Chef’s Corner: Melissa Clark’s Lemon Curd with Poppy Seeds


Every Friday, we feature a chef’s recipe. Special thanks to Melissa Clark, Contributing Editor and weekly recipe columnist for Gilt Taste, for this week’s contribution!

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 2 1/2 lemons)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
Pinch salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1. In a double boiler or a stainless steel medium bowl set on top of a medium heavy-bottomed pot with 2 inches of simmering water, combine the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt. Stir constantly, with a whisk, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides, while the liquid thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 12 to 14 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until dissolved. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve. Whisk in lemon zest. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd and chill completely. Stir in the poppy seeds when cold.

My Take:
For this week’s Chef’s Corner, I decided to change things up. In short, I made the Lemon Curd with Poppy Seeds. I was very intrigued by the recipe, partly because I’d never attempted curd. I’m happy to say it was very easy. If you have the patience and arm strength to whisk for 15 minutes, this recipe is for you. I loved the end product! It wasn’t overly lemony and the poppy seeds really gave the curd a wonderful pop with each bite.

Thanks to kindness of Gilt Taste, I was able to pair the curd with one of their delicious products…Francois Payard’s Lemon Pound Cake.  I was a little worried about pairing lemon pound cake with lemon curd, but there was no problem at all. In fact, it was perfect…very subtle lemon flavors.

And, as you can see, feel free to get creative with the presentation.  Orders of the pound cake come in 12 individually-wrapped slices.  This would be a wonderful summertime dessert to prepare for entertaining.  Suggestion: Just cut the cake into smaller, stick-like pieces…perfect for dipping into the curd.

If lemon isn’t your thing, check out some of Melissa’s other curd recipes!

Rhubarb Curd
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

10 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into pieces

1. Puree the rhubarb in the food processor until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes (add a few teaspoons of water if necessary to help the rhubarb move though try to keep this to a minimum so it doesn’t dilute the juice). Pour into a bowl lined with cheese cloth. Tighten the cheese cloth and squeeze out the juice with your hands, discarding the pulp. You should get about 2/3 cup of juice.

2. In a double boiler or a stainless steel medium bowl set on top of a medium heavy-bottomed pot with 2 inches of simmering water, combine the rhubarb juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks and salt. Stir constantly, with a whisk, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides, while the liquid thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until dissolved.

3. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve and chill completely. Store, refrigerated, in an air-tight container.

Mango Lime Curd
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups diced ripe mango
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

1. In a food processor, puree the mango until smooth; strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl (you should have about 1 cup puree). Stir in the sugar, lime juice, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and yolks. Stir the egg mixture into the mango puree. Stir in the butter.

3. Scrape mixture into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-lowheat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the curd thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil.

4. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in lime zest. Pressplastic wrap directly onto surface of curd; chill until firm.

Raspberry-Rose Curd
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 to 2 (6-ounce) containers fresh raspberries, as needed
2 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 pieces
2 teaspoons rose syrup or 1/2 teaspoon rose water

1. Place a fine mesh strainer over a larger mixing bowl. Place half the raspberries in the strainer and, using a spatula, push the berries through the strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much puree as possible. You should have about 1/2 cup puree. If your berries are less juicy, you will need more; press additional berries through the strainer if necessary.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and eggs. Whisk in the puree,sugar, and lemon juice. Transfer to a large saucepan. Place pan over mediumheat and, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula (make sure to stir thebottom and edges of the pot), cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 10minutes. Do not let it come to a boil.

3. Remove from heat immediately and pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Whisk in the rose syrup. Let cool 5 minutes, then transfer mixture to a small container and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

*Note: Image of Melissa Clark provided by Gilt Taste

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