My Mum’s been on holiday to Sorrento. While she’s been away I’ve been popping in occasionally to look after the cats and water plants, etc. I’m always worried that people will think I’m a burglar, so I always talk really loudly to the cats: ‘hello Harreeeee! Are you missing your mummmeeeeee?’. It’s now dawned on me that rather than being labelled a burglar, my mother’s neighbours think I’m some sort of weird cat whisperer wannabe. Ah well.
True to the English Mum philosophy of nothing going right if it can go wrong, I was startled awake the morning of her return at 1.30am by a phone call: ‘it’s me’, said my Mum, ‘you locked me out’. Ah. I’d managed to leave the key in the back door when locking it from the inside, not realising that she hadn’t taken a front door key with her. No matter. I drove down and let her in. Whilst there, she handed me a suspicious, nobbly parcel. It was obviously a good pressie as she was pretty pleased with herself. Delving deeper, it turned out to be THE BIGGEST LEMON THAT YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE. One of my twitter followers named it ‘The Lemonster’. Here it is next to a lemon from my fruit bowl:
During the following lemony discussions, it turned out that most people have never made lemon curd OR Limoncello. Both of which are dead easy. I’ll start with lemon curd. Once you’ve got the basic recipe, you can make lots of different kinds of curd – I’ve made berry before, and you can make lime, passion fruit… basically any juice that’s nice and sharp will translate well into a lemon curd.
You will need:
2 lemons, zested and juiced (or about 6 tablespoons of sharp, fresh juice)
100g butter (I use salted as I think it brings out the flavour)
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs, plus 1 extra yolk
Take a saucepan and add in the juice, zest (if using citrus fruits), butter and caster sugar. Melt it all together slowly until the sugar is all dissolved.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until well combined (if you’re being restauranty here, you can sift the egg to remove any lumps of white).
Now, take the warm juice/butter mixture and gently pour a little bit into the egg, whisking all the time, then a bit more, then a bit more, until you’ve combined about half of it with the eggs.
Pop that lot back into the saucepan and keep whisking and gently simmering until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. If it’s really not going to thicken, you can help it along by popping in another egg yolk and whisking again until it does. Remember it will continue to thicken as it cools.
If you’re potting it up, make sure your jars are sterilised (good sterilising advice from my friend Mammy’s Kitchen right here), but if you’re using it straight away, or pouring it into a tart case, let it cool a bit, remembering to stir it occasionally to keep it from getting a skin on. When it’s about room temperature, pour it into the pastry case and pop into the fridge to cool.
A sealed jar will keep for a good few months in the fridge, but opened jars should be eaten within about a week.
Sorrento sounds utterly fabulous, by the way. Tempted to pop over and pick up a few more enormous lemons.