https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-curd-on-spoon_0104.jpg

When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Lemon Curd 

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-single-lemon_0089.jpgI love everything lemon – lemon loaf, lemon chicken, lemonade but one of my favourites is lemon curd.  Never heard of it? It’s the food of the gods but I’m not sure who thought the name “curd” would attract many fans? Curd for dairy products is coagulated milk, like cottage cheese, but fruit curd is something completely different. Generally made from citrus fruit, fruit curd is a delicious spread or dessert addition and you may not have realized you were eating lemon curd with your last slice of lemon meringue pie. My favourite topping for scones is clotted cream and lemon curd which is a very traditional way to serve them, but lemon curd has so many more uses!

  • Fruit pie, none of that commercial, fake, fluorescent-coloured stuff for me
  • Tarts – keep a few shells in the freezer and you can bake them as needed
  • Fool – a “fool” (other than the obvious LOL) is a creamy dessert. Take some stiff whipped cream and mix it with the curd. Use a few blueberries or whatever you have on hand for garnish and you’re done
  • Toppings – pound cake, waffles, toast, or right from the spoon!

In all my work, I try to say – You may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies?
~ Maya Angelou

Have I inspired you to give it a try?  Many people are afraid to attempt to make it because they have heard it is difficult to avoid curdling the mixture. I have a foolproof method I use and I’m going to share it with you, it will be our little secret… combining the butter with the sugar prevents separation and makes a silky curd.

Kelly’s Lemon Curd

6 oz. Butter

2 C Sugar

8 Eggs

3 Lemons juiced to make 1-1/3 C Lemon Juice

2 tsp. lemon zest

Lemons, Butter, Eggs and Sugar. That’s it! Four ingredients and you can pronounce them all.

Directions:
https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-zest_0083.jpgWash the lemons, remove the zest, chop it finely, and set it aside.  Juice the lemons and make sure there are no seeds in the juice. You will need to have 1-1/3 cups of lemon juice. I will top it up with lemon juice concentrate if I don’t get enough from the lemons.  Separate four of the eggs and set the whites aside. In a separate bowl, combine the four egg yolks with the four whole eggs.

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-butter_0084.jpgCombine the butter and sugar in your mixer until well incorporated (like you would with cookies).  Add the lemon juice and mix gently.  Now add the eggs, a bit at a time, until well incorporated. The yolks will automatically fall into the mixing bowl, one at a time, if you pour slowly.

Place the contents in a double boiler. What? You don’t own a double boiler? Neither do I. I take a large pot and fill it half full with water and place the metal bowl from my kitchen aid mixer on top.  https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-butter_0084.jpgVoila! Double boiler!  You can use any type of metal bowl over boiling water just make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

Bring that mixture up to a temperature of 170 degrees, stirring often to prevent sticking. This is an important step because it cooks the egg, which thickens your mixture.  You must reach this temperature or your curd will not thicken and will separate over time.

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-cooking_0079.jpgOnce you reach the temperature required, remove from the heat.

Add in the lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Cover the surface with plastic wrap by placing the wrap directly on the surface of the curd. This will prevent a skin from forming on the curd.  Cool in the fridge until ready to use.

Once the curd is cool, I spoon it into 1-cup containers and freeze. It freezes well and defrosts quickly.  The recipe will make four 1-cup containers but one automatically gets set aside for my Mom.  Always good to ensure your status as the favourite child!https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-ready-for-freezer_0105.jpg

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Buttermilk Scones made with raspberries

Light and Flaky Scones for your next Brunch

I used to own a tea room.  It allowed me to indulge in my love of baking without having to consume all the results.  When my partner and I decided to close it a few years ago, stepping into my own kitchen to bake actually made me a little sad instead of the joy I had experienced in the past.  They say time heals all wounds and I am, once again, enjoying the process of creating in the kitchen.  From time to time, I’d like to share some of my favourite recipes with you and I hope they will bring your family and friends as much pleasure as they did our beloved guests in the tea room.

In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbour on an empty stomach.  ~President Woodrow Wilson

Without a doubt, our most popular item on the menu were the Buttermilk Scones that we baked on a daily basis.  Buttermilk Scones with Clotted Cream and JamLight and fluffy with a delicate crumb, these were hugely popular with our regulars and many asked to take them home for their freezers, to be enjoyed later.

A couple of must-haves tools in my tea room kitchen, as well as my home kitchen, help to create consistent recipes and great results.

Kitchen Scale – this is the most accurate way to measure your ingredients. Flour volume can vary greatly when you use a measuring cup.  If you don’t have a scale, be sure to spoon flour into your measuring cup and don’t tap to level.

Swedish Dough WhiskSwedish Dough Whisk – Although it is rather odd looking, it is my absolute favourite tool to make bread, muffins, and anything else that requires stirring.  I do have a bread machine but this whisk makes quick work of any job.  I purchased it here.

Silpat or Parchment Paper – Nothing ever sticks to these and clean up is a breeze.  Using a cooking spray can eventually lead to an oil build up on your pans which is difficult to remove.  Parchment paper can be re-used several times so it is also very cost effective.

Save time and create a mix for your Buttermilk Scones

When I want to bake, I want to be able to just grab a few ingredients and start. It’s a process made easier by creating mixes for items I like to bake frequently.  Scones are definitely on that list! The following mix I make up and store in a plastic container.  I’m more inspired to bake when I know I can just measure out the dry ingredients and add the liquids.

Buttermilk Scone Mix (makes 4 recipes)

  • 1420g             Flour
  • 60g                 Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp               Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp               Salt

Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients together. Place mixture in a Ziploc bag or plastic container and store until inspiration strikes. When you are ready to make up a batch, follow the recipe below.

Buttermilk Scones:

  • 750g              Buttermilk Scone Mix
  • 220g              Butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1-1/2 C          Buttermilk
  • 2                     Eggs

Cube butter ahead of time and freeze.  It's easy to grab the amount you need and it thaws quickly.Tip: When I purchase a pound of butter, I cut it into 1-1/2″ cubes, place it in a Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer.  It’s simple to grab these cubes to weigh and add to the dry ingredients and takes very little time for the butter to soften enough to blend into the scone mix.

Eggs and Buttermilk for Scones

Break the eggs into a 2 Cup Measuring Cup and fill the measuring cup up with Buttermilk until it measures 2 Cups.  Eggs vary in size, measuring this way ensures you have the same amount of liquid every time you make your scones.  Set aside.

Cold cubed butter added to Buttermilk Scone MixIn a large bowl, add Scone Mix from above and add cubed cold butter.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a very coarse meal like this.

Butter cut into Buttermilk Scone Mix

 

If you leave large chunks of butter, they will melt and you will have spots in your baked scones that appear soggy. Cutting the butter in really well coats the flour grains with fat and creates a light and flaky texture.

Buttermilk Scone Dough

 

Add the egg/buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with the Dough Whisk or a wooden spoon.  The dough will be stiff.  Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and knead the flour remaining in the bowl into the dough.  Don’t overwork the dough at this point.  As soon as the dry is mixed in, it’s time to stop.

Tip: To shape the scones, I have a method I use to make the edges layered and flaky.

Buttermilk Scone Dough is placed in a 9"x13" pan lined with plastic.Take a 9×13 pan and line it with plastic wrap.  Place the ball of dough in the pan and press the dough flat and out to the edges.  By doing this, I get a consistent thickness for my scones.  Buttermilk Scone Dough turned out onto flour surfaceNow turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut your scones into squares or triangles.Cut the scones with a shaped cutter Cutting the dough, rather than shaping it with your hands, releases the edges and allows them to separate into flaky layers.  I guarantee success if you follow this method!

 

Scones placed on baking sheet and brushed with egg washPlace cut scones on a lined baking sheet and brush with a mixture of one egg and 1/4 Cup of milk. I place this in a sealable container and shake to mix and break up the yolk. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin coat to the top of the scones.

Scones fresh from the ovenBasic scones are usually the favourite around here because we like to add jam or curd for added flavour.  However, there are lots of additions you can use to give some variety to your scones.

Buttermilk Scones with raspberriesSavoury: cheddar, parmesan, rosemary, onion

Sweet: dried fruits such as cherries, frozen fruits such as blueberries or raspberries, chocolate

Scones fresh from the oven

 

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Pre-heating is crucial.  Your oven needs to be hot to support the dough as it rises in the oven. As the butter in the flour mixture melts, it creates little pockets of steam and that also helps the scones to rise.

Your delicious scones are ready when they are a light golden brown and the edges look flaky. Do not over bake as this will make them dry and tough.

Buttermilk Scones with Clotted Cream, fresh Lemon Curd, and Blackberry Jam

I hope these become a family favourite as they have in our home!