Make lemon verbena curd. Or maybe a lemon and pistachio cake?
With winter now officially in course and citrus trees around our region starting to do their thing, I thought it might be timely to share a couple of recipes making the best of these golden globes.
Lemon verbena curd
This is now the fourth recipe for lemon curd I've shared on the blog so far - and my current favourite . First there was the lemon and apple curd (more like a custard really but still so good), then Josie Chapman's passionfruit curd (which I also adore but passionfruits aren't all that handy to me at the moment), and a lovely old school 'lemon butter' recipe picked up from The Country Show Cookbook.
So yes, I love lemon curd. Who doesn't! This last one comes from my book with the verbena as an added extra. The latter isn't essential but really does lend a nice extra layer of flavour; slightly minty and a bit floral. I like to leave a few leaves in each jar and just fish them out when necessary. Last week we had it for pudding spooned into little gluten-free almond shortbreads and the whole thing was completely delicious. The shortbread recipe comes from Emma Galloway's beautiful book My Darling Lemon Thyme, and it's a cracker.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 3 lemons, finely grated
a very scant pinch of salt
110g unsalted butter, cubed
1 handful lemon verbena leaves
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
Combine the lemon juice, zest, salt, butter and verbena in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water. Stir, with a wooden spoon, until the butter melts. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy and then pour over lemon juice and butter mixture. Whisk to combine then cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon (I find it really does take that long). Pour into sterilized jars then let cool in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Keeps in the fridge for about a week. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Lemon pistachio cakeThis recipe is very slightly adapted from one given in the River Cafe Easy cookbook, I've just upped the lemon and pistachio content a bit and ditched the flour in favour of a little more almond meal. In any case, like every other recipe in this book, it's an absolute classic and one of the most useful lemon cakes you'll ever come across. The amount of pistachios I've used here is a bit extravagant but the cake goes quite a long way and is a really great special occasion number so worth it I think!
1 cup natural almonds
1 cup pistachios (I love Murrungundy Pistachios)
250g unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
Zest and juice of three lemons
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
Preheat oven to 150C and grease and line a 22x12cm loaf tin or two smaller loaf tins. Combine the nuts in a food processor and blitz until you a have a coarse meal. Cream the butter, lemon zest, vanilla and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Fold through the nut meal then gently spoon mixture into prepared tin (or tins). Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is pulling away from the tin's sides and/or a skewer comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out to a cooling rack.
For the topping; combine the zest, juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for a few minutes then remove from heat, stir through the pistachios and spread mixture over the top of the cake.