Meyer Lemon Curd

This past summer, right after Casper was born, my mom bought me a couple of plants for the yard–a squat, red Japanese maple, a lilac, and two jasmine plants. It was our first trip out of the house and Casper was only a few days old. I wore him in my Solly wrap and wandered Portland Nursery in what I can only describe as a new-mom-haze–a mixture of emotions running from sentimental, to overwhelmed, to smitten. While we were there I spotted a wee Meyer lemon tree and always the giver, my mom bought it,  potted it, and popped in my house by our back door. It’s a glass slider door that gets a ton of afternoon light and my little citrus has been growing pretty well, I think. It sprouted a few little lemons, to our surprise, but it really won’t bear much fruit for a couple of years. Until then, I will prune the waxy leaves, try to keep Casper from eating the potting soil, and buy my Meyer lemons from the store and turn them into lemon curd until my home-grown citrus dreams come true.

Lemon curd is one if my favorite sweet-tart condiments. Meyer lemons have the faintest flavor of tangerine that balances the tartness, making this curd just a touch sweeter than traditional lemon curds. It’s amazing smeared onto a cream scone or biscuit, prefect In a pastry shell, and delicious with shortbread cookies. Next week I’ll be posting a frozen treat I swirled with this curd, so stay tuned!!


Print Recipe

Meyer Lemon Curd

about 2 cups curd

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup fresh meyer lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

zest of 1 meyer lemon

In a saucepan combine all of the ingredients, whisk to break up the eggs. Set the pan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. The curd is thick enough when it coats a spoon so when you run a finger over the back of the spoon the curd doesn’t run back together. Remove from the heat and scrape the curd into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and press it through to sieve out the zest. Pour the curd into a heatproof jar to cool. Cover and store the cooled curd in the refrigerator for 1 week.


Cranberry Semifreddo Cups

Are you tired of pumpkin yet?

I’m totes not…but, maybe we need a teensy break. Besides, fall has other stars! Pink ones even, like the tart and native-North-American-beauty, the cranberry. In my head I’m saying “cran-brerry,” in case you wanted to know. Anyway, cranberries shouldn’t just be relegated to side dish status. They are tart, a little bitter, and have the prettiest jewel-toned hue.

I’m a big fan of semifreddo, it’s a lot like ice cream–but it isn’t. It’s a little less fussy, since you don’t have to bust out a machine to churn it, but still manages to maintain a light-yet-rich character.  The deep fuchsia cranberry puree turns the best shade of pink when folded into the semifreddo base–no dyes up in here. A little vanilla and some bourbon bring warmth to the bittersweet tang of the cranberry, while whipped cream and egg yolks bring creamy lushness. Even though it’s a pretty easy recipe, this dessert certainly feels fancy and would be a perfect make-a-head treat to round out a fall or holiday gathering.

Cranberry Semifreddo Cups

Adapted from this recipe. 

You could use another fruit puree if you aren’t feeling, or can’t find, cranberries. Any tart, red fruit would be a nice substitute. You can also serve this semifreddo in scoops or smooth it into a loaf pan before freezing and slice once frozen (like this). I garnished these cups with lightly sweetened whipped cream and some chocolate vermicelli sprinkles. I happen to like tart cranberry with chocolate, but if you aren’t a fan, these are lovely unadorned as well. The recipe below produces more cranberry puree than needed–use it to serve these semifreddo cups or save for another use. 

12 ounces cranberries

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons mild honey

2 Tablespoons sugar

3 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons bourbon (optional)

In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, 2/3 cup sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat until cranberries burst and release their juices and the mixture starts to thicken. Press the cranberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discard skins and seeds. You will have around 2 cups of cranberry puree. Set aside to cool.

Create an ice bath and set aside.

Fashion a double boiler out of a bowl and a pot with a bit of simmering water in it–place a dampened paper towel on the underside of the bowl, making sure it is just larger than the pot below, to avoid slipping while whisking. This way you are able to whisk without steadying the bowl with your other hand.

Place the honey, remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and egg yolks in the bowl. Whisk over the simmering pan of water until the yolk mixture gains some volume, becomes pale in color, and the whisk is just beginning to leave tracks in the mixture. Slowly drizzle in the vanilla and bourbon–whisking the whole time. Continue to whisk the yolk mixture over the simmering water until thickened and the whisk leaves clear, visible tracks in the yolk mixture. Remove the bowl from over the pot of water and whisk over an ice bath until cooled. Gently fold about 1-1 1/3 cups of the cranberry puree into the yolk mixture.

In a clean bowl, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Fold in 1/3 of the cream mixture into the cooled yolk and cranberry mixture. Once combined, repeat with the remaining whipped cream. Spoon the semifreddo mix into cups, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for several hours until very firm. Serve cold with desired garnishes.

Recipe: Espresso + Toasted Almond Semifreddo

I really love coffee.

When I was a small child, I would relish visits to my grandparents house…not only for the blackberry picking expeditions and days tromping through the woods surrounding their Sierra foothills home, but, because for breakfast there were often waffles with strawberries and cream AND a mug of sugary milk with a splash of coffee.

That creamy-sweet, slightly coffee flavored mug of goodness was a serious treat. My mom never made it a practice to allow us to have soda, let alone coffee as kids. The only exception (besides trips to grandma and grandpa’s) was when we would go to Baskin Robbins for a scoop–or if we were really lucky, a double–my brother always got a classic kid-friendly flavor, like bubble gum, but I ALWAYS got jamoca almond fudge. Coffee, almonds, and a fudge swirl. So good.

This semifreddo is reminiscent of those childhood days, when coffee-flavored treats felt so mature to my kid-palate. The texture of the semifreddo is somewhere between an ice cream and a mousse–all without the need for a machine to churn it all. It’s flavored with instant espresso, sweet cream, toasty almonds, and creamy almond butter. It’s great on it’s own, but, serving scoops in a puddle of chocolate sauce makes this dessert a touch fancier… Definitely something my young-self would have been into.

Espresso + Toasted Almond Semifreddo

adapted from Pumpkin Semifreddo

I use instant espresso powder in this recipe for ease and because I really like it in desserts.   If you’re feeling fancy, you could definitely brew a few shots, cool, and fold those into the mixture before folding in the almonds and freezing. 

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 Tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder–divided

3 Tablespoons honey

3 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons water

3 large egg yolks

2 Tablespoons almond butter

1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted almonds

Sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of espresso powder over the cream in a large bowl to dissolve. Once dissolved, whip the cream to medium peaks. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Make an ice bath in a clean sink basin or a large bowl. In a large, heatproof bowl whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon espresso powder, honey, sugar, water, and egg yolks. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and the whisk leaves visible tracks. Remove from heat and continue to whisk over the ice bath until cooled. Fold in the almond butter. Stir in about 1/3 of the prepared whipped cream, then fold in the remaining whipped cream, and lastly fold in the chopped almonds. Scrape the mixture into a container, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 4 hours to set.

Spiced Chocolate Sauce

adapted from The Perfect Scoop

I only made a small quantity of sauce, this is 1/4 of the original recipe. 

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder

1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped or chips

1/16-1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan combine water, honey, and cocoa powder, bring to a low boil, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate, spices, and vanilla. Can be used warm or room temperature.