Lemon custard is a smooth and creamy dessert with a sour lemon bite!
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour
I had to make Lemon Custard as one of the many layers for the Showstopper challenge of my Great British Bake-Off Challenge: Week 5. The lemon custard was my second layer of the trifle terrine, and it adds a bit needed sour and acid flavor to cut through the sweetness of the dessert. Because this is a part of a free-standing terrine, I added a setting agent to make sure that the layer can stand on its own as well as in the dish. This was one of my favorite layers in the whole dish.
To make the custard, I used heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, sugar, egg yolks, gelatin, and lemon juice. The lemon juice is crucial to get that bright note of lemon. But otherwise, this is a simple mix of ingredients.
Prepping the Ingredients
During the “prepping” period for this recipe, I found myself doing three different things. The first, was soaking the gelatin in a minimal amount of water to allow for the gelatin to bloom. The water should be just enough to wet all of the powder but not enough to overwhelm the gelatin.
The second is warming the heavy whipping cream over a low heat. I wanted the cream to become hot but not boiling. Boiling will cause the cream to carry a nutty, almost burnt taste which should be avoided.
The third is whisking the eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar together until it becomes pale and fluffy. This helps set the eggs and creates the base for the custard to firm up and set. I did this step by hand and my arm felt like it was one fire by the end of it. Whisking eggs is no joke. I honestly can’t image how people baked before electric mixers sometimes.
After all the ingredients have been prepped, it’s time to combine things. But there is an order to follow! First, I whisked the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture. I poured the hot cream into the egg mixture slowly and whisked constantly. This was done to avoid the eggs cooking to quickly and curdling. I put the mixture back on the heat once everything was combined. The heat allows for the custard to thicken.
Since this is going into a trifle terrine, I then added the bloomed gelatin into the mixture after taking it off the heat. This will allow for the custard to set and be able to be free standing. The gelatin should fully dissolve. The last step of this process is pouring in the lemon juice and whisking it until fully incorporated. Then it’s time to leave the dessert to set.
Like I said before, this was probably my favorite layer of the finished dessert because it had an amazing depth of flavor. It was tart and bright and all good things. It was also super easy to make as there wasn’t a lot of steps. While I might have tired my arm whisking some of the ingredients, it honestly wasn’t too bad. I just like to complain. Overall, this is something I would make again in a heartbeat.
What is a Custard
There are many desserts that can fit under the umbrella description of a custard. The basic definition for a custard is a dessert (or sweet sauce) made with milk, eggs, and sugar. The milk or cream give it a smooth texture, while the eggs yolks are often used to thicken the custard to the proper consistency. Custards have been used a dessert filling, sauces, and as the desserts themselves leaving a wide range to play in!
- 1 Tsp Gelatin
- ¾ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- ½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Egg Yolks
- ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Lemon Juice
- Soak the gelatin in approximately 2 tsp of cold water until it reaches a viscous consistency.
- In a medium pan, heat the heavy whipping cream on low heat until almost boiling. Do not boil the cream.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sugar until pale and creamy
- Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture until combined. Stirring constantly.
- Tip the mixture back into the pan and stir over a low heat until the custard thickens (enough to coat the back of a spoon). Do not let the mixture boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until the gelatin is dissolved.
- Stir in lemon juice, strain into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool, stirring frequently.
- Allow to set. Enjoy!!