Monday, March 12, 2012

The Invaluable Lemon.

I have neglected lemons, methinks, on this blog. Certainly, I recently posted on the topic of lemon vinegar (and I am still puzzling over the method instructions in that recipe), but overall I have been fairly neglectful of this indispensible fruit. Perhaps I can find enough to interest us for a whole week on the subject of the invaluable lemon?

‘The Invaluable Lemon’ was a header in the Recipes for Small Households column in The Times of May 22, 1939. A correspondent provided the following recipe:

Lemon Honey.
Cream six tablespoons of butter, adding slowly a cup of sugar, then heat in a double boiler until the butter is melted. Now mix in three egg yolks beaten until thick, and the grated rind of a large lemon. Stir until it begins to thicken, then add the juice of a lemon, and continue stirring until the consistency of honey is reached. Turn into sterilized jelly glasses and cover.
The Times, May 22, 1939

Where I grew up, this was called Lemon Curd. Where I came to live, it is called Lemon Butter. In some places, I understand it is called Lemon Cheese. Whatever it is called, it is delicious on bread, toast, scones, pikelets, and especially naughtily delicious straight from the jar with spoon or fingers. If you are a citrus-lover, you can make it with orange or lime instead.

We now come to the real reason I have given this post over to variations on a theme of lemon butter. I want to share a marvellous-sounding recipe with you. I don’t know if it is the earliest one with the name ‘Lemon Butter’, but it is certainly very different from the twenty-first century version – and one more accurately called Lemon Curd, perhaps? I love the inclusion of almond meal.

Lemon Butter with Sweetmeats.
Blanch and pound very fine an ounce of sweet almonds, put them to a quart of boiling cream, add the whites of three eggs well beaten, a little orange-flower water, and sweeten according to taste. Then take a lemon, grate the rind into some lemon juice, add it to the cream and make it boil; the put it into a hair sieve, and when well-drained, beat it together, and lay it in a high dish, with sweetmeats or ratafia cakes all round.
The Cook’s Dictionary and House-keepers Directory, Richard Dolby, 1830

Quotation for the Day.

If Life gives you Lemons, make lemonade, lemon pickle, lemon butter, lemon marmalade, lemon gelati, lemon cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, lemon pudding, limoncello .... you get my drift.


Les said...

The lemon curd recipe looks delicious. Thanks.

The Old Foodie said...

It does, doesnt it! Let us know if you try it!