My friend and neighbour asked her children to pop down into the garden to pick some lemons off their tree, keep them entertained while dinner was being prepared. I suppose the trick with young children is you need to be specify exactly how many lemons you want them to pick otherwise it turns into a game and they merrily pick away all the lemons within reach which is what happened and why I was the receiver of an armful of beautiful, thick skinned, very large juicy lemons. We use a lot of lemons and limes in a week but this was even a little too many for us in our every day cuisine so I decided to make lemon curd. When you lead a busy life and are permanently rushed for time, standing over a pot stirring and waiting for curd it to thicken could be hit and miss, if like me you are attempting to multitask at the same time. I decided to give the microwave method a go and hoped I wouldn’t end up with lemony eggs as I wasn’t sold on the idea apart from the time factor. I was amazed how easy it was, with no scrambled egg in sight, as a result I will never toil over a stove again to make curd. The key is to cook the mixture in short bursts in the microwave and whisk in between every burst of cooking time. I normally treat my curd like gold and if you get a jar you are honored indeed when it takes so long to make I tend to hide it at the back of my cupboard but this method was so quick I gave all the jars of curd away with the same speed it was made, knowing I can whip up a batch any time.
Once you have a batch of lemon curd, the dessert table beckons you to bake, easy shortbread turns into delightfully special treats and the traditional Victoria Sandwich Cake becomes a little more royal.
This is also my submission for our monthly blogging event Sweet New Zealand which is being hosted by Sue over at Couscous and Consciousness
Microwave Lemon Curd
Ingredients -4 x 200ml jars
4 lemons, juice & zest
Sterilise your jars & lids by boiling in water for 10 minutes.
Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a plastic bowl, I use plastic because it doesn’t heat as much as glass or ceramic (less likely to get scrambled egg).
Add the butter to the bowl.
Place bowl in microwave on high for 1 minute , remove and whisk. The butter will only be partially melted.
Heat again for 1 minute in microwave, remove and whisk. If the butter has already melted and the liquid is getting warm start heating for 30 seconds bursts only and remove from microwave in between each 30 seocnds and whisk before heating again.
Once the lemon curd has thickened it is done. Pour into sterilized jars and seal with lid.
Lemon Curd Shortbread Biscuits – makes 12 minis
150g plain flour
1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean
Pre-heat oven to 200C
Place sugar, flour, butter into a food processor and whiz them until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Then pulse slowly until the mixture comes to a dough, do not over mix at this stage.
Remove biscuit dough from the food processor and place between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper.
Roll the shortbread out to 1/2 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles. With half of the biscuits cut out a smaller whole in the centre, I used a large piping nozzle. Re-roll the scraps of dough and cut out further biscuits until all the dough is used.
Place on a non stick baking tray with a little space between biscuits and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To serve, add a dollop of lemon curd to the base biscuit and top with a ‘wholy’ biscuit. Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for a week without their curd filling. I recommend adding the curd before you serve them.
Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake
250g SR Flour
4 free range eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean
Preheat the oven to 180C
Butter and line with greaseproof paper the base and sides of 2 x 20cm cake tins
Place the butter, vanilla bean seeds or paste and sugar in a large bowl and beat or whisk together until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well between each addition.
Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much air.
Spoon the mixture into the tins and smooth the top.
Bake cakes in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, do NOT be tempted to open the oven before this time is up as this sponge cake is sensitive and likely to sink if not fully cooked. Cake will be golden brown when cooked and spring back when touched.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before filling with lemon curd and whipped cream.
Filling & Assembly
Whip 300ml of whipping cream to soft peak
Spread 200ml of lemon curd over the base sponge and top with whipped cream
Place second sponge on top of cream and dust top with icing sugar