JeanMarie Brownson: Lemon curd pudding brightens your Easter brunch
Bright, yellow lemons just feel like spring. Grill lemon halves alongside chicken; use the zest in a marinade for leg of lamb; float thin slices in sparkling water; squeeze the juice over the season’s first asparagus.
Early spring also is a great time to cook up a batch of lemon curd. It’s easy to do and so versatile for everything from a pancake topping, spread over toast or swirled over vanilla ice cream for a refreshing sundae.
For Easter brunch, bright yellow lemon curd can be swirled into whipped cream and mascarpone for layering with lemon syrup-soaked ladyfingers for a bright, citrusy pudding. The mascarpone cream and ladyfingers prove reminiscent of tiramisu, sans the coffee and chocolate. This version reminds us of all the limoncello we enjoyed on Italy’s Amalfi Coast one spring vacation.
There’s not much technique to making silky curd — the most important skill is patience during the cooking. Stay at the stove, stirring to protect the delicate egg yolks from overcooking. They need to be just hot enough to thicken, but not so hot they cook into firm curds.
You’ll need a couple of tools. First, a sharper grater or zester to remove the rinds from fresh lemons. Secondly, a medium mesh strainer — such as the inexpensive versions sold in the cookware aisle at large grocery stores — will help you achieve the smoothest finished lemon curd. A heatproof or silicone spatula, or a flat-edged wooden spoon, allows the cook to feel the egg mixture on the bottom of the pan as it cooks.
The lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more. Serve it cold or at room temperature.
For the lemon pudding, use ladyfingers such as those from Alessi brand also known as Biscotti Savoiardi. You can substitute madeleines, slices of sponge cake or pound cake, or vanilla wafers. Bottled lemon curd can be used for a time saver. The pudding will keep a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 cups
3 or 4 large lemons