There is a well-known chain of French bakeries and communal tables that have jars of chocolate spread available for your delectation.
I crave these jars.
Infact, I'm so greedy when it comes to these jars of chocolate I'm afraid to name this well-known chain. I suspect that if I do I will be banned for life for gluttony and my photo-fit, with my face smeared in chocolate, will be on the kitchen walls in the style of the US Most Wanted list.
I have been known to spoon the entire contents of the white chocolate version into my mouth in the time it takes my friends to peruse the four page menu. I can't meet the disapproving waitresses' eyes as they come to clear the table and remove the empty jars. And I feel so full afterwards sitting upright is no longer an option.
And now, here at home, I find myself doing exactly the same (clearly the sugar induced headaches mean nothing to me) with a jar of lemon curd I made at the weekend. As Delia notes: '[lemon curd] is something that is never the same when shop-bought'. And, just like making a rissotto, there is something very calming and comforting continuously stirring the mixture.
Mini Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes
(makes twelve; recipes adapted from Peyton and Byrne: British Baking for the lemon curd and Rachel Allen: Bake for the cupcakes)
For the lemon curd:
225g caster sugar
Zest and juice of three lemons
5 egg yolks
300g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 x 600ml jar, sterilised
For the cupcakes:
125g (4 ½ oz) butter, softened
125g (4 ½ oz) caster sugar
Finely grated zest 2 large lemons
2 beaten eggs
150g (5oz) plain flour, sifted
¼ tsp baking powder
Half a punnet of raspberries
To make the curd:
1. Put the sugar, lemon zest and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and warm gently, stirring constantly with a whisk for ten minutes.
2. Add the butter, one cube at a time, ensuring each cube is fully melted before adding the next cube
3. The mixture should be smooth and thick by the time all the butter has been incorporated
4. Strain the curd through a sieve to remove the zest and spoon into the sterlised jar
To make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
2. Cream the butter in a large bowl until soft
3. Add the sugar and zest and beat again until the ingredients are combined and the mixture fluffy and light
4. Gradually add in the beaten eggs, continuing to beat
5. Fold in the flour and baking powder
6. Divide the mixture between your cases/silicone moulds
7. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the cakes spring back to touch, the cakes are golden yellow in colour and your kitchen smells delicious
8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
1. Spoon a teaspoon of lemon curd on top of each mini cupcake
2. Slice the raspberries in half and place one on each cupcake
- A lemony scrambled egg can result from overheating the lemon curd when warming
- The lemon curd, if runny, can run, well, everywhere: it might be worth decorating the cupcakes just prior to serving them
- Store the curd in a cool, dark place for up to one year
- The above recipe does make plenty of lemon curd (you'll only need 12 teaspoons for this recipe) but as well as shoveling the lemon curd straight from the jar into my mouth I'll also re-make this recipe: Lemon Curd Swiss Roll
- This has been entered into Fabulicious Food's brilliant Simple and In Season Challenge