God, I love lemon curd. I once tried to make it a while ago and it was a complete disaster. Then, I was a mere amateur and these days I am a wee bit better at these more tricky recipes. The process for making lemon curd (or indeed any fruit curd) is to thicken lemon juice, sugar and butter with eggs. Any sauce that involves this process, like ice cream and custard can potentially end up in disaster, because over-heating scrambles the eggs and you end up with a horrible mess.
I haven’t found any lemon curd here in Houston and no one seems to know what I’m talking about at work, which surprises me for some reason. I don’t know why. So for those of you not in the know, lemon curd is essentially used like jam – use in sandwiches, to make tarts or as a cake filling. It has been popular since the mid-eighteenth century and is a kind of preserve, but doesn’t keep any where near as long as jam due to the butter and eggs. Therefore it is best made in small quantities, this is not a problem is it is much less of a rigmarole to make than jam. This recipe makes around two jars of lemon curd.
Grate the zest of two lemons into a glass bowl along with their juice, 3 ounces of butter and 7 ounces of sugar lumps (you could use granulated here too, I don’t know why sugar lumps are used here). Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Whilst that is happening, crack 3 large eggs into another bowl and beat well. Sieve the eggs into the mixture (this prevents any lumps of white going in) and stir until the mixture thickens. This takes a while, and if you’re not used to thickening sauces with eggs it is best to be tentative and not have the heat to high. It will thicken quite alot, as long as the water is simmering beneath. Spoon the mixture into sterilised jars and allow to cool. Keep them in a cool place, but once open it’s probably best to keep the curd in the fridge, especially in this bloody Houston heat!
#255 Lemon Curd. This is a brilliant recipe for lemon curd. It isn’t too sweet and has a lot of zing; the inclusion of the zest really gives it some punch. It took me right back to England eating this! Delish. 8.5/10
A turkey wouldn’t be a turkey without stuffing. This is the one Griggers suggests to have with turkey. It contains no sausagemeat, so it’s quite light and the lemon and parsley flavour cuts through the richness of all the other roast items on your Christmas dinner. It’s also choc-full of butter, so it helps keep the turkey nice and succulent.
Begin by cutting the crusts off a large white loaf of bread and blitz it in a food processor until it becomes crumbs. Lay the crumbs on a large baking tray and allow them to dry out in a cool oven – you don’t want them to brown so 80ºC will be enough. Weight out 8 ounces of the crumbs (freeze the rest) and put in a large bowl and mix in the zest of two lemons and the juice of one, a bunch of chopped parsley, a teaspoon of chopped thyme, a teaspoon of dried marjoram, 8 ounces of creamed butter, 3 eggs and a good seasoning. Mix the ingredients with your hands and stuff the main cavity of the turkey with it. You probably won’t use it all, so freeze the rest in balls so you can put them in the cavity of chickens for your Sunday Roast.
#101 Parsley and Lemon Stuffing – 7/10. A nice fresh and light tasting stuffing. I reckon it’ll go better with chicken than with turkey.
The Sussex Pond Pudding. It is widely considered the best of the suet steamed puddings (or the best pudding full-stop). So good in fact, that Grigson doesn’t bother putting any other ones it; where’s Spotted Dick and jam roly-poly, please lady?? (To go off subject for a second; I’ve noticed a few glaring omissions from English Food, and am compiling a list, but it includes fish and chips, fish pie, scouse, spam fritters and stargazey pie amongst others, plus I can’t find a recipe for custard! I intend to fill in these gaps with the blog, and an unofficial Third Edition will then exist…). Anyway, Sussex Pond Pudding is essentially a suet crust filled with a whole lemon plus butter and sugar. When you turn it out, it bursts open and a moat of lemony sauce surrounds it. It’s very easy to make unless you’re Heston Blumenthal – it’s very unhealthy too, of course, but we don’t eat these everyday. I agree with Heston though – these sorts of puddings are going out of fashion in Britain, and it’s a shame. They’re easy to do and only require time to steam, so a check every 45 minutes to see if the steamer’s not boiled dry is all the work you need to do. The recipe serves 4 to 6 – it’s very rich. Serve with custard – real or packet, it don’t matter! I’ll give you the recipe I used for a proper Crème Anglaise at some point…
Start off by liberally buttering a 2 ½ pint pudding basin. Then make the suet pastry (the easiest pastry to make): Mix together 8 ounces of self-raising flour with four of chopped, fresh suet (you can, of course use the packet kind – even the vegetarian suet if you like, but fresh definitely give the best flavour, and it’s a lot cheaper!). Using a knife mix in enough half-and-half water/milk mixture to make a soft, but not tacky dough (about half a pint-ish). Roll this out into a large circle and cut-out a quarter. Pick up the dough and line the basin with it and press down the edges so that there will be no leakage. Next, cut up around three ounces of unsalted butter and place it in the bottom of the basin and pour over the same of sugar. Then, spear a large, unwaxed lemon several times with a skewer – this is very important, there will be no lemon sauce otherwise! Place the lemon on top of the butter and sugar and using equal amounts of more butter and sugar fill in any gaps around the lemon. With the remaining pastry roll out a circle and make a lid, again pressing down the edges to make a seal – use water as a glue. Steam for 3 to 4 hours. Turn it out and make sure everyone gets a bit of lemon – it should be soft enough to eat.
#90 Sussex Pond Pudding – 9.5/10. Absolutely divine! The centre turns into a sort of lemon curd, and the suet pastry goes beautifully crisp, golden and crunchy. Butters and I did chicken out of eating the lemon skin, but the lemon centre was a lovely sour-sweet mush. Is it the best suet pudding? Possibly. We should all try and make an effort and bring this sort of food back – it’s cheap, easy and gorgeous (you are what you eat, after all!). It’s proper Sunday lunch fair, but goes well with the Thai food I made for Butters and me due to the lemoniness.