On a day like today, I really miss sunnier times such as earlier in April when I made the French lemon tart pictured below.
Fortunately, I had the perfect excuse to make a batch of lemon curd for a gathering with friends last night.
I contemplated making the tart again, but since the occasion was also a bon voyage of sorts, I decided a cake would be more appropriate.
I had made this cake a couple times before, and I'd have to say it is my favourite.
The layers - Rose Levy Beranbaum's White Chocolate Whisper Cake - is ethereal and is the kind that can be enjoyed simply on its own. Sweet notes of vanilla from the white chocolate is suitably complemented by the tart lemon curd.
My evening with friends turned out wonderfully - great food and fun conversations were had near a cozy fireplace.
The recipe for White Chocolate Whisper Cake is in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible. It seems to be a well-loved recipe since a Google search yields many sites that feature it.
Martha has the classic proportions of lemon curd, and her recipe is my stand-by.
When cooking lemon curd, make sure to use a non-reactive pan (i.e., not metal) to avoid an off taste.
The trick is getting the curd to reach that thick consistency without having the eggs scramble. Those who are very careful will resort to a bain-marie, which stretches a five-minute endeavour to half an hour.
My suggestion is to place your pan directly on a stove set to low:
Have a silicone or rubber spatula. Slowly but continuously stir the egg/lemon juice/sugar mixture, making sure that the spatula is scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. Start at a low setting and when the mixture starts getting thick begin to scrape/stir more aggressively.
If stirring is too quick at the outset, the mixture loses heat and it will take longer to cook; if stirring is not quick enough towards the end, the bottom might begin to scorch.
There are several ways to determine if you have reached your endpoint. The safest and easiest way is to use an instant-read thermometer. When it registers 160 F, the curd is ready. For the more intrepid, the end point is when a spatula draws a line into the curd when the bottom of the pan is scraped.
Have a wonderful Holiday, everyone.
Up next: my annual bûche de Noël and meringue mushrooms. Check out last year's rendition.