Although you can now buy lemon curd in most supermarkets, it is extremely simple to make in your water oven, and the homemade version doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial flavors. Traditional recipes require cooking the lemon-egg mixture in a double boiler until the curd thickens. This can be tricky, as one or two degrees can make the difference between success and disaster. With the sous vide technique, the curd cooks itself without any stress or stirring.
To make the most out of heating up my machine, I often cook several different things together. For instance, if I have the water at 180°F, I’ll make a jar of garlic confit, a jar or two of Lemon Curd, some ice cream base, maybe some oil-poached fresh tuna, and even throw in a few bags of vegetables. This way I maximize the energy expenditure and end up with a number of products I can put to use in other meals.
But back to lemon curd… This is a wonderfully versatile item to have on hand or to give as a hostess gift. If your idea of dessert involves lemon, then curd has lots of possibilities, such as my Iced Lemon Curd Mousse. It is also great lightened with crème fraîche or mascarpone and served with fresh berries. For a change of pace, try substituting blood orange juice or tangerine juice for the lemon — equally delicious!
Makes about 1¼ cups
- Preheat the water bath to 180°F (82°C).
- Sterilize a 1-pint glass canning jar, lid, and ring; set aside.
- Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the lemon juice and melted butter. Do not overbeat or the mixture will be frothy. Pour the curd into the prepared jar, filling to the brim. Seal the jar and immerse in the water oven.
- Cook for 45 minutes, then remove the jar from the water. Open the jar lid and stir the curd with a spoon for 1 minute. The curd loses some volume as it thickens, so the cooked quantity is about 1¼ cups. Place the open jar in a bowl of ice and water and let cool. To store, reseal the jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Serve this refreshing iced dessert in small glasses to show off the pretty color of the swirled lemon curd and cream. Although they’re perfectly delicious served cold from the refrigerator, I like to freeze the mousses for about an hour before I serve them. The mixture doesn’t harden, but it does get ice-cold. If you have lemon curd on hand, this makes a quick and easy yet elegant finish to a meal.
- Place ¾ cup of the lemon curd in the bowl of a mixer and add the cream and lemon zest. Beat on high speed until the mixture holds soft peaks. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the mixture into each of 4 small glasses or cups, then add a tablespoon of lemon curd, cover with some more mousse, followed by more lemon curd to create a layered effect. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The mousse will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. About an hour before serving, transfer the cups to the freezer. When the mouse is ice-cold but still soft and creamy, garnish each portion with some of the cookie crumbs and serve.