The first lemon curd I tasted was made by a talented pastry chef in New York City named Paul Geltner. He was teaching a French pastry class in a tiny restaurant in Greenwich village, and I got to attend at half-price because I washed all the dishes afterward. The best part was that after each class we could bring home our creations. Since I was in college at the time, this meant bringing a very expensive and sophisticated gateau or tart back to the unruly gang at my dorm. I’d get about ten yards down the hall before my dorm-mates would attack the pastry. Within minutes, it would be demolished.
Although the lemon curd was used as a filling for a fruit tart in Paul’s class, I use it here more casually, as a dip for fresh berries and cherries.
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ pound fresh cherries
- 1 pint attractive strawberries
1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs. Whisk in the sugar, then the lemon juice. Pour this mixture into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat, and whisk the mixture constantly until it is very hot, about 5 minutes. Continue to whisk the mixture until it thickens (don’t worry if the sauce bubbles or boils a little), about 5 minutes more.
2. Take the saucepan off the heat. Add the butter in three or four parts, whisking all the while. Pour the sauce into an attractive bowl, and chill it for at least 1½ hours.
3. Place the strawberries and the cherries in another bowl or on a plate. Serve the curd as a dip with the fruit.