Thursday, 15 June 2017

Making the best Lemon Curd from the Bush Lemon tree




 I just love citrus season, don't you? With all of these juicy lemons available, I decided to make some Lemon curd or Lemon butter as we used to call it. Bottles of the curd will keep in  your frig for a long time if well sealed in sterilised jars, and is refrigerated after opening. It is a precious commodity. I remember always being told during citrus season at home that the preferred lemon to make Lemon Butter from is the Bush Lemon, and my Mum was always on the hunt for a fruiting Bush Lemon tree, as each year she would make a batch of Lemon Butter. However two lemons  makes only two to three small jars with this recipe so it is good to collect a lot of Bush Lemons and small bottles if possible. The traditional lemons growing on most backyard trees or available in the supermarkets these days will still produce a nice Lemon curd which is probably what most people need to use.

The juicy Bush Lemon

The Bush lemon tree is a species with a very thick skin, and a true lemon flavour, however it doesn't fall into the Bush tucker category as it is not native to Australia.  The fruit are extremely juicy. Surprisingly, the roughness of the rind grates very well to provide a terrific zest so valuable in many dishes using lemon. I have been fortunate to be given some Bush Lemons this week, and have made Lemon Curd with some of them. It's nice to be able to give a bottle of  my Lemon curd back to my generous friend as a thank you for the lemons. Most larger Australian properties particularly in the subtropics, always had a Bush Lemon tree in the backyard in years gone by, and they still tend to self seed in the bush. However they are very prickly, so if you find one take care when picking the knobbly looking fruit.



Lemon butter is delicious on toast for breakfast, or on scones. It also transforms into a very quick and easy morning or afternoon tea when used to fill small tart shells, which are available already baked from the supermarkets. Or if you feel like doing some fiddly pastry baking, make your own. I can remember my Mum and my dear old Aunts using it to sandwich together sponge cakes for Church afternoon teas and fetes, and then just sprinkling icing sugar over the top layer. They were always delicious. Another idea with a sponge cake was to hollow out a recess in the top and fill it with lemon curd.  We are only limited by our imagination really and lemon curd is still a favourite across the generations.

However beware, there is a lot of stirring and meditation involved in making this recipe. So make yourself a cup of tea, put on some nice relaxing music and prepare to spend some time at the stove. There are no shortcuts with making Lemon curd as I found out with my second batch, when I thought I would increase the heat slightly. Whilst it didn't boil or  curdle, there were just a few faint white streaks through  the mixture, where the egg white had started to cook, so patience and lots of stirring on a low to moderate heat is the key.  However the streaks haven't affected the consistency or the flavour. I just won't win first prize in the cooking section at the Agricultural Show this year with that batch, Ha, ha.

Keep stirring slowly until the mixture starts to thicken, and with my first batch I wasn't sure if it was thick enough as it can be hard to tell from the mixture in a hot saucepan. To test the consistency I placed a small amount on a small saucer and it set beautifully straight away, so it was ready to ladle into hot, sterilised jars. I filled two average size jam jars from the first batch and three smaller jars from the second batch.





Lemon Curd recipe

Ingredients:

2 large lemons, or 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
100g unsalted butter
175 g sugar
3 eggs, lightly whisked and strained

Finely grate the the zest and juice the lemons.
In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the butter, lemon juice, zest and sugar. Stir constantly over the heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the whisked and strained eggs to the saucepan off the heat and stir to mix well.

Cook the mixture over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened.

Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle.

This recipe is taken from Stephanie Alexander's book, "The cook's companion".

If you happen to make this recipe or really like lemon curd, or remember Bush Lemons growing in  your backyard, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for visiting and have a lovely weekend.

Best wishes

Pauline


3 comments:

  1. Pauline I remember there was lots of stirring when I was making mandarin curd a few years back. I haven't made any this year though. We do have a lemon tree but it only produced three lemons. LOL! It really needs to be planted out as it is not happy in a pot obviously.

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    1. Perhaps your tree just needs moving to a sunnier spot Chel, and a good dose of something. Our lime tree in a pot has been the same this year so we moved it.

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  2. We love lemon curd and yours looks nice and lemony. I made a fruit curd the other week and I will use it on scones and other delicious things.

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