Tea, lemon, and honey are a classic trio. Shaking them up a bit, I like to take them in a new direction when combining them to create a creamy lemon curd with a difference. Only slightly sweetened, this butterscotch-colored concoction allows the tea, the lemon, and the honey to all work together so that no one of these elements outshouts the other. If you like to make pastry dough (and the one below is failproof and simple), you can bake it to a nice golden brown and then pour the filling right into it. Allow to cool, chill until set, and top the whole thing with some whipped cream or meringue, as you wish. If your cooking ambitions are a bit more limited, then pull out your nicest glasses and divide this ambrosial mixture into them, topped with soft dollops of whipped cream and call it a day.
- 1 generous T. black tea leaves (something robust, such as an Assam or Sri Lankan tea)
- 3 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 ounces mild flavored honey
- 3 ounces whole eggs (about 2 large eggs—size and weight can vary slightly)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, soft
- Whipped cream to garnish the finished dessert, as desired
- Make shortbread (recipe below) if desired.
- Place tea leaves in a small saucepan. Add lemon juice and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Press the liquid through a fine meshed sieve over a bowl, pressing hard on the tea leaves to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Place this liquid into a stainless-steel bowl. Add the honey and eggs to it.
- Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened to a light mayonnaise consistency. This will take about 5 minutes or so.
- Pour through a fine-meshed sieve set over a bowl, set over a larger bowl filled with ice and whisk the mixture to push as much of it as possible through the sieve into the bowl below. Add the butter, whisking quickly to blend it all.
- Allow to cool over the ice. When cold, you have two options: 1. either spread it into the baked tart shell, evening the top with an offset spatula or 2. Spoon it carefully into your favorite dessert glasses. Top either with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Serve immediately.
The Short Dough
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft
- 2 ounces (generous quarter cup) granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 6 ounces (scant cup) all-purpose flour
- In the bowl of an electric mixer outfitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light in texture and pale in color. Add the sugar and beat until the sugar is mostly dissolved, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl once. Add the egg and mix until blended, scraping the bowl again as you go. Add the flour and beat only until it disappears into the mixture. Remove from the bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface. Smear the dough out onto the surface and scrape it back up into a rough ball. Wrap in plastic, flatten to a rough disc and chill until firm, about one hour.
- When ready to continue, remove the dough from the refrigerator; and while still wrapped, pound with a rolling pin to soften it a bit. Remove from the wrapping, and then on a lightly floured surface roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Drape into an 8- or 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom, pressing lightly into the bottom and sides of the pan to line the pan evenly. Chill until cold.
- Line the pan with parchment or foil and generously fill with rice or dried beans as weights to keep the dough from rising or slumping. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 375-degree F. oven for about 25 minutes, carefully remove the weights, and continue baking for a few minutes more until evenly golden brown. Watch carefully at this point so that the dough does not burn. The dough should be evenly golden brown throughout. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack to room temperature.
(Note: Use the excess dough for a shortbread-like cookie, to be baked at a later point. Just freeze the trimmings, pressed back together and flattened out, well wrapped, for a week or so. Then when ready to bake again, thaw the dough briefly, roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thickness cut into desired shapes, sprinkle some coarse sugar, if desired, over the dough, and then bake in a preheated 325-degrees F. oven until lightly golden browned, about 30 minutes.)
Photo “Zingy Home-Made Lemon Curd” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Karen Booth and is being posted unaltered (source)