Thursday May 30, 2013
While researching the history of various old timey recipes for my book, I kept coming across these 19th century American recipes for “lemon cheese.” The name sounds a little icky, but the recipe is straight up lemon curd, which I’d always thought of as some quintessentially British thing. American recipes for “lemon cheese” actually predate the first known use of the phrase “lemon curd” (1895) by at least two decades.
I’m not saying we invented it, only that after a hundred and forty odd years I think we should qualify for the culinary equivalent of a common law marriage.
You can make lemon curd with a lot of different ingredients and ratios, but I like doing it the 19th century way, using nothing but lemon juice, egg yolks and sugar. With that many yolks, you don’t need cornstarch for thickening or butter for richness. The curd winds up intensely yellow, with a clean lemon flavor.
For some of us, it’s easier to tear our work to shreds than actually stand by an accomplishment. At least, I’d always found it easier to give myself a perpetual B+ than to do the hard work of sorting out my failures and victories.
You’ve probably heard of Mexican wedding cookies or Russian wedding cookies or just plain ol “wedding cookies” before, but you may not know how they got their name. Little known fact: they’re so good you’ll want to marry them.