Sunnyvale, California, United States
February 05
I was born the same year Kennedy was assassinated. My parents got divorced during the Summer of Love ('67) I'm not a journalist, I'm just a dedicated Democratic Library Assistant with a lot of bottled-up rants. But I'll try to be amusing when possible. _________________________ My Late Friend Kim would agree with this: "Nobody should die because they can't afford Health Insurance. Nobody should go broke because they get sick." Teddy, Greg and Roger, I'm SO with you on this one. And also with everyone else displaying this. --------- "I wrestle like Jane Austen and write like Jesse 'The Body' Ventura." Justice must be done for Trayvon Martin.

FEBRUARY 13, 2011 1:45PM

Beware the Lemon Thief!

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Lemon Thief  Label

In March 2009, I posted my recipe for homemade lemon curd.  Throughout that year, my kitchen became a miniature lemon curd factory—I was hooked on the stuff, and I got everyone else I knew hooked too. I even gave it away to co-workers at Christmastime. That original post contained the following statement:


      “It is worth befriending someone with a Meyer lemon tree if you don’t have one yourself. It is also a nice thank you gift to give your lemon supplier some curd in return.  This is enlightened self-interest as it will ensure your fresh lemon supply for the future.  It is even worth sneaking into the gardens of perfect strangers at the dead of night to abscond with a few fresh lemons off that stranger’s lemon tree. Don’t be too conscience stricken; people with lemon trees often have more lemons than they can possibly use from January through March so they won’t miss two or three.” 


   First let me say I very boringly buy my lemons in broad daylight like any other law-abiding person. But this   tongue in cheek if not so innocent proclamation earned me the title “The Lemon Thief” among my friends, who were still quite happy to go home with pint pots of my lemon curd. And thus the “Lemon Thief Brand” of lemon curd was born. The Lemon Thief dresses like those cat burgling-jewel thieves you see in old movies, complete with black gloves and a mask, and cruises through suburban neighborhoods in the wee hours on her bicycle in search of unguarded lemon trees for harvesting. I even dressed as the Lemon Thief for Halloween.


Since this week’s SKC is dedicated to citrus fruits, it seems to be the perfect time to revisit my lemon curd recipe. However and wherever you obtain your lemons, look for ones that feel heavy for their size and which have a little give when lightly squeezed. A hard, light-weight lemon won’t have much juice. Meyer lemons are my favorite kind to use, but any fresh lemon will do in a pinch. Have your iPod tuned to a nice long recorded book or  play list; play  stirring music on the stereo, or sit your best beloved in the kitchen to  entertain you while you work, because you’re going to be standing there at the stove stirring for a good long time. No matter, homemade lemon curd is worth it.

 Ingredients and Equipment:

2 1 pint canning jars, sterilized in a boiling water bath before you begin making curd.


Zest from 2 lemons

Juice of 3 lemons. 3 lemons gave me a generous ¾ cup of juice.

3 whole eggs

¾ to 1 cup sugar

1 stick butter cut into 8 TBs.

For equipment, you’ll need:

1 wire whip

1 wooden spoon.

A double boiler. (This can be improvised with a mixing bowl that fits over a medium saucepan.)

1 grater. (I find a microplane grater is much easier than a box grater for this job  but either kind will work.)

1 citrus juicer.

1 sieve to strain the juice

A 1 cup measuring cup.

A canning funnel is very handy for messy cooks like me, but it’s not an absolute necessity.


While you assemble your ingredients, pour about 2 inches of water into your saucepan and turn burner to medium high. The water should be simmering but not yet at full boil by the time you’re ready to cook your mixture.

  • Beat your three whole eggs in the bowl portion of your double boiler until frothy and bright yellow.
  • Grate the zest of two lemons, and juice all 3 of them. Strain out the pulp and seeds and pour juice into the eggs along with the grated zest.  Make sure to get all the zest possible.
  • Add smaller quantity of sugar first, and taste it before adding more.  You can always add more sugar, but lemon curd should be tart.

Whisk  mixture until blended, then set the bowl of double boiler on top of the saucepan and reduce heat to medium low.  Add the butter 1 TB at a time allowing each one to be completely incorporated before adding the next, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon as you do so. Stir this mixture until you think the American banking industry might possibly be solvent again, or until you think you will start screaming uncontrollably. In real time it will take the curd about 15-20 minutes to thicken, it will just feel longer.  You’ll know it’s done when it’s a bright yellow and it coats the back of your spoon. Your finger should leave a visible trail like this:


The Finger Test
The Finger Test

            Pour the curd into your prepared canning jars, and allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate.  Eat this on any form of toasted bread, use it as a filling for a lemon tart, shortbread sandwich cookies or a layer cake, dip your baby’s old shoes in it—this stuff is gold.  It will keep two weeks in the refrigerator, but you will very likely finish it long before it has time to go bad.


 Lime Madeleines

Eggs and Limes  

Why should lemons have all the fun?


And now for something completely different. This recipe comes from a little book called   The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea by Helen Simpson. They are buttery and citrusy, moist and tender, and I’ve never found another Madeleine recipe I’ve liked better. The recipe calls for a lemon, but I got creative one day, and now I like them even more with lime zest and juice.


Ingredients and Equipment:

2 medium eggs, separated

 ½ cup sugar

8 TBs unsalted butter, melted

¼ tsp salt.

Finely grated rind and juice of 1 regular lime, or 3 Key limes.

½ cup flour.   (I use all purpose)



1 madeleine pan

2 mixing bowls 1 large, one small.

A sauce pan

A wire whip.

pastry brush


Method: Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt the butter, then prepare your pan by brushing melted butter into each hollow in the Madeleine pan.  A pastry brush is really “the right tool for the right job” in this case. These can also be made in mini-muffin tins, but  real Madeleine pans make for prettier cakes. This recipe yield is about 24 madeleines, so I often prepare two pans at the same time. If you only own one, you’ll have to wash it and rebutter it before baking the second set of madeleines, or your second batch will stick to the pan, and not look smooth and nice like the first.


·         Separate your eggs, with the egg whites in the smaller mixing bowl and set egg whites aside.

·         Grate lime zest and juice the lime(s), set aside.

·         Beat egg yolks with the sugar until thoroughly mixed, but still bright yellow.

·         Add the lime zest and juice, and slowly mix in the cooled melted butter.

·         Measure then sift the  flour over the mixing bowl and fold into mixture until just blended.

·         Beat egg whites with a fork until frothy, then beat them into egg and flour mixture.

·         Using a TB of batter for each buttered hollow, distribute the batter as evenly as possible in the Madeleine pan or pans. Don’t be obsessive, but it does help even baking to have all the little cakes come out about the same size.


Bake in the center of your oven for 15-20 minutes. When done, they should be light brown around their edges.  Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then, using a regular table knife, loosen them and turn them out on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Cooling Madeleines
Cooling Madeleines


 These are best when they are very fresh, and they’ll have tiny green flecks of grated lime zest in them. They’re especially good with a cup of hot jasmine tea.  If Marcel Proust had ever eaten one of these, he’d have remembered things that didn’t even happen to him. 

Tea and Madeleines
Time for Tea!

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Delicious! I made lemon curd this morning, and think I'll go look for a box of those Mason jars to make a LOT more. Your lime madelines look like the perfect accompaniment, too. The danger with reading these SKC posts is that it makes me want to go fill up my kitchen with more equipment!
Very impressive! If only my Kitchen was big enough for all that ingrediants and storage. Thank you for the visuls, they look delicious!
Very impressive! If only my Kitchen was big enough for all that ingrediants and storage. Thank you for the visuls, they look delicious!
O, Melissa, lime curd - what a citrusy delicious idea! I learned about lemon curn from a British colleage years ago, and fell in love with it eversince. Madeleines and curd with afternoon tea - sound very Ritzy to me. Thank you for sharing your recipes. You get my seal of rating.
hmmm...if only i actually cooked anything.
Oh! Oh! I LOVE anything lemony and orangey and limey! I've bought lemon curd a few times, but now I just may make me a mess of it. Funny story, BTW/
Shiral--"If Something Is Bad For Me I'm Pretty Sure I'll Like It" might be the title of my new imaginary memoir. . .hope you don't mind if I steal that? Thanks Lemon Thief! Roger
The key lime curd has my mouth watering. My lemon curd addiction began only last December so I have some catching up to do.
I don't have a lemon curd recipe of my own, but this one from The Guardian is very good:

When I made it - it was a real hit with my friends - the lemons I found in the market were much larger and juicer than normal. I probably had twice as much juice and zest as you would get from normal sized lemons. The results was a VERY lemony yellow curd that set up quite thick. If you can only get normal lemons, I'd recommend using 6-8 of them.

Also, I minced the zest very fine.
Oooo, something new for me. Lemon curd. And it sounds outstanding. Missing that lemon tree in Escondido, CA... where my in-laws used to live and where we visited every year. California dreaming in Michigan. Thanks.
Skypixie, this looks great! I'm glad the SKC has revisiting your delicious lemon curd recipe.

Based on the card at the top of your post I would guess lemons get to stay out later than kids. For several decades Channel 5 in NYC has had the announcement at 10 PM: "It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"
Ummm, thank you, Designator, but you do know I'm not Skypixie, right? =o)
Love the label! And the lime sounds like an intriguing and subtle accent for the madeleines.
Mmm! I didn't even know what lemon curd was, so you have not only titlillated my tastebuds, but also taught me something - score! Love the lemon thief brand label, as well! R!!!!
Lemon curd it pure mouth joy. And La Madelaine, mais oui! I love your lemon larceny. I'm into kumquats myself. :) Rated
Lemon or's all sublime! Marvelous!
You can be so cruel... ;-) Looks yummy!
Thank you for this! I'm on a lemon the kitchen!