I love lemon curd. It’s sweet tangy and so refreshing, I always look forward to licking the spoon after making a batch. I thought it was my favorite lemon dessert, until I came across this lemon cream. This lemon cream, ladies and gentlemen, I can eat with a spoon. The light, smooth texture is what hits you first. Then the intense notes of lemon, citrus and a refreshing burst of sweet and tartness comes through. In closing, a creamy flavor mellows the overall flavor out creating a delicious dessert.
This is another one of Pierre Herme’s crazy reinventions. Butter, sugar, eggs and lemons are all ingredients used in a lemon curd but the process used to make this lemon cream creates a light texture that makes you forget what exactly goes into the mixture.
Making the cream can be frustrating when you start. Zesting, rubbing and whisking alone took me about 30 minutes. And even though this is a lengthy process for a simple cream, the result is simply exquisite. When making the lemon custard in the double broiler, it took 10 minutes to go from 150F to 180F. Even though this is a time consuming process, don’t get impatient and keep whisking or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!
Originally intended for a tart, I had other plans for this lemon cream… but we’ll leave that for another day!
Lemon-Lemon Lemon Cream
Recipe: Pierre Herme
- 1 cup sugar
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (21 tablespoons; 10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.
- Place the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180°F. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes.
Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.
- Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and chill the cream for at least 4 hours or overnight.