i like to bake. cakes and pies and biscuits and bread. sometimes i make lemon curd and sticky jam and put it in pretty little jars. i sell it all at markets. and then i write about it here.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

a double (boiler) delight

This is my brand new slash very old kitchen utensil. Call me dull but this excites me to the point that I will write about it on this here blog. Culinary gadgets excite me, full stop. Take me to a cook shop and I will happily spend more time than is necessary (or normal) browsing, seeking out the new inventions that endevour to make our lives hassle-free. Heart-shaped cake tins, pudding steamers, edible glitter spray, jelly moulds, foldaway pans, floral cupcake wrappers and electric jam makers. I would buy it all if I had the money and the space. And I would probably never use most of it.

So, a weekend spent with Ian's family resulted in driving home armed with his nan's old double boiler. Her days of whisking up a condiment or two are over and it has long been sat in a cupboard, collecting dust. I gladly took it off her hands and out of her way. This latest addition to my kitchen will put paid to precariously balancing bowls over saucepans of boiling water to melt only a few squares of chocolate, water splashing in to spoil everything or worse still, the bowl tipping, leaving me with nothing but a burnt-on mess. Or perhaps that's just me. A double boiler is also perfect for making lemon curd - keeping it away from the direct heat prevents the eggs from scrambling - and my kitchen was soon filled with the fresh, citrusy scent of lemon juice and sugar bubbling away on the hob. There are so many different recipes for lemon curd. Some use whole eggs but this one calls for the yolks only. It finished up smooth, silky and thick, just as it should be. This is best spread thickly onto a slice of crusty toast. Or eaten with a spoon, straight out of the jar.

lemon curd
3 lemons
220g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated

100g butter 
1. Grate the zest of all 3 lemons and squeeze the juice from them.
2. Mix the lemon juice, zest, butter and caster sugar together in a double boiler (or if you don't have one, a bowl over a simmering pan of water will do the job!) Bring to a simmer and stir until the butter has melted and all of the sugar has dissolved.
3. Beat together the egg yolks only and then beat these into the lemon juice mix. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens slightly. This should take about 10 minutes.
4. Take off the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve to get rid of the lemon rind.
5. Heat up a jar with boiling water. Pour the lemon curd into the hot jar and seal. The lemon curd will thicken as it cools down. Mmmmm.