A few months back, out of the blue, I suddenly remembered Lemon Curd, and the fact that I hadn’t enjoyed any for over 30 years; indeed, I don’t remember having even seen any in over three decades.
This was around four in the morning, and I sat bolt upright in bed, with only one thing on my mind. I said, slowly, clearly, and with considerable gusto (considering that mere seconds earlier I had been in a deep sleep), “Lemon Curd!”
“What? … What is it?… What’s going on?… Jamie?” mumbled my prone wife sleepily.
“Lemon curd… “
And that was it.
I’m still unsure as to what brought about this nocturnal brain fart, as something must have triggered it, but there it was. And I simply couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night, as this brought up so many questions:
Why had I forgotten about this stuff until now? At four in the bloody morning?
Had I gone through a traumatic experience related to lemon curd and subconsciously deleted all reference to it from my memory?
Is lemon curd even a thing in Canada?
Had they simply stopped manufacturing it and I simply hadn’t noticed its passing, much like that late-lamented tomato-based Bicks burger relish?
Had I completely imagined that it had ever actually existed, and I had some lemon curd false memory syndrome thing going on, à la that apparently entirely imaginary 90s movie Shazaam that so many swear they have watched?
I was apparently peering into the fever dream lemon curd matrix.
Or had I, the previous evening, made that clichéd rather sad middle-aged man mistake of ingesting stupidly potent edibles just because they are legal?
The next morning an extremely tired me, cup of tea in hand, wearily tries to retrace my mental footsteps in an attempt to reverse engineer this lemon curd thing, but to no avail.
Was this simply pandemic anxiety manifesting itself in a regression to nostalgic comfort food, memories from the mind of a younger me, from me as a child?
I Googled it… Wikipedia… it redirects to Fruit Curd:
“Fruit curd is a dessert spread and topping usually made with citrus fruit, such as lemon, lime, orange, or tangerine. Other flavor variations include passion fruit, mango, and berries such as raspberries, cranberries or blackberries. The basic ingredients are beaten egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice, and zest, which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, flavorful spread. Some recipes also include egg whites or butter.“
Okay, so lemon curd does exist. It is a thing. I’m not completely making this up. I had only ever experienced lemon curd, but who knew such a spectrum of fruity curds existed? The mind boggles…
After dressing, I jumped in the car and drove to the local Foodland; appropriately masked and gloved, I stalked the preserves aisle… Nope. Nah. Nothing. Nada. No dice. No lemon curd.
Back in the car I made the decision to drive to Collingwood, as the stores there always have a wider array of items, and I was so damn determined to get to the bottom of this. And it was at Collingwood FreshCo that I would find some President’s Choice Black Label Lemon Curd. Hallelujah!
Needless to say, I sped home, a veritable fire in my belly.
I think it would be fair to describe lemon curd as being akin to sticky, sweet mayonnaise infused with the very essence of lemons. Now, if the thought of that makes you involuntarily retch, then you simply have no idea what you are missing.
Smearing it all over two halves of a toasted muffin, it all came flooding back to me, the zesty citric notes cutting through the indulgence of the gloppy egg yolk/butter suspension… the term ambrosial simply doesn’t do it justice.
I had discovered my lockdown Kryptonite, and it was lemon curd.
The next step is making my own…
Also, apart from the President’s Choice Black Label, can any of our readers recommend any other brands available within Canada?
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’s so glad to have rediscovered lemon curd.