lemon curd tarts with minted strawberries, and some thoughts on food blogging

lemon curd tarts with minted strawberries // erniebufflo.comI used to write a lot about food (see tab up top). I consider “food” a hobby of mine–mostly in the making/eating department, but the truth is, I spend a lot of time thinking about food. I read recipes just to get ideas for things I will later wing on my own. I read cookbooks like other women might thumb through a fashion magazine. I know a lot of people are all “ain’t nobody got time for that” in terms of cooking dinner most nights, but we all make time for the things that we love, and for me, I love making and eating good food. Still, somewhere along the way, I stopped writing much about food. Part of it is, I see a lot of semi-plagiarism in the food blogging community. “Adapted from” is so often mostly “lifted entirely,” and I think instead of just slightly changing the wording on someone else’s recipe (which is legal– you can’t copyright an ingredients list, only the written-out process, so if you rewrite all the steps, you’re really not infringing on someone else’s copyright), sometimes you should just skip all that and link to the person who inspired you instead of pretending you created something new. 

Another reason I don’t write much about food is, I’m not a food photographer. My only camera is an iPhone. No Instagram filter is going to make even my best food snaps look like they came from Southern Living. And I realize, these days, if I wanted to really truly become a food blogger, I’d need to get a DSLR and learn some real photography. And I don’t want to do that at this point.

So, I’m not going to become a food blogger. I’m just going to keep being me, mostly writing introspective stuff on parenthood and family life and raising twins and raising a kid with a disability. But I also want to find a way to re-introduce food into this blog, because it *is* something I think about a lot and care a lot about and really enjoy experimenting with. So, from time to time, when I’ve actually created something original, I want to be able to share recipes here. You’ll have to bear with the fact that I’m not the Pioneer Woman and there probably won’t be step by step photos. You’ll have to accept that the photos are likely taken with an iPhone. But I promise they will be delicious and fresh and practical. I promise they will be things I actually eat and serve my family. And I hope that’s all ok with you.

Something I made recently was lemon curd tarts with minted strawberries. If you don’t have a pot of mint sitting on your porch/stoop/patio/carport/whatever, go out and get one now. It grows like a weed (which is why it goes better in a pot than in a bed, where it will take over everything), and it will be so useful for summer for everything from mojitos to a sprig in your iced tea to adding an interesting flavor to your dishes. I am not much of a sweet tooth, so I like my deserts to have elements of salty or tart flavors. The lemon curd here provides the tartness, the barely-sweetened berries don’t need much messing with, but are perfectly complimented by the mint, and the graham cracker crust makes me think of my Memaw’s lemon icebox pie– in fact, this whole dish is like a slightly elevated version of that. A note about the berries: if you don’t get real, ripe strawberries from a local market (my Kroger has been selling local berries this year), you will need more sugar than the scant bit I used here.

Lemon Tarts with Minted Strawberries

mine made 4 large “personal pan” vintage milk glass ramekins, but you could probably do 6 smaller ramekins or one 9 inch pie or tart pan and cut slices.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 12 full-size graham crackers
  • 4T (1/2 stick) melted butter

Curd:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4T (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter

Berries:

  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 2T minced mint
  • Sugar to taste (I used really ripe, juicy berries, so I only used a couple teaspoons of sugar)

Steps:

  1. Place a medium pot with a couple inches of water on the stove to simmer.
  2. Combine berries, mint, and sugar in a bowl and set aside/in the fridge while the sugar brings out the juices and the mint flavor mingles with the berries.
  3. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until crumbled, then add the melted butter and fold well. Press crust into ramekins or pie pan.
  4. Whisk the sugar, lemon juice, eggs, and yolks in medium glass or metal bowl (I used Pyrex).
  5. Place bowl over the simmering water, whisking constantly until the mixture gets thick. After about 10 minutes, it should have the consistency of pudding.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, salt and vanilla.
  7. Pour curd into prepared graham cracker crust(s).
  8. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  9. Before serving, remove from fridge and top with berries. Optional: add some whipped cream.
  10. Enjoy!
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