Illustrations by Adam Krueger
Kir Jensen, proprietor of North Mississippi Avenue dessert cart the Sugar Cube and an expert in all things sweet, sent us this recipe for the thick, delicious, obscenely rich lemon curd she whips up every holiday season.
2 lemons (you'll be using the zest from both lemons and 1 cup of their juice)
3 sticks of butter (at room temperature)
One dozen eggs (six whole eggs, six egg yolks)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest the peels of two lemons (preferably organic) with a cheese grater. Squeeze out one cup of fresh lemon juice. Separate the whites from six eggs and save the yolks. Allow six more eggs and three sticks of butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, to warm up to room temperature.
Dump all the ingredients into a heavy, nonreactive (i.e., not aluminum) pot with 1 1/2 cups sugar and whisk them together over medium-low heat. You don't have to use a double boiler, but it might be a good idea—if the mixture curdles, it's ruined. Whisk constantly, for about five minutes, until the curd begins to thicken and bubble on top
Do not walk away from the cooking curd. It will curdle.
When the curd has thickened, immediately strain through a fine-meshed sieve to separate out the lemon peel and any lumps. Pour into a stainless-steel bowl, and place that bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd, so that it doesn't develop a skin.
Once it's cool, chill it in the fridge for a few hours, then scoop it into sterilized Mason jars. The curd will keep for about one week in the fridge, so give it to friends with the instruction to use it soon or just eat it with a spoon.