We were invited to my friend Brent’s house last week for these homemade Bomboloni Sourdough Donuts Filled With Lemon Curd.Read More
A simple recipe for foolproof lemon curd that cooks in five minutes or less in the microwave.Read More
In January I was hired by Johanna Eliot to be the consulting manager for Eliot & Vine, her shiny new, modern-European restaurant opening in Halifax at the end of April. The Eliot & Vine opportunity appealed to me for a number of reasons, the biggest being, that since January, I've been learning, and figuring out, many of the ins and outs required to open a restaurant from scratch. Of course, as the owner, Johanna's ins and outs have been much more extensive than mine, but still, I've been privy to just about every single, behind-the-scenes detail.
One of my favourite things about working with Johanna is her ardor and zeal for all things food and wine. Once the mundane daily tasks of inspections, permits and tweaks to construction have been discussed and put away, we get to brainstorm recipe ideas, sample bottles of wine and talk about how we will fit everything together on the Eliot & Vine menus and lists. With the wide brushstroke of 'modern European' as the heralding concept of the restaurant, our team is writing menus that stay true to the core values of Eliot & Vine - uncomplicated, rustic, classic European elements - with nods to our exquisite Atlantic coastal home.
As an avid food magazine and food blog reader, one ingredient I continually encountered in my menu research was preserved lemons. I find the idea of preserved lemons intriguing first and foremost because I LOVE LEMON. Second, I've read that the flavour is reminiscent of a salty, briny, citrusy caper. And third, I adore the notion of a simple ingredient adding extra layers of depth and complexity to a dish. I've never eaten a preserved lemon, but I'm already planning how I will use them once they're ready. I think they'd be wicked in a garlic oil based pasta, on top of baked fish, in a risotto with spring peas or asparagus, or on top of crostini with homemade ricotta. There are so many options that I know I'm going to find it hard to be patient during the required 30 days.
Please note - because I've never eaten preserved lemons, I decided to omit the spices in this, my first batch, and used only sea salt and lemon. I wanted to get a sense of what the lemons taste like on their own before I start jazzing them up with other flavours.
To make your own preserved lemons, do what I did and follow David Lebovitz's super simple step-by-step 'recipe' here.
When the idea for Lemon Curdsicles first popped into my head, I Googled it right away. I mean, COME ON, surely SOMEONE has already thought of them before and posted them SOMEWHERE on the web?
But no - nobody has.
(NO Google, I did NOT mean Lemon curd cycles. And what the hell is a beef tallow curdsicle anyway?!?)
Anyhoo, these are one of the BEST things I've made since I first started my blog in 2010. A bold statement yes but so so true!
I've made homemade ice cream in the past that's been pretty darn good however, it always seems to freeze just a little too hard. I've mentioned my love of David Lebovitz before here and here and am absolutely enthralled with his latest book 'My Paris Kitchen' published by Random House. Seriously - it's lovely. David wrote another book in 2007 called 'The Perfect Scoop', so trust me when I say this man knows his ice cream. For the Lemon Curdsicles I used David's recipe for Apricot Kernel Ice Cream (without Apricot Kernels) found in 'My Paris Kitchen'. You can find basically the same recipe on David's website if you click here. His recipe calls for 5 yolks - the recipe I usually use only has three. I think the extra yolks in David's recipe lend extra creaminess to the ice cream and prevent it from freezing hard as a rock - it's the perfect compliment to the tart brightness of the lemon curd. You could also make the 6-Minute Microwave Lemon Curd and layer it in popsicle molds with softened store-bought vanilla ice cream.
For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
- 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
- A pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
- To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
- Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
- Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.
1 batch of 6-Minute Microwave Lemon Curd (original recipe from Out Of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens by Marie Nightingale):
- 3 eggs
- 1 C sugar
- 3 lemons
- 1/4 C butter
- pinch of salt (optional - not included in the recipe, but I usually add a pinch to any curd I make)
- In a large microwaveable bowl, ***whisk eggs + sugar until smooth*** - zest all 3 lemons into the eggs and sugar and then juice them right into the bowl - break butter into small pieces with your hands and throw into bowl - whisk everything together
- Microwave, one minute at a time, for 5-6 minutes, whisking between each minute 'until it is as thick as honey' (Out Of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens, p 171) - mine took 6 minutes - pour into a jar - refrigerate
***IMPORTANT*** - IF YOU DO NOT WHISK YOUR EGGS AND BUTTER SILKY SMOOTH FIRST you will end up with cooked scrambled egg bits. That's fine but IF THIS HAPPENS - pour your curd through a sieve BEFORE you jar it. It will pretty much run right through - you may have to press the last bit with the back of a spoon. The sieve will catch all of the scrambled bits.
***ANOTHER NOTE*** - Wednesday January 29, 2014 - I made this recipe again, with 3/4 C of sugar instead of a full cup - it was really nice - more tart, less sweet - BUT IT COOKED FASTER - 4.5 minutes
- After churning ice cream batter, layer it in popsicle molds with dollops of chilled lemon curd - freeze overnight
YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.
Ok, don't tell him I told you this, but Sean is a VERY picky eater. You see all of this food I make for my blog? He hardly eats any of it. To be fair, he's not a huge eater to begin with, but all of the cakes, cookies, curds? Most are eaten by me and brought to friends (who, let's get real, have NO complaints about me bringing a constant flow of treats!).
Last night I made these muffins and when they were cool, I brought one downstairs to Sean.
10 minutes later, he was upstairs in my studio, looking for more.
3 more to be exact.
So you see, because my picky husband ate FOUR of these muffins last night, I now have confirmation that they are very, very delicious.
Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins
1/2 block cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1.5 C raspberries (I used frozen)
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp + 1.5 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/4 - 1/2 C milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
coarse sugar for muffin tops (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350º - in a bowl or plastic container, toss cream cheese pieces, raspberries and lemon zest with 1 tsp flour to coat - place bowl in freezer
- Mix 1.5 C flour, sugar, salt and baking powder with paddle attachment in stand mixer (or whisk by hand)
- Measure out 1/3 C vegetable oil in a measuring cup and add eggs - whisk together then top with milk to make 1 C - add vanilla - mix well
- Add wet to dry and mix with paddle on low until just combined - fold cream cheese/raspberry/lemon zest mixture into batter gently by hand - divide batter into 12 muffin cups - sprinkle top of each muffin with coarse sugar
- bake 15 minutes at 350º then raise oven temperature to 400º - continue to bake until golden on top, about 9-11 minutes - if not golden after 11 minutes, continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes - remove from oven when tops are golden - cool on a rack 10 minutes