Lemon Bars v Lemon Meringue pie?

Discussion in 'Desserts' started by Lee_C, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Is there supposed to be any difference between the lemon filling on either? Also, most lemon bar recipes I've seen call for 4 to 8 complete eggs (yolks with whites), and one or two recipes are using just the egg yolks. Is one better than the other, at least in terms of yellowness to the filling? The guy from kitchen conundrums says the yolks give richness and creaminess to the mixture while the white gives structure.

    Also, I made some lemon bars today, I followed Chef John's recipe from Food Wishes. Now he only used two eggs and one yolk. Mine came out very tasty, though actually could do with less sugar than he puts in, they're incredibly sweet. But mine barely had any yellowness to them and yet they look quite yellow in his video. My mixture had a pale yellow colour when it was first poured over the pastry which I'd blind baked, but when it came out of the oven and I sliced it up, the colour was very translucent, more apple filling coloured than yellow.

    I can only guess that more eggs would give that yellow, but would it need to be all yolks only to concentrate the colour or would that not matter? I want it to look really vibrant. Mine looked bland, more like pizza. :D

    Finally, I'd dredge the tops of some of the bars with icing sugar, but I also want to put some meringue topping on some others. I know how to whip up whites and get stiff peaks, and I have a blowtorch lighter that I can use to toast it for that golden brown colour. In Chef John's video, he shows whipping the whites, putting it on the bars and lightly torching it.

    But don't you need to preheat the whites to 160F before whipping to kill off any possibility of salmonella? I don't know how safe it is to eat meringue without doing that? I don't mind spending a few minutes heating the whites. I've got one of those infrared thermometer guns which has proven quite useful. Would that be ok to point at the heated egg whites rather than buying a candy thermometer?
     
    Lee_C, Apr 7, 2019
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  2. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Color depends on the age of the egg and what the hen is fed. A freshly laid egg has a more yellow yolk. Also eggs from actual free ranging laying hens produce deeper color yolks. Eggs in the grocery store that are labeled “free range” are not actually free range. They are stuffed into pens and fed with commercial feed. The only difference is the pins may be outside. Or there may be a door on the side of the barn to provide access to the outside. Commercially produced “free range” eggs is a farce.

    If you purchase eggs from an independent farmer at the farmers market you’ll see a marked difference in the color of the yolk. Also you’ll notice the actual comes in a variety of colors. The eggs I purchase at my local farmers market have shells that are light blue, light yellow, and light green. And the color of the yolks are bright orange. Like what is the eggs my sister gets from her neighbor’s hens are of various colored shells with bright yolks.


    I use a lemon curd recipe by Pierre Herme for all lemon tarts and bars. It is a beautiful yellow and it’s not too sweet. His curd recipe is used by most professional pastry chefs. Let me know if you want the curd recipe.


    You cannot use an infrared thermometer in cooking or baking. Infrared thermometers read surface temperature only, not internal temperature. It is the internal temperature in cooking that is important. Does not matter if you are grilling a steak baking a cake, Surface temperature is absolutely meaningless. And by the way, cake should never be back according to time, it should be back to internal temperature.


    An instant read thermometer and an oven thermometer are necessary equipment in a kitchen. They are not expensive and they are a vital tools. It’s not just about heating the egg whites to the proper temperature to kill bacteria, vital tools in every aspect of the baking process.


    A candy thermometer is not necessary unless you’re making something that requires the thermometer to remain submerged throughout the cooking process, such as making sugar syrup or caramel. Since I make a lot of sugar syrup I have a candy thermometer. But I use my instant read thermometer for most everything.


    Keep in mind that baking is an exact science. The success in baking is a result of exact chemical reactions of the ingredients.


    Temperature is an ingredient.


    Yes, I said temperature is an ingredient.


    When and how much temperature you add creates a chemical reaction. You can mix all the ingredients for a cookie dough, but unless you add the correct amount of temperature at the correct times you’re not going to achieve the proper chemical reactions bake a successful cookie.


    Examples of using temperature as an ingredient.

    If you cream butter that’s too warm, the butter is going to break during baking and the cookies will spread too much and bake up flat and thin.


    In making Swiss meringue buttercream adding the butter to meringue that is too hot will melt the butter and the necessary emulsification
    will not happen.

    If the meringue is the correct temperature but the butter is too cold, the butter will not fully emulsify into the meringue and buttercream will be full of butter clumps.


    Professional bakers check the temperature of all the ingredients throughout the entire process. Knowing the temperature of ingredients before and after mixing is critical to quality control.


    Regarding eggs and salmonella…in countries like Italy where hen laying eggs are routinely tested for salmonella, it’s safe to eat raw eggs. But in countries like the United States were the government refuses to implement common sense policies and practices to prevent the spread of salmonella through poultry, the egg whites should absolutely be heated to at least 160°F. I personally heat my egg whites to 170°F.




    In the article linked below Stella Parks discusses the significance of butter temperature in creaming butter and sugar. But it’s not just in baking cookies. Temperature of ingredients is important in all baking. Temperature is so critical that in a commercial kitchen friction heat caused by the mixer is factored into the temperature of ingredients before mixing begins.



    https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/12/cookie-science-creaming-butter-sugar.html
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 8, 2019
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  3. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    A very comprehensive reply, thanks! I must admit, I didn't realise the 12 pack large free range supermarket eggs I buy aren't actually proper free range. Thanks for the Stella Parks article, I shall have a good read of that. :)

    I called it a candy thermometer because I'd watched Stephanie Jarworski from Joy of Baking heating up meringue to 160F and she called it a candy thermometer. But now that I know what an instant read thermometer looks like, she was actually using an instant read. Would this one be good to buy?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/TOPELEK-Th...d+thermometer&qid=1554687867&s=kitchen&sr=1-9

    Yes, thanks, I'd be interested to see your lemon curd recipe. I'm a little confused though. I read this from an online recipe,

    "I long believed that the best lemon bars were filled with lemon curd, that is a lemon mixture cooked once to thicken it and another time to make the bar, but I was always disappointed by a dry filling without much flavor. Instead the best way to fill lemon bars is to make a lemon-like custard with lemon juice, eggs, and sugar.
    Using powdered sugar in addition to granulated sugar makes for a creamier, more pudding-like filling. The tiny amount of cornstarch in the powdered sugar helps to gently thicken it as it cools.
    "

    Doesn't lemon curd and lemon like custard both use the same ingredients of lemons, zest and sugar? I don't want mine too tart, but also not overly sweet. Far as I can tell, lemon curd would be quite tart? I guess I want a nice tanginess balanced with sweetness without it being too sour. Also, some lemon fillings I've seen add butter and some don't. Adding butter sounds appealing, but not sure how much difference or better if might be.

    Oh one other thing. Thank you for your information regarding temperatures and my infrared thermometer. Since it only reads surface temperature, is it ok to use it to read the temperature of my frying pan as it heats up? Like when I made welsh cakes and I needed to cook them at 350F, I had pointed the gun at the frying pan, and when it read 350F that's when I put the cakes in. I suppose though that when I get an instant read thermometer, it would be better to use that on the pan?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
    Lee_C, Apr 8, 2019
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  4. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    @Lee_C,

    Yes that instant read thermometer should be fine.


    Yes to using the infrared thermometer to check the surface temperature of your skillet. That can come in very handy, especially with cast iron because cast iron is very slow to heat up. More often than not I end up placing food on my cast iron too soon.


    I’ll post the lemon curd recipe tomorrow. It’s written out in what I call baker’s shorthand (ratios and abbreviated instructions), so I need to write it into recipe format.


    Regarding the baker’s comments on lemon curd... interesting, but I have to say I don’t agree with what they wrote.


    The ingredients he/she lists are the ingredients for lemon curd. Now there is some debate on cooking method and the term lemon curd vs lemon cream, which I’ll discuss later, but this passage doesn’t explain the cooking method or state the name they use for their mixture. So I’m not sure why they consider what they make is something other than a curd.


    In describing their filling the call it a “lemon-like custard”. They don’t seem to realize that 1) a custard is any liquid mixture that is thickened and set with eggs; 2) lemon curd is a custard because it’s a liquid thickened and set with eggs


    Custards also include flan, crème brûlée, mousse, quiche, and pastry cream.


    Their comment that powdered sugar produces a creamy custard texture has no basis in food science. Sugar contains zero fat, so it cannot create a creamy texture.

    I think the creamy texture is created from the emulsification of the water (lemon juice) and fat in the egg yolk.


    They are correct that powdered sugar contains cornstarch. But it’s a very minimal amount (3%) since cornstarch will alter the characteristics of sugar. Given the minimal amount of cornstarch in powdered sugar, a significant amount would have to be used to thicken a liquid. It’s highly unlikely that they used enough powdered sugar to see any thickening from the cornstarch.


    I believe the thickening of their mixture is from the egg.


    Heat causes denaturation of the protein in the egg. The denaturalization of the protein causes the mixture to thicken. To create a stable custard, the egg base must be heated to 180°F. However, if the mixture exceeds 185°F it will begin to break down (curdle). The temperature in which the custard will curdle is another reason why I don’t think the cornstarch has anything to do with the thickening.


    Let’s go back to the cornstarch. Cornstarch has to be heated to 203°F to thicken. That 18°F above the temperature that an egg custard base begins to curdle. So to have thickening from cornstarch, they would have to use a significant amount of powdered sugar and heat the mixture beyond the temperature that an egg custard curdles.


    The world of lemon curd is a confusing one.


    First off the term lemon curd is a misnomer since lemon curd is not curds (cheese). But the term dates back 200 years when lemon curd was in fact fresh cheese similar to ricotta. The cheese was made by mixing lemon juice into fresh cream, then separating the curds and whey. Hence the name lemon curd.


    The earliest documentation of the evolution of lemon curd from cheese to the sweet lemon custard we know today is from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747. Glasse included a recipe called “clear lemon cream” that was made by simmering peeled lemons to render the juice. The liquid was strained, sweetened with sugar and thickened with egg whites.


    It makes sense that Glasse didn’t call her mixture lemon curd since it wasn’t cheese.


    And too, the cheese that was called lemon curd remained popular. A cookbook published 97 years after Glasse’s cookbook by Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury in included a recipe for cheese type lemon curd.


    It’s not clear how or exactly when lemon curd evolved from cheese to the whole egg, lemon juice, sugar, and butter mixture we now call lemon curd.


    But the term “lemon curd” has been a point of contention and confusion for a long time. In the 19th century Flower Shows and Fairs that held food competitions required the cheese type of lemon curd to be submitted as a Lemmon Cheese. Use of the term Lemon Curd was automatic grounds for disqualification.


    Today the dispute over “lemon curd” revolves around how the butter is added. Some cooks insist a lemon curd is made when butter is cooked with all the other ingredients. And if the butter is added after the egg base is cooked, Then it’s not lemon curd, but rather a “lemon cream”.


    Personally I don’t understand why anyone would cook the butter with the egg base. The high temperature melts the butter; causing it to separates. Once butter has separated there’s no way to re-emulsify it. Made this way, you end up with a bowl of tart greasy slop that isn’t fit to eat.


    But add the butter after the egg base is cooked and cooled to just under 140°F and OMG!—call it a curd or call it a cream, call it whatever, all I know is it is a bowl of tangy sweet creamy deliciousness. Every time I make lemon curd for a filling (yes I call it a curd, not a cream) I have to make a little bit extra just for me.


    Lemon bars are an American creation. The lemon filling is a type of baked custard. Unlike a classic lemon curd, flour is added to thicken the mixture. It also differs from a lemon curd in that it does not have butter.


    Compared to lemon curd, American lemon bars is a relatively new invention. The first known lemon bar recipe was submitted by a Mrs. Eleanor Mickelson and printed in the Chicago Tribune in 1962. A similar recipe for lemon bars was also included in the 1963 edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook. Over the years the recipes haven’t changed much.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 9, 2019
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  5. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Thanks very much for the very informative and interesting history behind lemon curd and the food science bits you described. I look forward to your recipe. ;)

    I read the Stella Parks article, very enlightening. Now I have a better understanding of achieving light and fluffy.


    "The ingredients he/she lists are the ingredients for lemon curd. Now there is some debate on cooking method and the term lemon curd vs lemon cream, which I’ll discuss later, but this passage doesn’t explain the cooking method or state the name they use for their mixture. So I’m not sure why they consider what they make is something other than a curd. "

    Here's the link to where I quoted her, including her cooking method.
    https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-the-best-lemon-bars-242521

    Is she perhaps just saying that the method of making lemon curd is to heat and pre-thicken it before baking, to make it gelatinous, versus just pouring a loose cold mixture onto the pastry and baking?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
    Lee_C, Apr 9, 2019
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  6. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Lemon Curd
    adapted from Pierre Herme


    Yield: approx 880 grams

    fills a 9” tart shell or a 3 layer 8” cake


    PLEASE READ MY NOTE ON INGREDIENT BELOW


    Ingredients
    220 g baker’s (caster) sugar

    zest of 3 unwaxed lemons

    200 g whole eggs, lightly beaten

    160 g fresh lemon juice

    300 g unsalted butter, 68°F - 70°F (20°C - 21°C)


    Equipment
    -Saucepan

    -Glass bowl, heatproof that fits over saucepan

    -Whisk

    -Heat proof spatula

    -Thermometer

    -Tamis or fine mesh sieve

    -Second bowl

    -Immersion blender or food processor

    -Plastic wrap


    Mise en place:
    Measure all ingredients

    Bring ingredients to required temperature

    Place the tamis or fine mesh sieve over the second bowl

    Set up the immersion blender or food processor

    To create a Bain Marie, fill saucepan with several several inches of water. Over medium high, heat the water to just under boiling. Reduce the heat to keep water at a simmer, just under boiling.



    Instructions

    Place the sugar and lemon zest in the heat proof glass bowl.


    Infuse the sugar with the lemon zest by rubbing the zest in to the sugar with fingertips until the sugar feels a bit moist.


    Stir lemon juice into the sugar, let sit a few minutes to allow sugar to absorb some of the juice.


    Whisk in lightly beaten eggs until the mixture is completely combined. The mixture should look homogeneous.


    Place the bowl over the simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.


    Using the heat proof spatula, slowly stir the egg mixture over simmering water until the custard base reaches 180°F (82°C).**


    The custard base requires very frequent stirring to create a smooth finished custard. It may take 15 minutes for the custard to reach the required temperature.


    The cooked temperature of the custard base is very important. If cooked to a temperature below 170°F (77°C) the custard will not set properly. If cooked to a temperature above 185°F (29°C), the custard will begin to curdle.


    Once the custard reaches 180°F (82°C) immediately remove it from the heat.


    Strain the custard through the tamis or fine mesh sieve.


    Stir the custard in a folding motion until some of the steam dissipates, about 30 seconds.


    Let the custard sit, stirring occasionally until The temperature lowers to 140°F (60°C). Cooling may take about five minutes.


    You may place the bowl over ice water and continue to stir to speed up cooling.


    Food processor: transfer the custard the food processor and secure the lid.


    Remove the insert from the feeding tube. Turn the food processor on and run the food processor for about 15 seconds allow the steam to escape.


    Begin adding the butter a couple of tablespoon at a time. Allow approximately 15 seconds between additions to allow the butter to emulsify into the custard.


    After all the butter has been added, continue to process the custard for about 2 minutes to fully emulsify the butter into the custard base.


    The custard will increase in volume and the color will become a pastel yellow. Do not over beat the custard. Over beating will break the emulsification.


    Transfer the custard into a clean non reactive bowl (I prefer glass). Place plastic film wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Take care to ensure there are no air bubbles between the plastic film wrap and the custard. This airtight cover will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the custard.


    Cover the top of the bowl with a second sheet of plastic film wrap. This will keep the custard from absorbing any odors in the refrigerator.


    Place in the refrigerator to cool.


    Refrigerate up to 1 week


    Freeze up to 1 month


    This lemon curd can be poured over a pre-cooked crust, and placed in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.


    It can be topped with a meringue, and placed under a broiler to brown the meringue.


    NOTE ON INGREDIENTS

    Lemons: type of lemon used will determine how tart the finished lemon curd tastes. The common Eureka lemon is highly acidic, so it will produce a very tart lemon curd. I never use Eureka lemons without blending it with other citrus to reduce the acidity. My favorite combination is Eureka lemon and ruby red grapefruit.


    Meyers lemons, a hybrid between a lemon and a mandarin orange has low acidity. The juice is much sweeter than the Eureka lemon. This is my lemon of choice. I will use this lemon alone, or mix it with passion fruit. I generally use frozen passion fruit concentrate, since fresh passion fruit is every experience and difficult to find. I strain the juice out of the purée. Then use the juice and a couple tablespoons of the purée.


    Any other juice can be substituted for the lemon juice. I’ve used grapefruit, Cara Cara oranges, navel oranges, and passionfruit.


    Butter: the butterfat content is important. The higher the butter fat content the creamier and smoother it will be. A rich butter with a minimum of 83% butterfat works best.


    Intensity: The intensity of flavor comes from the oil in the zest, not the juice. Did you control the flavor by increasing/decreasing The amount of lemon zest used.


    Texture: you can make a creamier and firmer texture by increasing the amount of butter used. For a firmer and creamier curd increase the butter by 40 grams.




    **The cooked temperature range of custard base is 170°F (77°C) and 185°F (85°C).


    I cook my custard base to 180°F (82°C) as it sets the custard slightly firmer than 170°F (77°C).


    This temperature range applies to all egg only thickened custard base, no matter what the base is used for.


    If the custard base includes a flour or starch thickener, the base must be heated to the temperature required for that particular starch


    Flour and tapioca starch: 145°F (63°C) minimum temperature required for flour to begin beginning thickening. Above 200°F (93°C) they begin to break down, and lose they ability to hold. The custard may hold initially, but as it sits, it will begin to release water and loosen up.


    Cornstarch: 203°F (95°C) minimum temperature required for cornstarch to begin thickening.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 10, 2019
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  7. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    @Lee_C

    I have to say I am really surprised by the inaccuracies in Splawn’s piece given The Kitchn is overall a pretty solid source for baking techniques and recipes.


    While Splawn implies her ingredients and method make the best lemon bars, hers is a typical American lemon bar. In fact she barely deviates from Eleanor Mickelson’s original 1962 recipe in ingredients and method. Lemon bars have been made this way for 57 years.

    Her claim that powdered sugar in the crust is a secret ingredient shows she didn’t even bother to research lemon bars. The crust on Eleanor Mickleson’s original lemon bar recipe is made with butter, powdered sugar, and flour crust. The crust is a shortbread; The Scottish and English have used either rice flour or cornstarch in shortbread for eons. Starch in shortbread it certainly is not a new concept.

    Her tip to pre-bake the crust is standard procedure for any moisture rich filling. In fact Mickelson’s original recipe called for a pre-baked crust, as did the wildly popular Betty Crocker recipe from 1963. So prebaking the crust is not new information.

    =================

    You asked:

    “Is she perhaps just saying that the method of making lemon curd is to heat and pre-thicken it before baking, to make it gelatinous, versus just pouring a loose cold mixture onto the pastry and baking?”


    Yes, I think Splawn implies a pre-cooked lemon curd makes terrible dry and flavorless filling. That the secret to a creamy filling with a bright lemon flavor is to bake the filling in the oven rather than pre-cooking it on the stove top.

    I don’t know how a lemon curd could be dry since it is rich in fat. The filling itself contains no flour or starch, so nothing to absorb the fat or significant amount of water from the egg whites and lemon juice. I just cannot understand how she ended up with a dry lemon bar when she used lemon curd.

    I live on a property with a dozen Meyers lemon trees. In the late fall and early winter the trees are laden with lemons. So make a lot of lemon curd. I bake it into tarts, I use it to fill my elderflower chiffon cakes, I eat it with fruit, and I eat it like a pudding. No matter what the application, the lemon curd is always creamy and bright in lemon flavor.

    I know I already questioned her claim that powdered sugar in the filling made it creamy and helped to thicken it. But when I saw she only uses 2 TBSP of powdered sugar in the filling, it really made me question her culinary training.

    Any home cook who has made a gravy or sauce knows it takes 1 TBSP of cornstarch to thicken 1 cup of liquid to the consistency of a gravy. It requires even more cornstarch to set liquid into a custard consistency.

    Powdered sugar only contains approximately 3% cornstarch.

    2 TBSP of powdered sugar weighs approximately 14 grams.

    3% of 14 grams is 0.45 gram. That’s not even half a gram. With that minuscule amount of cornstarch in the powdered sugar, her claim that the cornstarch aids thickening reads like nonsense.

    Aside from the minuscule amount of powdered sugar she uses there’s the glaring obvious use of thickeners in the filling:


    1/4 cup (30g) flour


    4 whole eggs (200g)


    1 yolk (20g)


    Total eggs is 220g. Of the total eggs, approximately 100g are yolks. She in fact uses one more yolk than the standard.


    The amount of flour she uses is enough to thicken up to 3 cups of liquid to the consistency of the gravy.


    For a custard the standard for thickening with egg is 1 to 2 egg yolks per cup of liquid (depending on the desired thickness). So 5 egg yolks can thicken up to 5 cups liquid.

    Given the thickening power of the flour and eggs, I’m baffled as to why she thinks less than half of gram of cornstarch in the powdered sugar thickens the lemon filling. Not to mention why she thinks powdered sugar creates a creamy texture when there’s no starch or fat in sugar, and she increases the overall fat content of the filling by using 5 yolks.

    Starch in liquid creates a creamy texture. We see it when we add cornstarch, flour, or tapioca starch in a liquid to create a gravy or sauce. But powdered sugar is not a starch. It may look like cornstarch, flour, and tapioca starch, but it is not a starch and does not chemically react in a liquid as starch.

    But for all of Splawn’s inaccurate and bizarre assertions, her ratios are all within the standards for a lemon bar. On paper it looks like it will make a good lemon bar. I take no issue with the recipe itself.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 10, 2019
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  8. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Norcalbaker! Wow, how cool to be able to pick lemons straight from home.

    I understand everything you described and will await receipt of my thermometer before making it, although it's going to be a while as it's coming from China. I'm looking forward to trying it and I'll follow your instructions to the letter. It'll also put some good use to the new thermometer with butter, custard and water temperatures to measure.

    But just some questions I have for clarification if you don't mind.

    '200g of whole eggs'. Is that the weight including shells?

    I looked up 'homogeneous'. Now I know what you mean, that the mixture should all look like one colour or consistency.

    Not sure my plastic spatulas are heatproof, I guess I can use one of my wooden spoons?

    Temperature of Bain Marie water 'just under boiling' and 'simmer just under boiling'
    Are we talking keeping at 95 to 99°C?

    Food processor. Do you mean with no blade or any accessory fitted?

    How will I know if the custard has been over beaten, would break down of emulsification look like ingredients separating?

    I think putting the plastic wrap directly onto the liquid custard surface and avoiding air bubbles might prove tricky but I'll try.

    If I'm not refridgerating for a week or freezing it, how long should it cool in the fridge straight after making it before pouring onto the crust?

    Here's my blind baked shortcrust pastry in my 8" x 8" Paul Hollywood tin that I made for my first attempt lemon bars. The pastry was very nice. The lemon mixture looks more colourful here than it actually was. I think it separated a bit and might be one reason for lack of colour when I sliced it up and looked at it from a side view. It tasted nice enough but it'll be so much better once I do your recipe.

    20190406_155655.jpg 20190406_164128.jpg 20190406_165259.jpg 20190406_165335.jpg 20190406_173913.jpg
     
    Lee_C, Apr 11, 2019
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  9. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I’m very fortunate to live on a property surrounded by vineyards and fruit orchards.

    Your lemon bar looks good. I think Chef John’s recipe has a bake time that’s a bit long. When custard is baked in the oven, it should only bake until it just set. The top should not be caramelized. After 15 minutes check to see if it’s set. This applies to custard based pies as well.

    Another reason I like using a pre-cooked lemon curd is not having to figure out if it’s baked enough.

    ====================


    Egg weight: good question. Weight of eggs is WITHOUT the shell.


    Spatula: yes if you are unsure of the temperature rating of your spatula use a wooden spoon. Just check the spoon to make sure it has not absorbed any strong odors from other foods.


    It’s important to avoid contact with metal utensils and bowls where possible. Acidic fruit curds and custards will develop a metallic taste if it comes in contact with a reactive metal. Most cooking tools and metal bowls are made of non-reactive stainless steel. But I find even these non-reactive metals impart a metallic taste. So I always cook the custard base in a glass bowl. Stir with a heat-proof spatula. Then cool in a glass bowl. The only time the custard base comes in contact with metal is with the whisk and the metal blade on the food processor. I recently purchased some whisks that are coated with silicone. So the curds I’ll make this Fall won’t come in contact with metal during the whisking process.


    Bain Marie: Correct, you want to keep the temperature around 210°F (98°C). A few bubbles in the water is fine. You just do not want a hard rolling boil. Too high a temperature will heat the mixture too fast and could curdle the custard.


    Over beating: when the lemon curd is properly emulsified it will look very smooth and creamy. There won’t be any visible oil. If it looks oily, that a sign that the emulsion has been destabilized. But as long as you beat for about two minutes, you should be fine. I set the timer and check it after 1 1/2 minutes. You don’t want to see any visible flecks of butter. The curd will be very soft when finished, but should still be creamy looking. Once it’s cooled in the refrigerator it will be firm.


    When to use curd: You can use the curd as soon as it is cool to room temperature. It doesn’t necessarily have to be fully set. Just make sure that you cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap while it sits.


    Food Processor: the standard chopping blade is used.


    Below are pics of the equipment needed

    Food processor with S-blade
    OR immersion blender

    808CE2E5-1BC6-48D7-82DF-EAEF15BE505D.jpeg

    Tamis
    AF955E0A-9FAE-452F-9413-3D8A833D9544.jpeg

    OR fine mesh sieve
    E379919B-35CD-477B-8DBD-E7F5714C6176.jpeg


    Double boiler or Glass bowl set over saucepan (I prefer the glass bowl since I don’t like using metal in this application)
    EB05E8C8-3D98-4E0E-AFEC-0846D85B0568.jpeg

    Spatula, whisk, thermometer
    A7E942CF-DFAA-42C4-BEFB-5164AD312E1B.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 11, 2019
    #9
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  10. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, great information! Yes, my processor has an S-blade.
     
    Lee_C, Apr 11, 2019
    #10
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  11. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Our discussions on lemon curd have me craving it. I have an family event coming up in a couple weeks and I’m now thinking about making a lemon meringue pie with a gluten-free crust. I cannot eat gluten, so I usually forgo dessert when I bake for family gatherings as I don’t think it fair to make others eat gluten free. But I may bake a pie in addition to the cake I was asked to make.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 12, 2019
    #11
  12. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    That's a pity you can't do gluten but I'll bet your gluten free crust lemon meringue pie will be awesome. If you make it, do let me see some pics of it. :)

    Regarding your gluten restriction and going off topic for a moment, I made some Cinnamon balls last week. I can eat gluten but it seems the recipe is gluten free. They're dead easy and quick to make. Maybe it's an additional thing you could make for family gatherings so that you can eat some? Here's the recipe.
    https://www.thepurplepumpkinblog.co.uk/gluten-dairy-free-cinnamon-balls-passover/

    I made a smaller amount which gave me 6 balls, these were my amounts.

    For about 6 cinnamon balls:
    1 egg white
    28.5 caster sugar
    57g ground almonds
    Quarter tablespoon ground cinnamon
    Icing sugar.

    Whisk egg white until stiff.
    Fold in ground almond, sugar and cinnamon.
    Form into a brown dough.
    Shape into balls about 1".
    Place on baking sheet and cook at 160c for about 10 to 12 minutes.
    Cool slightly and then coat with icing sugar.

    These pics show my dough and balls before baking. I then coated them completely in powdered sugar. So delicious.

    20190404_184607.jpg 20190404_185120.jpg
     
    Lee_C, Apr 12, 2019
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  13. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing the cinnamon ball recipe. They really do look delicious. I really like that they’re made with almond flour rather than, a mix of starches.

    I’ve been gluten-free for 10 years due to a medical condition. I’ve made peace with the fact that I will never eat good bread again.

    My gluten-free piecrust is pretty good. Most people can’t tell that it’s gluten-free. But baking gluten-free is always a chore since the absence of gluten makes everything difficult to handle. If I make gluten-free meringue pie I will definitely post some pictures.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 12, 2019
    #13
  14. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I made lemon curd on Thursday using Meyers lemon, which is a hybrid of mandarin orange and lemon. So it has a very orange rind and a very thin smooth skin. This is what it always look like...it’s very pale. I put the bowl on a towel with a lemon yellow stripe for contrast.

    BF7E3244-2700-498F-9E21-BA8DF97CE644.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 5, 2019
    #14
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  15. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    That's a lovely colour Norcalbaker, very vibrant. I bet it tastes delicious.:)
    I'm looking forward to remaking my lemon bars.
     
    Lee_C, May 6, 2019
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  16. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. This stuff is addictive. I love all things lemon.
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 6, 2019
    #16
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