December 9, 2010

On the Second Day of Christmas

Being that the gift is a partridge in a pear tree, might I suggest that you not give people some ghastly gift basket from Harry & David or Hickory Farms? Regardless of how much someone might like apples and pears, or salami and cheese, these are the kind of presents you give to people whom you do not know at all.

But there is merit in giving a gift of food which you have made yourself. My father used to make the most amazing lemon curd and package it beautifully and personally deliver it in the days before Christmas. lemon_curd

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 sticks (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

Whisk together zest, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add butter all at once and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour curd through a fine sieve into jars and cover immediately. It will keep in the fridge for a week after it’s opened.

Another great idea using lemons is Limoncello, which if you start immediately, will be ready at Christmas. The longer it steeps, the better, and it’s not like people are going to chug down the bottle on Christmas night.limoncello

  • 2 750ml bottles of pure grain alcohol or if you’re a sissy like me, 100 proof vodka
  • the zest of 17 lemons – I use my fancy Microplane grater.
  • 3.5 cups of white sugar
  • 5 cups of water

Zest the lemons, put them in a glass one-gallon jar with the alcohol and let it sit for 45 days. Then mix the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Let the mixture sit until completely cool and then mix with the alcohol and lemon infusion. Let that mixture sit for 45 days. Then filter the mixture 4 times using #4 coffee filters. Bottle the liquid and put it in the freezer. It’s excellent alone, with club soda as a spritzer, or over ice-cream.

Failing these, a good box of chocolates is usually appreciated!


  1. Oooooh lemon of my all time favorites! THANK YOU for the recipe....K

  2. Great ideas, off to get some lemons tomorrow. Might have to whip up a couple batches of both of these.

  3. One word Meg....Yum....Happy weekend, xv.

  4. Hi Meg, I am in complete agreement regarding gift baskets. I have baked pies for most of my friends every year; for me it isn't Christmas (or Thanksgiving) unless I have baked at least 15-20 pies to give. It is so much fun to think of each person as I bake their pie. Have a wonderful week; wish you were a little closer so that I could bring you your pie.

  5. Meg! I'm going to make this Lemon Curd immediately. That recipe is great and easy. Who would have thunk it? Thanks so much. Loved catching up with you yesterday too! xoxo

  6. Wonderful Ideas!!! All of them!

    xoxo Victoria

  7. What great gift ideas! Love it! Will definitely try the lemon curd and the limoncello although, I may have to keep them for myself as I'm a total lemonphile. Yum!

    Shawn K.

  8. Meg -- I'm guessing those are your handmade tags on the Limoncello? Nice!

  9. Delicious!! Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Meg, At Tudor Place Historic House and Garden our Ponderosa Lemon trees are bursting with fruit this year. We thought about selling the lemons but maybe we should keep a few for ourselves.
    Thanks for inspiring me.

    LM Thompson

  11. Great recipes... but I must be the only person in the world who has never eaten lemon curd, and thus have no idea what to do with it.

    Enlightenment requested.

  12. I love lemon curd and my latest secret recipe is to spread it on salmon filet before grilling. Soooo good. Also good on toast, muffins, biscuits, etc. or as the basis of a mini pie (afraid to say tart, but that's what I mean).


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