warning: if you love restaurant water with lemon, don't read further; if you ignore this advice, don't blame me if you are never able to drink it again (thinking of you, Aunt Mary). :)
read this article and watch the short video from a 2007 project. You will then understand why I never use a lemon before thoroughly washing it. I love lemon in my drinking water,
but I never order water with lemon in a restaurant. My personal opinion is that it's a rare restaurant where employees are made to wash lemons before serving. Dozens of different people stick their hands in the cut lemons to drop them in the water glass--the lemons sit out unrefrigerated all day. Airborne sneeze, cough particles, and who knows what other bacteria fall onto them before they are dropped into your drinking glass.
Believe me, you don't want to be having lemon in your restaurant water! The same goes for bar garnishes--limes, olives, etc. I always order my drinks with no garnish.
In my kitchen the lemons are thoroughly washed so no need to fear the lemon curd. :)
The recipe I ended up using for my dinner party is loosely based on Alton Brown's recipe from the FoodTV site.
(a velvety combination of tart and sweet lemon lusciousness)
3/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (I only needed one large lemon, but it may take more, depending on the size you have) Zest the lemon--no sense wasting all that flavor
6 Tbls butter
Lemon curd is very delicate and requires a double boiler. I use my big soup pot filled half full of water and this double boiler top. The water just touched the stainless pot's bottom. Alton's recipe said to make sure the water did not touch, but I felt it would cook faster my way.
1. Use medium high heat and bring the water to a gentle boil. My burner goes up to a 10 and I kept it at 6.
2. Mix the egg yolks and the sugar in the the stainless pot before putting it on top of the dbl boiler. Whisk until well combined. Add the lemon juice and the lemon zest.
3. Whisk continuously
(yes, you will get an upper arm workout!) until the mixture thickens. It took mine about 15 minutes. You will know when it's thick enough if you can coat the back of a spoon, like this:
It will get much thicker when it's cool.
4. Remove from heat. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and drop one at a time into the hot mixture.
Whisk until it's melted, then add the next piece.
5. After all the butter is incorporated, put the lemon curd in another container and cover with plastic.
I used it to make a lemon/raspberry parfait dessert for tonight's dinner.I whipped up some fresh heavy cream (no Cool Whip for this one--although I am sure it would work if you happen to like it) and folded it lightly into the lemon curd. Then I layered it with raspberry sauce made from my MIL's berries that I froze in August. Everyone seemed to enjoy the dessert and it looked so nice served in clear martini glasses.
We also had ricotta-filled manicotti and beef-stuffed jumbo pasta shells. I made tons extra so I can freeze at least four more dinners. Since I was already in the kitchen for the day, I made 5 individual turkey pot pies--2 for Monday night and 3 to freeze. I still had turkey left so I made a big pot of turkey noodle soup.
Right in the middle of my cooking spree, we got a call inviting us to dinner tomorrow night. So I won't be cooking tomorrow. I am probably done cooking now for the rest of the week.