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A Lesson on Lime Curd

April 20, 2016

lime curd

A friend recently asked me for my lemon butter recipe and after directing her to this site, I realised that I didn’t have a normal non-vegan version published so I thought I better remedy that pronto! She actually wanted to make lime curd having been inspired by an article on TV and figured lemons, limes – same, same!

My Nanna was renowned for her lemon butter recipe. Her recipe in pounds and ounces was a sure-fire winner and I spent much of my youth making and bottling the stuff to sell to the customers of a local restaurant nearby. Alas it had equal measures of sugar and butter which make it far too sweet for my palate now but the secret was not in the dulcitude, but in the lemon rind that imparts the flavour.

I have adapted her recipe somewhat; paring the sugar back considerably and using honey as well. Again, the secret to maximising the flavour is in the lime zest, and using plenty of it…. But unfortunately lime zest goes a dreadful khaki colour when cooked, which doesn’t look very appetising.  If you don’t want little specks in your lime curd, you can always strain them out before bottling.

I’m not sure when ‘lemon butter’ became ‘lemon curd’ but my Nanna always called it lemon butter. ‘Lemon curd’ is originally English in origin dating back to the early 1800’s. The recipe back then was rather literal and not at all how we’d think of lemon curd these days  – lemon acidulating cream to form curds then separated from the whey through a cheesecloth. Much more like a cheese.

Then there was ‘lemon cheese’ which was used to make lemon tarts. Original recipes advise to ‘rasp hard pieces of sugar’ against the lemon’s skin in order to remove the zest to extract essence and colour.

But modern recipes call for the addition of eggs and butter, and it is considered more of a ‘velvety custard’ than a jam, in fact, it’s not curd or cheese-like at all. I can’t find out if there is any difference between lemon butter and lemon curd, aside from semantics, as most recipes appear to be the same. Perhaps lemon butter is an Australian thing? Perhaps my Nanna called it lemon butter because she put so much butter in it!!

Now back to our lemons & limes.

Genetically, the lemon is a hybrid of 3 plants (citrus maxima, citrus reticulata & citrus medica). The common lime is a hybrid of up to 5 plants, depending on the breed (citrus maxima, citrus reticulata, citrus medica and citrus micrantha). We all know that lemons taste more sour than limes, with limes having a smoother, more fragrant taste. The nutrient value of lemons and limes are very similar in that they both contain lots of vitamin C; lemons have slightly more vitamin C but only contain half the calcium that limes have. Oh, and the common lime will never have any seeds, which is both equally helpful and disturbing at the same time!!

Rind of 2 limes

150g lime juice

150g unsalted butter, softened

4 eggs + 1 egg yolk

50g honey (or brown rice syrup)

30g – 50g light coconut sugar

stevia to taste (optional)

Mill the rind and sugar together on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on SP 3 at 90ºC for 15 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and check for consistency. If you would prefer it thicker, cook for 5 minutes longer. Bottle in sterilised jars and seal when cold. Keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Use on my yummy birthday cheesecake recipe which is coming up next!




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