My mother’s favorite thing in the whole world was lemon curd, spread on toast or just eaten by the spoonful. I am sure if she had tried lemon cream, she would have added that to her list of favorites. And in my Baking, From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, we are introduced to this wonderful cream and a very easy lemon cream tart. This would be a lovely dessert for Mother’s Day, and can easily be made ahead. I am pretty sure a clever husband could even handle it (hint, hint).
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 3 lemons
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used juice that I had previously frozen)
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Get your kitchen tools ready : instant read thermometer, a strainer, a blender. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor will also work.
Bring water to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. In a heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan of water, add the sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar (my daughter loved doing this part), until it is grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.
Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture is tepid. Cook the cream until it reaches 180F. Whisk constantly – as you do, you will see the cream start out light and fluffy, then the bubbles will get bigger, then the as the cream gets closer to 180F, the cream will start to thicken. Pay attention, even if it seems like it is taking forever. It is important to continue to whisk the cream, otherwise the eggs will overcook and curdle.
When the cream reaches 180F, remove from heat and strain into the container of the blender. Allow cream to stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140F, about 10 minutes.
Turn the blender on high, and with the machine running, add the butter, 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed. Once all the butter has been added, keep the blender on for another 3 minutes. This is the step that allows the cream to be light and fluffy. My photo above does not do the cream justice – it is light, lemon yellow, and wonderfully fluffy.
Pour the cream into a container and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
For a Mother’s Day dessert, spoon the lemon cream into a pre-baked tart shell and top with whip cream. Or, use the cream on scones or cookies for a delightful Mother’s Day Tea Party. The cream will keep up to 4 days in the fridge, or can be frozen for up to 2 months. Personally, it does not last that long around our house!