Updated: Aug 9
Have you heard? Curd's the word.
Want a summer-fresh dessert that you can make in minutes? Something quick to impress those who pop-by? You know who I mean.
"Sure, come in for some coffee. No no. I'm not busy at all. Let me pull-out a jar of homemade lemon curd. I made it the other day. Oh, it's nothing. I know. I’m magical. I'll just put a dollop of it on these fresh berries that I picked from my magical, fairytale garden.”
Correction. Lemon curd is magical and I bought the berries at the store.
Lemon curd is like sunshine in a jar: bright, tart, sweet, creamy, lemony-lusciousness. Use it as a topping, in tarts, or between layers of cake.
Last night, I made a late-night snack for my kids - lemon curd, berries and those little dessert cake cups you can buy at the grocery store - the ones in the produce section above the strawberries.
My daughter, Cilia, took a spoonful of curd and said, “Mom, you're so talented." She's fifteen.
Wow. What a compliment, but anyone can do this. I thought this, but I didn't dare say it out loud.
My kids are getting older and, in their eyes, each day I'm a little less magical. Being amazed by me, instead of being embarrassed and annoyed, has become a rare occurrence.
Now, my son interrupts me when I try to help him because - how could I possibly know the answer, and my daughter has a new pastime of taking jabs at me, out of nowhere, for no reason.
Like yesterday, when my friend showed Cilia and me a new bracelet she just bought.
"Look at this bracelet I bought at the mall," my friend said. "It says, 'Happy Mom.'"
To which Cilia said, “My Mom's bracelet should say, ‘Mom with the Worst Breath.'"
Awesome, Cilia. Thank you. I do drink gallons of coffee and maybe I’m a little afraid of the dentist, but that's only because I bit into a piece of pizza once and cracked my molar, and had a painful abscess below the gum line, and they had to pull my tooth, and I couldn't afford an implant, so all my teeth shifted, causing me to develop a slight lisp.
It wuth traumatithing.
But I know this jab-syndrome is normal for teenagers. I did it too.
I remember a Sunday dinner at my grandparents' house. Earlier that week, someone commented that my nose looked like a block. I was self-conscious. I couldn't shake it. Like that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine breaks-up with her boyfriend. He's a bad breaker-upper and retaliates by telling her she has a an enormous-sized head.
That Sunday, I needed reassurance and asked everyone at the table, ”Do I have a big nose? Does it look like a block? Do I have a freakishly big, block nose?” Everyone assured me my nose was fine and not overly big and blockish. My mom was the kindest and most reassuring.
”Honey, you’re beautiful. you have nothing to worry about."
Then my grandfather said, “ So it’s a little big, so what? Abe Lincoln had a big nose.”
I turned to my mom, a gorgeous women who still turns heads everywhere she goes, and said, “Your nose is big and it's bigger than mine.”
Jabbity, jab, jab.
And so... this is normal, teenage behavior. And so... I will go to the dentist.
But for now, I will suck on an Altoid and make lemon curd for my kids, and I will be magical again, even just for a moment.
Lemon Curd Parfaits
An easy, and elegant dessert. Make this ahead in wine glasses or in clear, plastic cups. Omit the cake to make it gluten-free or just eat the curd straight out of the jar.
Ingredients for the curd:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 TBSP butter
Ingredients for the Parfait:
Berries of your choice (2 pints)
Sponge cake or pound cake , chopped into 1/4 pieces (about 2 cups)
To Make the Curd:
In a medium-sized pot, add the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice and whisk together. Turn the heat to medium-high, whisking constantly.
Add the butter and continue to whisk. Whisk the curd until it thickens and just begins to bubble (about 5-6 minutes).
Use a fine-mesh strainer and a whisk to strain the curd. (Don't skip this step or you'll have little pieces of scrambled eggs in your curd.) Strain the curd into a small bowl. Refrigerate until curd is completely cold.
To Make the Parfaits:
Using 4 wine glasses, add a dollop or two of the lemon curd. Next, layer the sponge cake. Follow with whipped cream and then the berries.
*Lemon curd yields 1 1/2 cups and will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.