Born to be the perfect foil for rich, creamy Greek yogurt, Meyer lemon curd is wonderfully lemony, and both dessert- and snack-worthy.
When it comes to yogurt, I’m the ficklest Fickleston there ever was. I brand-jump and flavor-jump unpredictably. I left behind dairy yogurt altogether last year in favor of the alternate up-and-comers, only to run screaming back to dairy after freaking myself out about the weirdness of coconut yogurt.
(Note: coconut yogurt is not weird in the least, but I have a food aversion tendency and once the trigger is pulled — and a silly texture thing set it off one random day — that’s all she wrote.)
I drift between Greek yogurt and regular, creamy yogurt. I hop on the Fage blueberry bandwagon for long stretches, then hop back off.
A browsy sort of curiosity made me stop in front of the small Liberte display at Kroger one day. People rave about this yogurt. Even though General Mills (Yoplait) purchased the U.S. operations of Liberte a couple of years ago — which often means qualitative bad things for once wholesome offerings, when Big Food purchases something produced with tender loving care by the little guys — folks still go nuts over Liberte.
Just the other day, I was casually reading the label on the one remaining carton of Liberte Lemon Mediterranee when I felt an prickly aura settling around my head (you know, that indescribable sensation of knowing someone is staring at you. Hard.) I looked up to find a woman blocking my access to the shelf, her scowl scorching a hole in my yogurt research reverie.
She wanted my carton — the last carton — of Mediterranee. I clutched the lemon treasure to my chest and turned away as though protecting a Dalmatian puppy from Cruella herself. Her outraged “tuh!” (the sound made by clicking one’s tongue against the roof of the mouth) followed me as I scurried down the frozen food aisle.
Bitches be crazy about Lemon Mediterranee, I tell you.
And I have to say, I concur. It and Liberte’s Lemon Greek yogurt are my new obsessions — I’ve never had yogurt with a distinct layer of lemon curd before. The love was immediate. But such obsession comes at a price: Liberte is out of stock roughly 50% of the time in my ‘hood (and it turns what I’m sure are otherwise lovely people into scowling, darts-of-hate shooting shoppers).
After back-to-back weeks of no lemon Liberte at all, it was time for more research. Stores stock an impressive collection of local, artisan, and gourmet brands, so I began my own taste tests. Although I found a good lemon back-up by way of Noosa brand yogurt, I concluded that it would be better to find a quality plain yogurt and make my own lemon curd to mix in.
And so here we are today. I grabbed one of the last bags of Meyer lemons and dashed home. On impulse, I cut three sprigs from my garage-overwintering rosemary bush and got to work.
The resulting Meyer lemon curd, scented with fresh rosemary, was eyes-rolled-back wonderful. I reduced the standard curd recipe’s sugar content ever so slightly, knowing the curd’s raison d’etre was to be mixed in with a creamy yogurt that would temper the tart.
Now I just have to settle on a plain yogurt that won’t trigger a food aversion. I’m hoping Whole Foods will carry plain Liberte Greek by the pound (none of my neighborhood’s stores carry it plain). Creamy Liberte yogurt swirled with a homemade rosemary meyer lemon curd mix-in.
I dream about that day.
And so, I’m taking recommendations: what’s your favorite plain (preferably Greek) yogurt?
- 3 to 5 Meyer lemons (depending on the size)
- scant 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- Grate the Meyer lemons, taking care to exclude the white pith, until you have 1/2 teaspoon of zest. Slice and squeeze the lemons to produce 1/2 cup of lemon juice, straining as you go to catch the seeds. (I had really small, lime-sized lemons, and I needed 5.)
- Heat a medium, heavy-bottom sauce pan over low, and add the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt, and whisk well, until the egg yolks have smoothed out (the mixture will still appear broken - that's okay). Add the lemon zest, the rosemary, and the butter, and stir constantly until the butter melts (this will take several minutes). The butter will emulsify the lemon and eggs, creating a smooth, golden solution.
- Increase heat to medium-low. Stir constantly to prevent the eggs from setting up. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and begins to resemble a creamy jelly. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, you're looking for the curd to reach 170°F. The curd should fall - not drip or drizzle - from the whisk or spatula when lifted.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs (it's okay of leaves have fallen off the stem) and strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. (Use a spatula to push the mixture through the mesh.) Let the curd cool. (Accelerate the cooling process by placing the bowl in a larger bowl half-filled with ice water.)
- Refrigerate the curd for up to 2 weeks. To enjoy with yogurt, mix in a spoonful.
Equipment you might find helpful for this recipe:
These are items I use in my own kitchen and can recommend to any home cook. I particularly love the All-Clad saucier plan. With rounded sides and a heavy, highly conductive construction, it’s the perfect pan for creating sauces — and beautiful meyer lemon curd!