…is something my best friend, G, said to me when I told her I didn’t actually like lemon curd.
So before I got started, I had to find people who liked lemon curd enough to take two jars of the sugary yellow mass off my hands.
Thankfully, G was one such volunteer and my mum – a huge fan of lemon curd (although she calls it lemon cheese, which I’ve never really understood) was the other.
For the second consecutive time I actually had all the right ingredients to hand.
I even went out and purchased a lemon zester, as Nigella recommends zesting over grating if only to avoid having to scrape all the scrappy bits of zest out of the grater.
Unfortunately, I had purchased waxed lemons as opposed to the unwaxed variety specified in the recipe.
While not a total catastrophe (they’re still lemons, after all), this meant that the zester glided over the surface of the lemon extracting absolutely nothing at all.
So back into the cutlery drawer it went and I opted for the illegal grating method instead.
It’s worth noting that my grater is one of those nifty Ikea ones that has a handy little tub to catch all your gratings underneath. This meant that all the zest came away from the grater pretty easily and I zested the lemons in no time at all.
Anyway, after grating came the juicing. I don’t have a juicer and, unbelievably, was unable to purchase a well made and reasonably priced one in time for this recipe.
My only alternative was to crush the zestless remains of the lemons in my hands – Hulk-style – and extract as much juice as possible.
While I’d been organised enough in getting all the right ingredients and the utensils (except for the juicer), I had completely forgotten about acquiring some jars.
Thankfully, I had a couple in the recycling which were subsequently washed in hot soapy water, rinsed, washed a second time in hot soapy water, rinsed again with boiling water from the kettle, then washed and rinsed again before going into a hot oven…
Perhaps it’s the word ‘sterilise’ or maybe it’s just the over-zealous germaphobe in me, but I just couldn’t stop washing the jars until I was certain I had obliterated any/all bacteria.
And I think I can safely say that was a job well done.
Back to the curd, Nigella confesses she doesn’t use a double boiler, and for some reason that was an immediate red flag that novice like me absolutely should use a double boiler.
I cracked four eggs into the bowl of my makeshift bain-marie and separated four additional yolks (as ever, the whites went into the freezer with all the rest for use at some unknown date in the future).
Once on the heat, I began whisking away at the very yellow, very runny liquid. After a couple of minutes, nothing seemed to be happening.
In fact, for a moment I wondered if the mixture had got even thinner.
… stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, grows smooth and looks, in fact, like lemon curd.
I whisked some more and the liquid sloshed around in a very un-lemon curd like fashion.
Perhaps the bain-marie wasn’t the way to go after all…
I should never doubt Nigella.
Seconds later, I had poured the boiling water out of the pan and the curd mixture in, sat it directly on the heat and began whisking again.
Eventually, just after Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” had finished on my 80s Spotify playlist (not even lying, but so perfect I had to include it), the mixture began to thicken.
Next, I was back and fourth with it on and off the heat. With painful flashbacks to my sauce-making days, I was anxious to avoid curdling by over-heating. But every time I took it off the heat, I worried that it hadn’t been on the heat for long enough.
When it had reached the point of being so thick and lemon curd-like that there was no possible way that it could look even more like lemon curd than it already did, I decided to take it off the heat and pour into my freshly sterilised, burning hot glass jars.
I reserved a small ramekin dish to eat myself, and have to say it tasted pretty good. But I’m still not a huge fan (the full ramekin is still sitting in my fridge untouched).
Can I also point out how cosy it felt to make lemon curd and put it in jars?!
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t imagined my life as a one-woman homemade preserve-making enterprise throughout the process.
Main takeaways this time around: trust Nigella. She would tell you to use a bain-marie if she really thought you needed to.