Guilt-free lemon curd

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd, one of the best ever things to put on toast, has its down side. Namely, that it gets much of its decadence from butter and egg yolks. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of richness, you can do all right for yourself.

This recipe, taken from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts, requires no butter and only one egg. It’s still lemon custard, but much more with the lemon and less with the custard.

lc_deconstructed_lemon

I strained the zest from the syrup before adding it to the egg — I figured I’d lose less that way. I also don’t have a proper sieve, so I made a somewhat ghetto version with some cheesecloth and a rubber band.

lc_ghetto_sieve

Worked just fine.

lc_strained syrup  

The entire process takes very little time and is very low-dish and -labor intensive. And you get pretty good results.

lc_top_jar

re-re-learning the basics: pancakes redux

When all else fails, read the manual.

The online recipe resources provide an ease of use (one printed page versus propping up/open a book), a variety of options, and the advantage of feedback and commentary that sometimes can make cookbooks look like CD players in the age of iPods — not quite obsolete, but certainly getting there.

But sometimes, the recipes that have been around for generations have survived for a reason. And more than sometimes, it pays to learn how to walk with the basics before you try to run with the fancy tricks.

After trying pancakes for the first time with whole wheat flour and blueberries and not quite succeeding, I took a step back and made a new plan.

I pulled out my copy of The Joy of Cooking.

Basic Pancakes

(from The Joy of Cooking)

1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.75 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar

1-2 eggs (if using two, separate and beat whites, which are folded in last; I used one)

3 tablespoons melted butter
1-1.25 cups milk

Apart from working with an untested recipe, my previous pancake adventure had me working with an unfamiliar pan. My griddle is a Guardian Service piece, which the parental rightly informs me was produced in the 1950’s and Google tells me is now something of a collector’s item. (The factory burned down in 1956.) It is made of aluminum and is considered “bulletproof,” although I would rather not test this literally and stick to making pancakes. Also, when not in use, it’s actually clean and pretty, if not sparkling like the ones on the fansites; I keep forgetting to take a picture.

The recipe worked exactly as it was supposed to — I could tell before I even ran the test pancake — and so my real lesson for today was to learn how ‘fast’ the griddle is. And the answer is pretty darned fast. I heated it properly this time — a few drops of water flicked on to the surface skittered around instead of sitting there — and went to work.

The griddle was hot enough that I was overcooking the first ones by the time I got the fourth ones down and reached for the camera to take a picture. But eventually I got a grasp on things and the top picture is actually the final pancake, one giant one to finish off the batter. The smaller ones were measured out with a 1/8th cup measure.

My learning curve, in picture form:

(Also my Hockey News yearbook, a cow corncob holder, and the Paris issue of Gourmet, but such is my dining room table.)

re-learning the basics: pancakes

Gluttony.

Gluttony.

I haven’t made pancakes in forever. Possibly high school. Maybe even never on my own. I have a fabulous waffle recipe based on the one in James Beard’s American Cookery, so I’ve always defaulted to that when it comes to feeding guests and the occasional Sunday treat. Beard, of course, has a pancake recipe, but it has a lot of butter in it (so does the waffle recipe, but I’ve cut it down by almost half) and so I poked around online at the usual suspects to find something a little less of a guilty pleasure. I settled on this recipe for whole wheat blueberry pancakes, which actually has no butter in it. I made the adjustments as per the comments, although I may have erred too much on the side of liquid, as the batter came out a little runnier than I’d have wanted even after standing. I’d already added the blueberries at that point (yes, a beginner’s mistake; I could have dropped them on later for even spacing), so there was no adding more flour and then re-mixing in the KitchenAid.

My first batch. I knew to wait for the bubbles before flipping, but as you can see,I waited a little too long. The first batches weren’t charred, but they were dark. I got much better by the end. This was also my first time with the (very old) griddle, so I had a little bit of a learning curve there, too. Next time, less spray grease (puddle cleverly cropped from the bottom of the frame).

Still early on in the process; by the end, the pancakes were getting finished too quickly to go grab the camera.

There wasn’t a whole lot of lift to these, probably because I mussed with the liquid ratio. Nonetheless, they were hardly flat and held the very large blueberries — from my stash of frozen — without looking like an accident waiting to happen.

The plate at the top was both breakfast and lunch and I have a decent amount left over and tucked into the freezer. Before the next time, though, I think I will run this recipe against Beard’s and see where I can improve, if not the recipe then at least my techniques.