Real Homemade Lemon Curd, Meringue Pie!

                   
A lemon kissed, summery helloodles, one & all!

I love love love a real, from scratch, homemade lemon curd. Nothing compares to the rich, unctuous, tart & tangy, silk, of a bright curd. We have company coming today who have absolutely zero food allergies so I bought a bake yourself, gluten-filled yuckie crust for them, (Even touching flour makes me sick.) & I am making a mini GF pie in a bowl on the side for me. Do not be deterred from having guests who don't need to stick to GF, instead work with it. Usually I make my own crusts from scratch without gluten but my injuries are acting up & this was short notice. So here is a breakdown of what to do to achieve a brilliant lemon curd, feel free to substitute limes instead, and this recipe calls for butter. I tolerate butter but no other dairy. If this is a problem for you, I recommend doing a combo of a fruity mild olive oil 1/3 cup and add three Tbs of cold pressed organic coconut oil. I add a pinch of sea salt to this mix when melted, stir it well, then freeze it so I can break it into cubes and whisk the emulsion into submission. Be aware this will change the taste of your curd and use a VERY light olive oil that was cold pressed. Feel free to cut it with grape seed oil if you like, although olive oil and lemon has become a very popular combo in the baking world, as of late. Up the sugar and vanilla a touch if needed. 
So without further ado I present the recipe. As always it is gluten free and I added 1/4 more of everything to have enough for my extra, on the side safe GF dessert. Pics follow minus the ingredient pics- I forgot. 
I also will add what you need for the meringues and simple GF crust to make a pie.


Real Lemon Curd:
-4 egg yolks (I used 6 to have extra) keep the whites separated with no yolks aside for the pie!
-1 tsp real vanilla
-2 lemons zested
-2/3 C lemon juice no pits!
-1/2 C sugar (fine)
-4 small drops organic natural yellow colour (I buy from www.naturesflavors.com)
-1/2 C demi-sel (half salted) butter, cut in cubes and kept chilled in the fridge. Never ever room temperature or melted!

Method:
-Fill a small pot 1/4 of the bottom with water and heat on medium high heat, don't boil! Just under a simmer, no bubbles break the surface.
-In a medium sized bowl whisk together, yolks, sugar, and vanilla, until well mixed.
-Continue to whisk & slowly add the lemon juice, so as not to burn the yolks with the acid. (Yes, the acid can "cook" the yolks)
-Whisk in zest and then place your bowl on the pot filled 1/4 of the way with water that you heated. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of your bowl, if it does empty some as you have too much. This is your double boiler to cook your egg mixture more slowly without direct heat that often results in scrambled lemony eggs instead of lemon curd.
                  
-Now constantly whisk your mixture, you want to cook and thicken your curd. Be aware that this process takes time and you can NOT stop the whisking. That means no walking away, no phone calls, zero distractions! Become one with the curd. (giggles are acceptable)
-As it cooks and you constantly whisk, switching hands as you need to rest one or the other, you will notice the colour and texture will change. It needs to feel thicker when you whisk and must coat the back of a spoon. Chefs call this, Napper la cuillier. 
-When it coats a spoon and you can draw a line through it with your finger that holds, immediately remove it from the heat.
              
-Now for more whisking, this is the exciting part! All the time whisking, add 1-2 cubes of the CHILLED butter. Whisk each one in thoroughly before adding the next one. This is am emulsion, you must be sure the oil is well incorporated each time before continuing or else your curd will break and become all streaky, fat separated, & it will be time to try try again. ((hugs if this happens))
               
-Keep going until all the butter is incorporated, I sometimes need to place the bowl back on the double boiler for 15-25 seconds to warm it again if the butter drops the temp too quickly. Just be careful when doing this.
                
-Add your food colouring to brighten up the yellow a bit by whisking it a few seconds.

-At this point you may keep your curd in a jar in the fridge and feel free to eat it with fresh blueberries, or on scones or toast, or use in a few days to fill a cake. Or snack it straight out of the jar, Mine never lasts more than 3-5 days because it always gets eaten. I found this pic on the net of curd in a jar as I seem to have deleted mine, but you get the point.

Below is mine as I "taste test" the batch, don't allow anyone to deter you from this task. It is of utmost important that you do this, you are taking one for the team. You're so good, all you do is give, give, give. (hehheh)
            
-Chill the pie with Saran wrap touching the curd, so as not to get skin.
-Let chill for 4-5 hours. Put the meringue on it just before serving. Recipe follows.

Okay, now I am going to walk you through pie crust and the dreaded meringue. I have come to understand that people feel very intimidated by meringue, it's really quite simple and looks oh so elegant. I am going to do a home style meringue for you today, there is another recipe that gives a much smoother and higher end, professional, finished product; but that involves sugar syrup, proper temp, exact moments, and a big mixer. So...not today.
So for the crust, I can't even touch gluten anymore so the guest crust is one I bought in the store and baked as per the package directions, making sure to dock it (poke holes) using a fork. It's the big guy in the pics on the right.
Gluten free crust for my single serving used 3/4 C of ground almonds, 2 Tbsp of melted organic coconut oil, and 1tsp of Organic honey.
           
I mixed it all together and pressed it into the bowl gently, just like graham crumbs.

Then I took a damp new paper towel and cleaned up the bowl before pouring the filling into my bowl and then the rest into the cooled pie shell.
           
               
               
                 And they looked very pretty once the curd was in:
               
Now for the meringue:

Use the 6 room temperature egg whites with absolutely no yolk or fat in them. They won't whip up if there are even trace amounts of fat in them or on any of your equipment. Start whipping them with a hand blender until they are foamy.
             

Add 1/4 C of fine sugar and continue beating. You will notice that with the addition of sugar the texture changes and you start to get a glossy product which begins to rise very quickly.
         
            

Top left are soft peaks, keep whipping until you get stiff perks but not beyond that or your meringues will become rocky and then they will fall. Never to rise again and then you must start anew and try try again. ((hugs if this happens with a spot of tea))
On the right is what you are looking for, big brawny tough guy meringues that hold their curves. I actually went a bit too far and they ended up a bit grainy, I had to walk away from them for a while to answer a call and ended up needing to re-whip them because they began to fall, don't do that! My family is not picky so they got the pie with the grainy meringue. Eat it and like it!
Heat your oven on High broil.
Now start spreading on your chilled curd filled pies my friends and just have fun spreading and lifting to make peaks, or pipe it if you like. 
                
              
Now with your oven mitts on and with great loving gentleness, place those beauties on the rack and turn them every 20 seconds just til they get perfectly golden. This happens VERY quickly, like, less than 2 mins. so don't leave or answer phones or get distracted. Otherwise all your effort will be for naught!
This is what it all looks like along with the finished pretties!
               
            

             
Enjoy! 
BTW, if it's a really hot summer day, really keep these in the fridge, super cold, and don't leave them out before cutting and serving, They will melt and your curd will NOT hold-up. You can add a packet of dissolved gelatin to the still warm curd to help it hold its shape if you need to travel with this pie in warmer weather.
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