so whenever we go visit athens, i stock up on coffee. there is a fantastic roaster out there, committed to direct sourcing, small estate farming, shade grown, blah blah coffee terms blah blah. suffice it to say, i buy a couple of pounds of whatever is on the shelves, because folgers or starbucks just doesn’t cut it. not to say that i won’t drink ANY coffee in need. i have been known to praise waffle house’s coffee a time or two, because i am a utilitarian coffee snob. it’s really about the caffeine, if its anything other than 1000 faces.
the coffee i grabbed this week was an ethiopian coffee with hints of lemon and citrus and vanilla and basically everything that i love in a cuppa. so what did that cup need? a tasty accompaniment. and with meyer lemons flooding the shelves, i had to return to one of my favorite things to make – meyer lemon curd. it is sooooooooo good. spread it on toast, on a bagel, on a muffin (more on that later) or mixed into ice cream (more on that idea much later… like 6 months from now, when snow is not a possibility by the end of the week). it’s bright, and not too tart, and like sunshine in a jar. do i have pictures of my jarred lemon curd? of course not. it’s already dark outside, and it’s not even 5pm. maybe another time.
the recipe i used was adapted from mark bittman’s easy lemon curd recipe, found in “how to cook everything.” he and i differ in opinions on the necessity of straining curd (he says no, i say yes), and i am advocating saving a little zest to add back in after straining. but before i jump into the curd recipe, i need to mention the vehicle for putting sunshine in my mouth this morning – the meyer lemon buttermilk muffin. with a little crunch of coarse sugar on top, these medium sized bites of sweet and tart breakfast goodness were PERFECT with the mora mora. i took the coffee, muffins and lemon curd to a friend’s house this morning, and we drank our coffee, black and syrupy, with little bites of muffin making the flavors explode in my mouth. did we do an official cupping? heck na. but if you come across an african coffee (i vote 1000 faces, but take what you can get where you are) – i know there are several regional blends you can get your hands on in stores, starbucks likely as the most easily accessible, make a pot of coffee and make the muffins. yeah, it’s a little work, but if you aren’t like me, and don’t decide to make lemon curd and muffins at 10pm, you’ll be fine. the most important aspect of this post is the lemon curd. and then the muffins (which i am still tweaking, but am pleased enough to post them – another made up recipe by yours truly) so i will post the recipes in that order. and remember, when life hands you lemons – make lemon curd. no really.
Meyer Lemon Curd – makes 2 cups
- 3 meyer lemons
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- zest the lemons, reserving 1/2t, and then juice the lemons.
- combine the zest, juice, butter, and sugar and place in a small saucepan over low heat.
- cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and butter dissolve. beat the eggs well and slooooowwwly add to the mixture.
- keeping the heat very low, cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened – 15 minutes or so.
- do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble
- . not even kidding here. i have cried over many batches of scrambled egg curd.
- strain the curd into a small bowl or pint jar. this is to get rid of any teeny scrambly bits.
- mix in remaining 1/2t zest.
Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Muffins – makes 12-14
- 6T room temperature unsalted butter
- 3/4C sugar
- 1/2t salt
- 1t baking powder
- 2C self rising flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2C buttermilk
- 1t meyer lemon zest
- 3-4T coarse sugar, like demerara
- preheat oven to 400F.
- cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
- mix together dry ingredients and set aside.
- in a small bowl beat together the eggs with the buttermilk, then add zest.
- add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, then moisten with half of the milk mixture. repeat, ending with remaining dry ingredients.
- the batter should be a little lumpy, not smooth, and thick but moist – add a little extra buttermilk as necessary.
- spoon batter out into 12 lined muffin cups filling 2/3rds full, though you may have some extra depending on the depth of your muffin tin. i thought that was supposed to be standard, but i think there’s some variations.
- top each muffin with approx 1/2-3/4t demerara sugar, sprinkled lightly.
- bake 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the top is golden brown.
- after cooling, split muffin and spread with lemon curd.