The scenes in Downton Abbey episodes spend a lot of time drinking tea and eating little cakes, scones and biscuits. On season 5 episode 2 I noticed they often spread sauce or curd on the breads. Many years ago a very sweet English lady I worked with made Lemon Curd that she gave in jars as gifts. Since then I have thought fondly about it and wished I had asked for her recipe.
I didn't acquire her recipe but adapted a recipe from Pary Moppins. I am very pleased that the finished curd tastes very much like my friends gift. The little change I made was adding more sugar (2 and 3/4 cups). I know that sounds like a lot but the little tarts have only a little more than a teaspoon of filling in each and before I added the extra sugar it made the taste tester pucker up pretty good and even cross her eyes! When I increased the sweetness she smacked her lips and gave me the O-KAY sign.
I'm the kind of cook that needs more of a guide the first time I make something so I also used a candy thermometer to indicate the temperature needed (200° F) to achieve a thickness perfect for tarts or spreading on toast or muffins. It took about 40 minutes of stirring the 4 ingredients in a double boiler but having Girl Grand to help me with that worked out fine. By the way, if you don't have a double boiler try this. Put a large pan on the stove burner and a trivet or canning jar lid in the bottom of the large pan. Fill the large pan about 1/2-2/3 full with water. Place a smaller pan or bowl over the trivet and above the water. The trivet/lid and water will keep the smaller container off the bottom and lessen the chance of scorching the curd.
While Girl Grand stirred the lemon mixture and chatted I made a crust and used canning jar lids to cut the dough into circles. I gently pressed the pie dough into mini muffins and prebaked for 15 minutes at 350° F.
By the time the tart shells were cooked and cooled the Lemon Curd was ready. The curd is very lemony and creamy. I used a small ladle to pour curd into the little tart shells and the rest into jelly jars. It is super yummy on a breakfast piece of toast.
Girl Grand and I set up a proper tea to enjoy the efforts of our cooking. It didn't take long for us to devour the tarts!