Thursday, June 22, 2006
two successful by-products from the first lemon harvest: a super lemon zesty curd and a basil-lemon peel sugar crusted french lemon pound cake. the lemon curd recipe is very basic, just egg yolks, lemon juice, butter, sugar and zest, and the pound cake recipe based on the french "quatre quarts" (four fours--equal measures of flour, sugar, eggs, and fat), with a generous addition of lemon zest, then glazed with a lemon juice sugar glaze and topped with the crazy lemon basil sugar.
i did in fact use martha stewart recipes for both the curd and cake, despite my documented disdain for her recipes; i did encounter problems with the cooking times for both (less for the curd, more of the cake), but otherwise they seemed to work out fine. i can't say i love the curd, but a little time in the fridge seems to have improved the flavour dramatically by intensifying the lemon flavour and mellowing out the egginess. the cake i like more, but i let it sit for 24 hours before trying it. i substituted lemon zest for the prescribed orange zest in the recipe, and i think the lemon sugar glaze compliments the intense butteriness of it. i also love the gorgeous sunny colour of it, and the lemon basil sugar adds an unusual touch.
lemon basil sugar
1 cup of sugar
1 large strip of lemon peel, without the white pith
a few leaves of fresh basil or a scant 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil
chop the lemon peel into tiny pieces, and tear up basil leaves, if you are using fresh herbs. add to the sugar in a small food processor and pulse until the basil and lemon peel has been chopped finely and incorporated into the sugar.
bring 1/2 cup of sugar and the juice of one lemon to a simmer in a small saucepan; take off from heat, allow to cool a bit. glaze pound cake with this while the cake is still warm, then sprinkle the herby sugar on top.