Lemon is one of my all time favorite dessert flavors right up there with cherry and blueberry. And since lemons are in season from January through March I find it a good time to start baking all of my favorite lemony things. Sunday I noticed a few beautifully ripe lemons hanging on our tree. So with the help of the lemon picking husband, I gathered a few and set to work on Fresh Lemon Muffins with Lemon Curd. All you need is a cup of tea and this afternoon treat will make you feel sunny even on the chilliest of winter days.
*My cookbook calls it lemon spread, I say lemon curd…tomato, tomahto
Fresh Lemon Muffins (adapted from Muffins by Elizabeth Alton)
Makes: 12 regular or 48 mini muffins
2 lemons, well scrubbed and patted dry
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream + 1 Tbs milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs granulated sugar
Heat oven to 375° F. Grease muffin cups or use paper baking cups. Finely grate the lemon peel so you have 2 Tbs. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and the 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, on at a time. Add lemon peel. Stir baking soda into sour cream and milk mixture; it may bubble. Mix flour into egg mixture one third at a time, alternating with the sour cream. When well blended, scoop into muffin cups using an ice cream scoop. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned and springy to touch.
While muffins bake, mix lemon juice with the 2 Tbs sugar in a small bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. When muffins are baked, remove from oven and let cool 3 to 5 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and dip top of muffins in lemon juice and sugar syrup.
Serve with lemon spread.
Lemon Spread (from Muffins by Elizabeth Alton)
Makes 2 cups
4 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbs freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
Beat eggs with a stainless steel whisk in the top of a double boiler or in a medium-size stainless steel bowl. Whisk in sugar, lemon peel, and juice. Place over simmering water. Check to make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl; otherwise, mixture may get too hot and curdle. Stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon, until it is hot to the touch.
Add butter on piece at a time, stirring until each piece is melted- this should take 8 to 12 minutes. When mixture is glossy, translucent and creamy, remove from heat. Pour into a serving dish, or into two clean, dry, hot, 1/2-pint jars. Let cool about 1 hour. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator.
Keeps at least 2 month in the refrigerator.
Freutcake tip: Zest and juice lemons for both recipes together to save time. Also make the Lemon Spread first so that it has time to cool while the muffins bake. Enjoy!