Late last year an acquaintance of mine recommended that I check out the cooking blog Inn at the Crossroads, given its admirable combination of the nerdy, fantastical and culinary; to be specific, Inn at the Crossroads is a blog dedicated to the dishes featured in George R.R. Martin’s epic series A Song of Ice and Fire, and when possible, comparing modern and medieval versions of those dishes. Having such a cohesive theme to such an awesome subject appeals to me greatly, and it’s something I aspire to be able to do with greater frequency in upcoming months.
That said, this blog definitely deserves a hearty plug from my own humble blog, and what better way to do that than to shamelessly use one of their recipes as inspiration for one of my postings? I’m sure you can list several, but don’t answer, that was a rhetorical question.
As for the recipe of the day, I opted to use their lemon curd recipe. Rich, buttery, slightly tart and wonderfully sweet, this amazing spread is fantastic on biscuits, scones, vanilla ice cream, sugar cookies or as a filling for any number of baked goods, including lemon meringue pies. Come to think of it, that might be a good way to use the extra egg whites that are are a byproduct of this recipe. In the near term, I think I shall use some of it on pancakes this coming weekend. Or maybe waffles.
The ingredients are simple, the technique straightforward.
For the recipe in quicker form I’ll direct you back towards Inn at the Crossroads.
Sugar, butter, lemon and the yolks of five eggs are what is required.
First thing is to deal with the butter, a stick of it. Preferably well refrigerated as this will make it easier to cut up.
The aim is to make several pats of butter, which is then chilled while assembling everything else.
Then fill up a saucepan partway with water and bring to a simmer. The saucepan needs to be able to support a mixing bowl on top of it without the mixing bowl contacting the water, so keep that in mind.
Next, zest four lemons. Having a zester really makes this job easier. A grater can work as well, and in a pinch, a paring knife will do too, but will require a good technique to avoid taking too much of the pith with it.
With the lovely pile of lemon zest before your eyes, it’s almost a shame to…
Slice it into tiny little pieces. Almost. The rewards are worth it though, so don’t feel too bad.
Now let’s get cracking.. on some eggs. I like to have two bowls so I can crack the whites into one and separate the yolks into another. Easier for quality control that way.
Yolks done, we return to the neglected zested lemons.
Juice the lemons by whatever means you have available. Normally I don’t use a juicer, but with four lemons rather than just one I feel rather justified in utilizing the handy tool.
Even the leftovers are pretty in this recipe.
A third of a cup of liquid is needed. In my case, I didn’t need to add any cold water to the lemon juice, but if you do need it, go for it.
Now to get to the meat of the assembly now that preps over. Into a mixing bowl (not a plastic one) add the egg yolks.
Then add a cup of sugar and whisk until smooth, about a minute.
A nice bright yellow is what we’re going for.
Then add the juice and lemon zest and whisk thoroughly.
Then place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water and whisk until it gets thick enough about 8 minutes.
The mixture is properly thickened when you can coat the back of a spoon with it and draw a line through it. Remove the mixing bowl from the saucepan, and don’t forget to turn off your stove.
And now the pats of butter.
Whisk them into the mixture, one by one, making use of the residual heat to melt them.
It helps if you aren’t taking pictures, or have someone to take them for you.
When you’re done incorporating the butter, take a breath of relief.
Put your zest into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap and chill.
While you impatiently wait for it to chill, now’s a good time to clean the mixing bowl with your fingers. Imagine the rest.
When you’re good and ready, think of whatever sinful ideals you have to use the lemon curd. I think a sugar cookie and a dab of vanilla ice cream would be quite lovely.
Lovely indeed. The smooth creaminess of the pleasantly tart curd marries sinfully with the vanilla ice cream, and makes the plain sugar cookie anything but.
Thanks for reading and remember again to check out Inn at the Crossroads if you really want to get your fill of fantasy inspired cooking.