Umami Mart Barware
Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

I like to think that I have sharp instincts and a knack for good flavors in the kitchen-- my parents are both professional chefs, as is my brother. So in theory, I should be a supernatural.

But something in the kitchen always goes horribly wrong when I am asked to follow a recipe to make anything sweet. I just can't do it! It's a combination of extreme ADD, my lack of scientific know-how, and the recipe never warning you of what NOT to do. It's never my fault, right?

I got really excited a few weeks ago when I found meyer lemons at Trader Joe's so I bought a few packs. I figured I would bake something with them, but the ever-present sloth in me took over and so I went for this meyer lemon curd recipe from The House of Annie instead, sent over to me by Matt who liked the recipe. All I had to do is zest lemons, add sugar and eggs and stir over the stove for 15 minutes! PERFECT.

All ingredients.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Zesting all these lemons- PAIN IN THE ASS.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Heart my juicer.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Just add everything into a bowl! That's it! Optimism level: 10

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Mix.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 1. Put in pot over medium heat. Optimism level: Still 10.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 3. Recipe says to whisk until it thickens. It does not. Optimism level: 5.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 8. It's not thickening so I start to think that maybe the heat is too low? I turn it up, the curd starts to boil a little, and finally thickens. Stir frantically to keep it from burning on the bottom. Optimism level: 7.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 10. Turn the heat down and it bubbles a little, but I keep stirring.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 13. I start seeing these specks of white lumps. What is that? I figure it'll boil down. Keep stirring. Optimism level: 8.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 16. Lumps are not going down. WTF. Optimism level: 3.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

Minute 21. White clumps do not go away. I frantically text Matt.

Kayoko: My lemon curd is super lumpy and curdy! Was yours like that?

Matt: No. You must've fucked up the eggs?

Kayoko: Fuck me.

(I realize right after I hit send that this last line could be interepreted in other ways. OOPS!)

Minute 23. I surrender to Meyer Lemon Curd Fail. Optimism level: Negative 5000.

Kitchen Follies: Meyer Lemon Curd

I then get a text from Matt, "Get the eggs and butter to room temp first then add easy."

GREAT, THANKS! Never got that memo!

I get it now. I shouldn't have turned up the heat, which probably cooked the eggs too much. Any other insight?

I hope you learn from my Kitchen Follies!
Column: Kitchen Follies
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8 comments

  • use a double boiler or a pyrex bowl over a pot with a little water. makes the heat more even/ less intense.

    keely on

  • I made the ultimate key lime pie over xmas because there were key limes available at Wegman’s – it had to be done!

    I think the key is to do the combining of the eggs incrementally/slowly/while whisking, so you don’t get fruity scrambled eggs. And I can’t really tell from your picture, but probably best to whisk up the eggs before you add them to everything else. Of course, my mother was standing over me telling me what do do the whole time, so I’m no expert…

    jones on

  • Hi Kayoko, I’m sorry you had a bad experience with our recipe. I looked my recipe over again and I realized that I should have specified the pot (it’s important to use a heavy bottomed pot for this application to make sure that the heat is even). Other than that, the recipe does work well. I noticed that you did a few things which could have led to the disaster. Firstly, my recipe does call for melted butter. Secondly, you were doing great till you got a little impatient—turning the heat up was probably what did you in—you curdled the eggs at that point. It does seem to be a long time before the curd thickens but once it does, it gets done pretty quickly after that.
    The only other thing I did notice probably didn’t contribute to the mess but might make a difference to the flavor. Another commenter had already pointed out that you overzested the lemon—you only want to zest the yellow part, not the white pith—the microplane works really well for this purpose. The white pith would add bitterness to your curd.
    Anyway, I’m sorry again for the non-success. I hope you will give it another try and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me. It really is a good recipe and much faster than if you had to do it in a double boiler.

    Annie@House of Annie on

  • I’ve never made this before, but it looks like you took too much of the skin for your zesting. Shouldn’t it only be the outer layer? i.e. Don’t use the white stuff in between skin and meat.

    E on

  • Hello everyone! Thanks for all your comments— I think it’s time to get off my high horse and admit that my so-called instincts in the kitchen actually have no base in reality. I SUCK!

    ANNIE! Thanks for stopping in! Nothing wrong with your recipe and this post was by no means meant to be an attack on your fine work. Yes, I will try it again. It came highly recommended to me by my good friend Matt who I trust, so it must be good. Plus, you have so many encouraging comments on your post, so obviously I just screwed up bigtime.

    My chef friend saw a pic of the lemon zest and was appalled. My mom saw the pot I used the next morning and simply shook her head in shame.

    I’m sure you all did the same thing. I’m learning!

    kayoko on

  • That pie was delicious…
    http://a03-b03.mypicturetown.com/P2PwebCmdController/cache/c3*NENTYC7eVBsK_NzKuIBz5ypRDPczJy4tXiLMfAKzzqY%3D0XXidtNJaZgm2yTn/item.JPG?rot=1

    yoko on

  • It’s funny that you should write this post because I just made a chocolate pie, which also includes custard in the recipe. I used my latest cookbook obsession, Bubby’s Homemade Pies*, from which I have already baked 2 apple pies and a pecan pie. Making custard can be tricky indeed and a real test of your patience and arm strength since you must whisk forever.
    You never want scrambled eggs, which can happen quite easily, even for someone who regularly bakes sweets. There are several ways to get around this like the aforementioned double boiler or mixing the eggs in a separate bowl and adding to main mixture in a very thin stream while whisking over medium heat.
    My recipe involved tempering the eggs first by cooking up the base of custard without the eggs and then adding the hot base to the eggs, slowly (while whisking, of course). After you have added several ladles worth and the eggs are smooth, you add this back to the main custard mixture.

    Baking is an unforgiving activity which will punish you if you don’t know how to measure liquids, solids and fats properly or if your oven temperature is only a few digits off. It’s fussy and temperamental and once you messed up one step, you must trash the entire thing. The unfortunate reality is that there are rarely baking recipes that are written with the clarity, precision and detail needed for the home baker to succeed every time.

    *Though I love this cookbook, and it’s one of the best for the basics of pie-making, I have found some typos which resulted in one of the cookie recipes coming out of my oven as a big, ugly, burnt puddle of batter.

    worm on

  • And Worm, that pie looks amazing. You’re a pro! Please teach me!

    kayoko on

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