Easter Sunday was such a beautiful, warm and sunny day. A reminder that summer’s on its way and it’s time to lighten up and enjoy the new season’s zingy, fresh flavours.
The menu I’d chosen for our Easter celebration lunch was Prawn Cocktail (recipe coming soon), Pea & Pistachio Soufflés, Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce with locally grown Chantenay carrots and baby courgettes and, after much deliberation (was I in danger of going into egg and lemon overload?), a springtime lemon curd based dessert with raspberries. I mean, I love eggs and lemons and they are so quintessentially Easter-time, but savoury soufflés and an egg-based dessert? Lemon hollandaise and lemon curd? Anyway, I found a recipe for the lemon curd, so all I had to do was reduce its carb count and substitute raw organic honey for refined granulated sugar.
Not entirely fazed, I knocked up the lemon curd in the time it took my husband to make me tea and toast after a lengthy Mirror Imaging pre-wedding meeting on Saturday morning. In the early hours (which is when this food blogger’s imagination runs riot!) I’d been toying with the idea of transforming it into lemon curd ice-cream with melba sauce or lemon curd mousse. However, this first ever attempt at making homemade lemon curd was a remarkable revelation! It was so utterly delicious and tangy eaten directly from a spoon that I just couldn’t bring myself to diminish its clean, fresh lemony flavour or colour by adding anything to it.
Still, to my mind, you can’t just serve up lemon curd and call it pudding! I’d already purchased some ready-made dark chocolate cubes several weeks ago in anticipation of creating an Easter-related ‘surprise’, but felt lemon and chocolate wasn’t an easy combination to pull off. As it turned out, none of this mattered.
Come the day, hungover from an excessive wine-drinking-session the night before and a serious lack of sleep whilst still ruminating on my dessert dilemma, I announced Easter was cancelled this year! Happily, John and Sarah ignored me and got on with the food prep regardless. By 2pm I cautiously accepted a half glass of champagne and the party was back on! By then, there was no time to backtrack and create something more elaborate for dessert, so unadulterated lemon curd spooned into chocolate cubes it was, and Easter joy of Easter joys, it was sublime!
I think that this easy, make-ahead dessert is an absolute triumph. A new go-to recipe for a special celebration lunch or dinner party, expect gasps of appreciation (even a round of applause!) when you serve this as a finale, and moreover, intense satisfaction on guest’s faces as they experience all the sensory delights this perfect little pudding offers. From the first snap! sound as you break into the dark chocolate cube with your spoon, through to the cool, smooth tangy sweetness of the lemon curd, the semi-tart raspberry melba sauce and the silky lingering back notes of good quality chocolate, it delivers everything you could possibly want from a pudding - with little or no effort.
In conclusion, sometimes the most wonderful things come together when you’re in a state of enforced ‘let-go’. Another glass of champagne anyone?
Lemon Curd Filled Chocolate Cubes With Melba Sauce (V) (Makes enough lemon curd and melba sauce for 8)
Ingredients - for the lemon curd
3 large organic eggs
120g raw organic ‘runny’ honey
80ml fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons worth)
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 heaped tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
Ingredients - for the melba sauce
250g British frozen raspberries, defrosted (I used Windmill Hill Fruits)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8-10 drops of liquid stevia - I used 8 drops because I think the melba sauce needs to be on the right side of tart for a perfect balance of flavour
72% superior quality dark chocolate cubes, fresh raspberries and lemon balm leaves (or mint leaves) to serve
Instructions - for the lemon curd
In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey and lemon juice until well blended.
Cut the butter into small pieces.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the bowl come into contact with the water.
Cook for approximately 10 minutes, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk (to prevent it from curdling) until the mixture becomes thick (like soured cream or hollandaise sauce). Don’t get distracted, the mixture can quickly and suddenly turn from thin to thick!
Remove from heat and immediately pour into a clean bowl.
Add the butter to the mixture and whisk until it has melted, then add the grated lemon zest and give everything a good stir.
Take a sheet of plastic cling-film and immediately lay it directly onto the surface of the lemon curd to stop the air getting to it (to prevent a skin forming). Allow the mixture to cool completely. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Keep covered and refrigerate until needed.
Instructions - for the melba sauce
Tip the defrosted raspberries into a food processor or blender with the lemon juice and blitz to a smooth puree. If the mixture seems a little too thick, add 1-3 tablespoons of cold water and blitz again until it’s the right consistency i.e. thick enough to hold together but thin enough to pour.
Pass the mixture through a fine sieve. Add 8 drops of liquid stevia to the melba sauce and stir well to combine. Taste, if you think it is too tart, add another one or two drops of stevia (less is more!), then cover and refrigerate until needed.
Instructions - to assemble the dish
Just before you’re ready to serve, spoon a generous quantity of lemon curd into each chocolate cube (1 cube per person)
Place each one onto a flat plate and drizzle the melba sauce around.
Stand three fresh raspberries on top of each and garnish with lemon balm.
You must use freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly grated zest (preferably from organic lemons) for this recipe - not imitation bottled lemon juice or Jif squeezy lemon juice.
Store the chocolate cubes in their original wrapping at room temperature or a coolish place until you need them (not a refrigerator, unless it’s the height of summer and you don’t have air conditioning!)
The lemon curd and the melba sauce will keep covered in a refrigerator for up to a week.
Carbohydrate 17g Protein 3g - per portion (incl. melba sauce & raspberry garnish)