Easy Peasy Lemon Curd

We have a prolific lemon tree in our backyard. It came with the house when we moved in 11 years ago and at that time, we joked it was the most valuable thing on the property. Maybe it was a bit of a stretch, but truly, having lemons right outside your door cannot be underestimated. Broiling some salmon and need a few lemon wedges to go with that? Run outside and pick a lemon. Kids hankering for some cold, refreshing lemonade? Run outside and grab some lemons. A few drops of lemon juice added to soups, stews, sauces, you name it, seems to brighten the flavor of everything.

So I really worry about our lemon tree like it's one of our babies, because several years ago, it was so top-heavy with lemons (and we had torrential rains that soaked the soil), the tree fell over. Yes, you read that right. It fell over. It was literally lying on the ground. We removed buckets of fruit and pruned the tree hard. Then in a last ditch effort, we winced the tree back upright as much as we could and tied it to a heavy duty post sunk into the ground. Amazingly, it survived, though it's now a bit like the leaning tower of Pisa.

When you have 50 pounds of lemons, you start looking for recipes that use a LOT of lemons. Here's one of my absolute favorites. A lot of lemon curd recipes have you add the butter one piece at a time allowing each piece to melt and meld into the curd, before adding the next. Not this one. Just dump all your ingredients into a food processor, give it a whirl and then transfer to a saucepan and cook over the stovetop. Couldn't be easier!  (Unless you have a Vita-Mix......see below for my comments about that.)

Easy Peasy Lemon Curd
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten
Makes approx 4 - 13oz jars

In a food processor combine and pulse until lemon zest is finely minced into the sugar:
2 cups sugar (400g)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 6-7 lemons)

Add to sugar/lemon in food processor:
2 sticks of butter (8 oz total), each stick cut into fourths (I just use them cold, straight from the frig)
7 - 8 extra large eggs 

Process or pulse until butter is in small chunks (approx. 1/2" cubes). At this point, it will look like a curdled mess, but don't worry! When it's heated up, the butter will melt and the mixture will become smooth and creamy. I gave a range on the egg amount depending on whether you're more health conscious or you're the devil-may-care type and want your curd especially rich and yellow : )

Pour and scrape out the sugar/butter/egg mixture into a 3-4 qt saucepan. Add:
1 cup of freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice (approx. 6 - 7 lemons)

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of saucepan with a heatproof rubber spatula. Cook for approx. 10 minutes or until lemon curd thickens and reaches 170°F. Remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars. Screw on lids and allow to cool a bit before storing in refrigerator. Keeps in refrigerator for 2 months.

I don't personally own a Vita-Mix, but I've read and heard from others that you can throw everything into a Vita-Mix, including the lemon juice, then process using the Hot Soup setting and the Vita-Mix will cook the lemon curd right in the blender. No need to dirty a saucepot! This almost makes me want to go out and buy a Vita-Mix!

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