High Tea with Ayesha
Ayesha and I are partners in crime. Cooking, that is. We exchange recipe ideas, dinner dilemmas, and stories of successes and failures in our own kitchens. At least once a year, we get together and try all the recipes we’ve saved up to experiment with. We prepare huge meals then invite our friends over to eat (yes, they love us). When we lived in the same city along with our other chefs, Rabea and Amna, it would usually start with two of us calling the other. “Ayesha, come over. We have an emergency. A cooking emergency.”
Dorky, but nobody forgets those meals.
Of course, we have our share of mistakes too….like that honey-orange loaf that left a goopy, sticky mess on the bottom of the oven because we put 1 cup instead of 1 tablespoon of butter. Don’t know how it happened.
Over my spring break, Ayesha and I succeeded at our next culinary adventure: High Tea.
Admire our menu, all made from scratch. Drool over the pictures (courtesy of Ayesha).
– Buttery rich scones
– Almond chicken salad tea sandwiches
– Smoked salmon tea sandwiches
– Asiago cheese puffs
– Chocolate lava cakes
– Fresh fruit tarts with vanilla custard
– Mock clotted cream
– Lemon curd
– Dulce de Leche
– Ayesha’s Homemade Strawberry jam
– Fresh fruit
I made the lemon curd, so i’ll share that recipe here.
Lemon curd is a custard without the cream. The eggs gel the lemon juice and zest as they cook and the butter makes it rich and creamy. Curd should be smooth, not eggy, and quite sweet with a bit of tang from the citrus you use. I learned this lemon curd from this recipe for a very easy, beautiful, and delicious cheesecake.
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
6 tbs lemon juice
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into bits
1. In a small glass or metal bowl, mix together the lemon zest, juice, eggs, and sugar until well combined.
2. Create a double boiler – In a small saucepan, set some water to a simmer (not boiling!). Put the bowl on top of the saucepan. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. The heat from the simmering water will gently cook the eggs and dairy so they become custardy, not scrambly.
3. Once the lemon, sugar, and egg mixture bowl is set on top of the simmering water saucepan – whisk! Keep whisking evenly with a wire whisk until the eggs are frothy and the mixture is hot. This takes from three to five minutes.
4. Start adding in bits of the butter. You can add a few at a time, and the last one doesn’t have to melt before you add the next, but do not add all of the butter at once.
5. Keep whisking. Don’t stop whisking.
6. Whisk until the mixture starts getting thicker. You’ll be able to see and feel more resistance to your whisk, but it won’t get as thick as a custard, at least while it’s hot. When it feels thicker, stick a spoon into the mixture. If there’s a coat of lemony goodness on the back of your spoon that doesn’t drip off, it’s done! (see picture)
The key to this lemon curd is to keep whisking and to have your double boiler set up right. It’s great over cheesecake, like in the original recipe, with fresh berries, in a tart, or as we used it – spread onto a scone, accompanied by some clotted cream. Amazing. so. good.
There will certainly be another blog after our next culinary adventure!