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Lemon Curd (c)2012

I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with lemon curd during spring:

1.  Baked Lemon Tart

To me, sweet buttery pastry, rolled out and baked into a tart pan, filled with smooth-as-silk lemon curd and baked till caramelized is the perfect spring dessert. There is nothing more satisfying than a bright, sunny lemon tart after a beautiful spring lunch. This week I’ll be featuring a Martha Stewart recipe for Rustic Meyer Lemon Tart here on the blog. The beauty of a curd based tart is that it keeps well (3 days in the fridge and still delicious), can be made ahead of time, and travels easily. It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks.

2.  Not-Baked Lemon Meringue Tart

The not-baked lemon tart is more elegant and pristine when compared with the loveably rustic Baked Lemon Tart above. Recipes can be found everywhere for a baked tart shell filled with lemon curd, topped with berries or fluffy meringue. My favorite is the recipe for little Lemon-Almond Meringue Tarts from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I’m intrigued by the recipe because of the almond theme which carries through the crust (ground amaretti cookies, sliced almonds, amaretto liqueur) to the browned meringue topping (amaretto liqueur). Who knew almonds and lemons were such a winning combination?

3.  Lemon Macarons

I discovered this gem of an idea in the lovely Miette: recipes from San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop. Meg Ray stirs lemon curd into her vanilla buttercream until combined, then uses it as a filling for her Parisian Macarons with Lemon Buttercream. These little cookies achieve the perfect balance of crisp and chewy texture enveloping creamy lemon curd. The macarons are made by whisking egg whites and folding in a mixture of ground almonds and powdered sugar. There it is again- that magic combination of almonds and lemon.

4.  Lemon Beignets

I’m a fan of Karen Demasco’s penchant for seasonal baking and her plight of encouraging home bakers to use technique to enable intuitive cooking based on what’s in the pantry. The former pastry chef of Tom Colicchio’s Craft restaurants published a book titled The Craft of Baking in 2009, and it’s full of creative, simple (but elegant) recipes. That’s where I found Lemon Beignets with Lemon Cream- think doughnut holes filled with lemon curd, fried in oil, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and served piping hot with lemon cream (lemon curd +whipped cream). Instead of piping (which can be tricky), Karen gives instructions for sandwiching a spoonful of lemon curd between two rounds of sticky fritter dough, sealing the sides, and rilling it into a ball. Her method is simple and I love how she pairs a rich fried fritter with tart lemon curd.

5.  Lemon Curd Cookies

Consult Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess and you will find her clever idea for using lemon curd in cookies- Lemon Gems. It’s a sugary, buttery cookie spiked with lemon juice and zest- a thumbprint cookie, actually. Press into each cookie to make an indentation before baking, once out of the oven, fill each cookie with a spoonful of lemon curd. Nigella describes the cookies as “that necessary contrast between sharp, shining jellied curd, and buttery, sugared dough.”

6.  Lemon Cream Pavlova

This post for Lemon Cream Pavlova by Sara of Matchbox Kitchen is what got me started with the lemon curd theme for la Domestique. I love the simple elegance of this dessert which is perfect for entertaining as the components can be made in advance and assembled at the last minute. Also, I just love the word pavlova. It’s great to pair meringues with lemon curd because the curd only uses egg yolks, and we must do something with those whites so they don’t go to waste. Sara uses the entire egg for her lemon cream, but I’m sure you could substitute your own lemon curd spooned atop the airy meringue base. Softly whipped cream is the last layer, creating a nice contrast of textures with the crumbly meringue and velvety lemon cream. I love it when Sara bakes!

7.  Lemon Curd in Layer Cakes

Lemon curd is delicious between layers of cake. Substitute lemon curd for jelly in your Swiss Roll or spread lemon curd between layers of cake like this Lemon Curd Layer Cake from Bon Appétit. In Sarabeth’s Bakery, lemon curd is beat into meringue buttercream along with rose water, then used to frost a beautiful white cake layered with fresh raspberries. Sarabeth describes it as “sweet, light, tangy, perfect after a large meal.”

8.  Simple but Elegant Lemon Curd Pudding

I call this a pudding just to make it officially dessert. Sarah Magid suggests serving Meyer lemon curd in a champagne glass topped with whipped cream and fresh berries for a simple dessert in her book, Organic and Chic. You could use tall champagne glasses or coups. Picture this: at the end of a big meal, you bring out a tray of these puddings in champagne glasses for all your guests. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Definitely chic.

9.  Lemon Curd in Crêpes

Crêpes, the paper thin French pancakes, are fun to serve with a selection of toppings. Spread crêpes with lemon curd and garnish with fresh raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries. Or serve them simply with curd and whipped cream. Make sweet crêpes for brunch or dessert. If you’ve never attempted these pancakes before, here’s a tutorial on crêpe making from Martha.

10.  Lemon Curd Marbled Muffins

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall marbles his muffin batter with lemon curd before portioning them out and baking in the muffin tins in his book, River Cottage Every Day. It’s a straightforward batter of flour, baking powder, sugar, egg, yogurt, milk, and butter that makes for a moist muffin with a hit of tangy curd inside. Lemon Curd Marbled Muffins– what a lovely surprise!

What is your favorite way to cook with lemon curd? Share it in the comments section. Click Here.