Sunday, August 9, 2009

Birthday Treat Turns Sour

When I asked Ben what he wanted for a birthday cake, he suggested lemon bars instead. "Remember those ones you made a long time ago? Those were my favorite thing you've ever made." Which would be a really lovely compliment, had the bars in question not come straight from a Krusteaz box.

Determined to outdo those pesky Krusteaz folks, I set about whipping up my own lemon bars, this batch with a shortbread crust, an extra special cheesecake layer and a fresh-lemon curd.

The crust and the cheesecake were no problem. But I got the numbers mixed up in my head while making the curd, thinking I needed three-quarters of a cup of lemon juice and one-quarter of a cup of water. Three reamed lemons later, I discovered it was the other way around. But not before I'd put all the juice in with the eggs and sugar.

Needless to say, these bars pack a real pucker. The cheesecake layer helps balance that out. I also read somewhere that you can mix whipped cream into fruit curd to make it lighter in texture -- this probably would have helped with my pucker problem, too. And it would have been the yum.

Overall, I think this will be a pretty good curd recipe once I get my math right. Take that, Krusteaz.

Lemon curd
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 T. corn starch
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 t. lemon zest
  • 2 T. butter
Mix egg yolks, corn starch and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Place over low heat and gradually whisk in water and juice. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until mixture becomes very thick (about five minutes). Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and butter.

In addition to being tasty on lemon bars, curd is great on biscuits or bread. Or on a spoon. Zooming its way to your mouth.

The food: Lemon curd
The verdict: When life gives you lemons, make curd -- but with the proper water-to-juice ratio


The Wells of Morrisville said...

That is funny, Abbie. I have had that happen a few times and I always want to bang my head against the counter. . .how could I have measured those out the wrong way!!! Your pictures are so beautiful. I actually want to bite into that lemon bar.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother mixes Marscapone cheese into her Lemon curd, or sometimes cream cheese (The British call it lemon cheese). This makes it super great on crackers or shortbread.

Oh and our new house is on Lawrence Street in Waterville. We hope to close on it this week!


oneordinaryday said...

Very funny story. It sounds like something that would happen to me too. : )
You did a great job with these. They look great!

Windot said...

In response to your comment on my blog... the recipe is in our bible study because the lady who wrote it loves cooking and when she was writing the study, she and 4 other women would get together and share meals. So she just threw in a lot of recipes for fun!