Regular readers of this blog will know that I made lemon curd a few weeks ago. Very delicious it was too, but as I have an Aga it was quite hair-raising trying to save it from becoming lemon flavoured scrambled eggs. This was because I was trying to save time and I was making it directly in a saucepan rather than in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
When I went to judge Shropshire’s Tastiest Sausage, the event was held at an Aga shop and the great thing about Aga shops is that everyone who works there is very knowledgeable about cooking on an Aga. I spoke to the Sales Advisor, (who is a trained chef and offers one to one demonstrations on how to use an Aga), about my difficulties with my lemon curd and he suggested I read Richard Maggs’ The Complete Book of Aga Know-How as he has a method for making lemon curd in a jar in the simmering oven. Now, I have cooked on an Aga since 1995 and so thought I knew quite a lot about the art of cooking on an Aga, but this book has been really useful in revealing tips about conserving and controlling heat that I hadn’t really thought about before.
The Aga method for making lemon curd worked really well. It isn’t a recipe that is done and dusted in half an hour though, but it is one that means you can just leave it to do its thing and it is great if you are doing other things in the kitchen, so you can be there to add the ingredients and give the jar a shake from time to time.
I used Mary Berry’s recipe from The Aga Book, as I think it is a winner, with just the right amount of lemon. This time though I used 5 egg yolks and made meringues with the egg whites to eat with the lemon curd.
For this recipe you need a sterile kilner or large jar. If you are using a kilner jar remove the rubber seal whilst making the curd. Richard Maggs suggests that you can store the curd in the same jar as you make it, but he obviously isn’t as messy as I am, so if you too are a messy cook I suggest sterilising one or two jars by washing them and rinsing them very well and then leaving them in the simmering oven (or a low oven at about 140°c) for twenty minutes.
100g (4oz) butter
225g (8oz) caster sugar
3 lemons, the finely grated rind and juice
5 egg yolks or 3 whole eggs, beaten
Put the butter and the sugar in the jar, close the lid and place in the simmering oven for 30 minutes. Take the jar out and add the rind and juice of the lemons. Put the lid back on and give the jar a good shake. Put it back into the simmering oven for another 30 minutes. By this time the sugar should have fully dissolved, if it hasn’t help it along by swirling the jar. Now you will need a small hand whisk or a fork and you will need to beat the eggs quickly into the mixture and continue to beat for one minute. Put the lid back onto the jar and place back in the oven for a further 1 to 1¼ hours. Give the curd a gentle shake and then leave to cool. I was concerned that it wasn’t thick enough but it does thicken quite a bit whilst cooling. When it is cool transfer to clean sterile jars if you feel the one you made it in is just too messy. Store in the fridge and eat within two weeks.