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March 4, 2010

Butter (Recipe: Meyer lemon curd)

 Meyer lemon curd

Boter, smør, manteiga, beurre, unt, maslac, mantequilla, buddah.

That's how you say butter in Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Croatian, Spanish, and Rhode Island.

No matter how you pronounce it, all butter is created in the same way, by beating cream until the fats separate from the liquid. As the cream is beaten, the fat globules begin to stick together, forming the butter. In the United States, products sold as "butter" must contain a minimum of 80% butterfat. European butters, which are now available in some American markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, often contain up to 85% butterfat.

An important thing to know about butter:
Don't store butter in the refrigerator door, even if the manufacturer has built a handy little compartment for it. The temperature fluctuates each time the door opens, and shortens the shelf-life of the butter. As a rule, store unopened butter sticks in the refrigerator for up to one month beyond the sell-by date, or in the freezer for up to nine months. When possible, buy butter in tubs with tight-fitting lids.

More about butter on The Perfect Pantry:
Ten things I know about butter.
Things to know about unsalted butter.

A fun fact about butter:
Madame Tussauds, step aside. Butter sculptures of Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Richard Nixon, Darth Vader, Neil Armstrong, Harry Potter, Marilyn Monroe, John McCain and Barack Obama have graced some of the largest state fairs in the United States.

 

Meyer lemon curd

Meyer lemon curd

Meyer lemons are a delightful cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, which gives them a sweeter tartness than Eureka lemons. When a box found its way to Costco, and then to our kitchen, my husband Ted made several batches of this lemon curd. Makes approximately 1-1/2 cups.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
Grated zest of two Meyer lemons
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
6 eggs

Directions

Put all ingredients, except eggs, into a nonreactive bowl set over a pot of simmering water. When the butter has melted and before the mixture is too warm, gradually whisk in the beaten eggs. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened to the consistency of instant pudding, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a while. Then place the curd in a container, cover, and store in the refrigerator.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Green grapefruit curd
Scotch shortbread
Lemon-currant biscotti
Cardamom shortbread
Polenta with braised wild mushrooms
Currant-cardamom scones
Banana or strawberry quesadillas

Recipes that use butter:
Salted butter caramel ice cream from David Lebovitz
Butter pecan cookies from Simply Recipes
Butter paneer masala from Sailu's Kitchen
Popcorn with brown butter, rosemary and lemon from Andrea Meyers
Brussels sprouts with brown butter and hazelnuts from Cooking with Amy

Comments

Have you tried a half and half mixture of homemade lemon curd and greek style yoghurt as an accompaniment to fresh fruit or a plain cake? YUM

I like more of your personal anecdotes. This seems a little too much like the first ten things you'd find if you googled butter.

I know several people that keep their butter out on the counter all the time. I would never do that but I am wondering what you think of that.

I like this format - lots of easy reference points. And as my new refrigerator arrives on Saturday, I promise never to store the butter in the door compartment!

I always leave a stick of butter on the counter - except during the hottest days of summer where it will turn rancid. I think the info provided is just right, Lydia. I love the side story and the recipes!

I store butter in the fridge door -- but I go through it fast enough that it doesn't seem to matter.

Thanks for the Rhode Island translation ...I had always wondered :)

I always have butter out @ room temp in a covered earthenware dish until the warmer months. Who wants cold butter on toast?
If you use it daily, it does not suffer in taste or go rancid.

If any of you get a chance, try the butter from vermont butter and cheese company:
http://www.vermontcreamery.com/ It is very nice. Not found in every supermarket but not that hard to locate either.

p.s. Im also curious about keeping butter outside of the fridge

Thanks for the tip about storing butter Lydia...who knew. You can pass me some lemon curd anytime!!!

Oh Butter! How do I love thee? but I am sorry to say butter you will have to take your place behind your cousins Cheese and Ice Cream!

I don't use a lot of butter so I guess I should get it out of the refrigerator door! You are always full of information; that's what I like most no matter what the format is.

Lidia- first of all I want to tell you I really enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing it with all of us : ) I also was wondering if I could use agave nectar instead of sugar for the lemon curd, do you think it would change the texture of the curd? I've been trying to use agave nectar in place of refine sugar in a lot of my cooking, it can be a little challenging when it comes to baking though, or making any types of dessert.
If you have any tips regarding this subject I'll really appreciate it : )

Salted butter can be left on the counter indefinitely... if it lasts that long :)
The salt acts as a preservative.
Unsalted butter shouldn't be left on the counter at all. Much to the chagrin of my kitty (who adores butter), we keep ours in an earthenware container called a butter bell so we always have room temperature butter to spread on toast or to use to butter a baking dish. It is less messy than just leaving a stick on the counter.

Yum - is there anything better than butter?
I would so love to try Meyer lemons, I hope they make it up here soon.

I am salivating over that meyer lemon curd...seriously!

I think this post has a good blend of information, whimsy, facts, recipes and photo. I like that your posts are not overly wordy but are set out attractively with headings so that one could easily skip over a category if it were of lesser interest.

I enjoy making butter with different fruits. I just finished making one with papaya and mango. Must try yours.

Norma
platanos, magoes and me

I am a friend of Foodalogue

I like your blog no matter what your format! And my store has meyer lemons on sale this week!

Another vote for VT Butter and Cheese butter. Even with my limited experience, it's the best I've had. This recipe is what I've been waiting for -- something that will show off the 2 precious Meyer Lemons I bought. Thanks.

I love that quote from No Reservations,

'What are the three secrets of French cooking?'

'Butter, butter and butter!'

I had a nasty experience with European cultured butter when making a burnt butter sauce. It spat liberally at me before all the solids turned jet black at the same moment.

Oh this looks so good and glossily yellow! Hafta love lemon curd.

Just the right amount of info (especially considering the links), but if you think you might err at all, let it be w/ more info rather than less.

Can't quite imagine what this tastes like. Meyer lemon seems so tame compared with Eureka lemon, but would be lovely on scones, I'm sure.

Love the color of your lemon curd, Lydia! And oh butter, i love it!

I never know I can freeze butter!

Morven, I have; in fact, I posted a similar recipe last year. It's a delicious combination.

Amy, Joan, Susan, Pam: thanks for your feedback. I do appreciate it.

Daryl, Dawn, I'm reluctant to advise or approve that because the condition of the butter will be affected by weather, air, whether the butter is salted or not -- just too many variables. Refrigeration is safer, especially if, like me, you don't eat butter every day.

TW, I'm sure you'll find another use for that butter compartment. I keep parmesan cheese rinds in mine.

Kate, I'm not an every-day butter person, so I don't leave butter out, but I know lots of people who do.

Milton, Susan G: Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. products are sold at some of the markets near me, but not at all of them. I do like their butter.

Val, you'll have to fight my husband for the lemon curd around here. He eats it with a spoon, right from the jar!

Carol, agreed. Cheese comes first for me, too.

Kalyn, for everyday I've switched to Smart Balance, but I still use real butter for baking and occasional treats.

Winny, excellent question, and I honestly don't know the answer. Certainly the water content of the agave would affect the final product. And consider the role of sugar, which gives structure to the curd. Let me do some research and get back to you on this one.

Natashya, Meyer lemons are certainly beginning to travel. They've made it to Rhode Island!

Bridget, they are truly delicious. Can you find them in Texas?

Norma, those fruit butters sound delicious.

Neil, that butter sounds vicious! High water content, maybe?

Diva, it is lovely. Hope you'll try it.

Anh, yes, butter freezes quite well.

Being a baker, especially at Christmas time, I buy butter on sale and freeze it in plastic freezer bags. I also keep my butter, in its covered pyrex dish, on the counter 8 or 9 months of the year. That butter bin in the fridge door is used for cheese and such. Right now it holds my fresh mozzarella.

There is NO such thing as too much information about butter!

Lemon curd is one of those things I have mixed feelings about making. On the one hand, it always gets eaten. On the other hand, it mostly gets eaten by me. In a few sittings.

In my part of England we call this lemon cheese. It's delicious by any name!

I think this is a pretty thorough description of butter making for first timers. I'm happy to say that I used this recipe and it turned out very well! I'm happy about that too.. I usually don't get things right on the first try, so that means instructions were great!

My mixture never got thick "like instant pudding," it just stayed liquidy, even after stirring for 35 minutes! I wonder what I did wrong.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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