I Spent All Bloody Sunday Making This
It was a practice run for the wedding cake I am making this week. I wanted to see how the Saffron Lemon Curd carried through the cake, and wanted the Sheila and John to see if they liked the taste. I also wanted to see if the intense colour of the icing turned tongues blue and/or orange.
The cake is a go, so today I did the grocery run, and tonight I made more pastillage, (for making the paisley shaped additions), a pouring fondant, (for making marzipan) and the Saffron Lemon Curd. I love Lemon Curd, and can eat far too much of it. The addition of saffron makes it a deeper gold, and adds an earthy kind of richness that tempers the sharpness of the lemon custard.
The Lemon Curd took some time to make. I listened to a Billie Holiday CD and half of Death Cab for Cutie before I was finally straining the dam thing. Thank god for music and the cool swirls forming on the surface of the ever so slowly cooking custard.
A little cooking tip: when the swirls fade to barely visible, watch out, your lemon curd is almost cooked.
Here’s the recipe, only modified by the addition of saffron, from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. (Her quantities, my directions)
Saffron Lemon Curd
4 egg yolks
½ cup plus 2 T sugar
3 oz. lemon juice
4 T unsalted butter, softened
finely minced lemon zest
pinch ground saffron
o Set up a bowl with a fine mesh strainer somewhere near your stove.
o In a heat proof bowl combine egg yolks and sugar thoroughly, then add lemon juice, butter and salt. (I sloppily juice the lemons into a measuring cup, not bothering to keeping out pulp or seeds since the custard will get strained later. I just kind of estimate the displacement caused by the seeds and go a little over the 3 oz.)
o Put on some music…lots of it. Actually, do this first.
o Place over simmering water and stir constantly (but not too quickly! If you stir too vigorously it will take longer to heat and thicken the custard), until thickened to the consistency of a thin hollandaise. Do not boil.
o Immediately pour the thickened custard through the fine mesh sieve and press the custard through. Discard seeds and junk. Stir in lemon zest and saffron powder. Cool, covered, (I press a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bowl on to the surface of the curd), then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
o Keeps for up to 3 weeks refrigerated.
And here is the money shot, (for today), Saffron Lemon Custard. I like the way the flash makes it kind of glow!