to soothe their devastation. The end draws nigh.
Between the mutant strain of mountain cedar that was afflicting me, and the sadness of deployment that our Army installation loves to force upon me; I’ve had one foot in the grave, health-wise. I’m over here wheezing and groggy, giving the kids my personal belongings and telling them not to forget me. They, of course, are telling me to, “Suck it up, Ma,” like any good Army brat would. I still feel the need to lay it on thick.
Being sick as an adult flat out sucks. It’s no where near as fun as it was when I was a child. As a kid, I stayed home by myself on sick days because both parents were active duty Airmen. There was rarely a day my mother or father were able to take off if I, or one of my siblings, fell ill. Sick days meant Jerry Springer revealing someone’s baby’s daddy, or Ricky Lake yelling, “You go, girl!” to a makeover success story. My babysitter (the TV) taught me that I needed to learn more about my social security rights, and that I didn’t have to pay if my attorney didn’t win my malpractice lawsuit.
Nowadays I have to get up and teach a course load of school, check (and respond to) emails, clean the house…you know…I have to adult. I’ve taken to wandering about the house sighing deeply; awaiting one of my family members to pity and baby me. Usually, they just roll their eyes and ask me, “Can you be more annoying?”
“Hold my thermometer and I’ll show you,” I tell them.
When I write that food evokes memories, I’m not exaggerating. Sick days remind me of my mother. I think of how my mother would would slather me in Vicks vaporú (VapoRub for you non-Latinos), wrap me in a blanket, and swaddle me while she forced me to watch Jane Austen PBS specials all day. Of course, someone was always having high tea and high tea always had lemon curd. At least, in my memories, there was always lemon curd. So, when I think of sick days at home with Mami, I think of lemon curd. Powerful things, those memories are.
Every time I see Meyer lemons in the grocery store, I make sure to pick up a few just so that I’m able to make some of my favorite Meyer lemon recipes. My Twinks and husband adore lemon curd (as do I) so we’ll run through a batch in no time at all. Lemon curd is sinfully easy to make. As a result, whipping up a pint for filling a tart, or for spreading on bread or scones is a regular occurrence in my kitchen. Thus the reason for procuring Meyer lemons anytime I happen upon them. Sure, I can make lemon curd with your run-of-the-mill Eureka lemons, I just prefer the Meyer lemon.
To my tastebuds, the Meyer lemon tastes, almost floral. The pucker factor isn’t as intense as it’s common cousin, and that appeals to me. When I have made the lemon curd with the grocery store favorites, my children have gone wild for it. Something about super-tart foods makes kids giddy. Adult palates seem to prefer the subtler taste of the Meyer version, however. Whichever you choose, it’s the perfect curd to store for sick days. Hopefully, you won’t have as many as I have been having.
What’s your favorite sick day tradition? Share with me below, then pin the recipe to enjoy later.
Meyer Lemon Curd and Filling
Yield 3 cups
This lemon variety has an subtler, almost floral, taste, which makes it the perfect ingredient for the versatile custard. Spread on toast or fill a tart shell for the perfect punch of lemon.
8 egg yolks
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups Meyer lemon juice (or 1 cup regular lemon juice)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, sliced
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, lemon zest and salt. Beat the egg yolks lightly and set aside.
Over medium heat in a large saucepan with sloping sides, whisk together the sugar and lemon juice. Add the butter slices and heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the butter has melted.
Using a measuring cup, remove about a cup of the hot lemon juice mixture from the pan and, in a slow trickle, whisk it into the egg yolks. Whisk constantly to prevent the egg yolks from curdling. Once all of the hot liquid has been added to the eggs, pour the eggs back into the saucepan with the hot lemon juice mixture.
This is "tempering". The tempering process heats the eggs gradually and prevents them from cooking too fast when introduced to the hot liquid in the saucepan. Adding the eggs directly to the hot liquid would guarantee scrambled eggs!
Return the mixture to the heat and cook, on low, for 5-7 minutes, whisking gently the entire time. Remove from the heat once the mixture thickens and lava-like bubbles start to break the surface.
Allow the curd to cool for ten minutes. If you notice solid egg in the custard, strain it through a fine mesh sieve as you transfer it into a clean storage container. Cover the curd with a piece of plastic wrap. Press the plastic down to touch the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
Cover and refrigerate until completely cool. This curd will keep, under refrigeration, for 5 days. Use it to spread on baked breads or to fill baked tart or pie shells *see note*.
For filling a tart shell:
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter.
Press this mixture into a 10" tart shell with removable bottom.
Bake in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before filling with the lemon curd. Fill with curd and smooth the surface of the custard.
Once filled, return the tart pan to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the curd jiggles slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Top with fresh, sweetened whipped cream.