Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ignoring Mother's Well-meant Advice

There is a certain citrus fruit that made its way into our childhood household every now and again. In Persian, it's called limoo shirin, which translates directly to sweet lemon. It's yellow like your regular run-of-the-mill sour lemon, but has a light flavor, is so sweet you could eat it like an orange, and a delicious fragrance that comes through from both the the rind and the juicy flesh.

In our house, limoo shirin usually meant someone had a cold. It was supposed to be very good for you -- lots of vitamins -- so Mom would either cut up a whole one for us to eat straight (much to my sister's protestation), or juice one and add its juice to that of a freshly squeezed orange. In either case, the key was to consume it fast: sweet limoo shirin quickly turned bitter upon exposure to oxygen. An ephemeral pleasure.

Recently, it occurred to me that the delicate flavor flavor of limoo shirin might be amazing in a lemon curd. Lemon curd is an incredibly delicious treat as is (I mean, it's lemon, sugar, butter, and eggs. duh.), but imagine using a citrus whose sourness doesn't have to be tempered with so much sugar. A new and exotic twist.

So, I mentioned off-handedly my intentions to my mother. It distressed her. Bad. She warned me against doing so, in an urgent threatening tone that simply doesn't translate to English. Obviously, she said, the juice from the sweet lemons will go bitter, and I'll have to throw the whole lot away.

Initially, I took her word for it -- after all, Violet seriously knows stuff. But then, I was sad. I really wanted to try it. And maybe it wouldn't be so bad. The potential gains in deliciously perfumy slather were worth the risk of bitter curd and bitter I-told-you-sos.

Fellow rebels, let me tell you, my limoo shirin curd was absolutely delicious. Well, it curdled. So I can't exactly feed it to company. But that's just because I'm easily distracted, not because of any restrictive characteristics of ingredients or shortcomings of recipe. The taste was still everything I had hoped: lightly sweet, with just enough citrusy tang to cut the creamy richness of eggs and butter.

So, tomorrow I'm going to watch TV from about 6 inches away. The next day, I'll be talking to strangers, maybe even taking candy from one or two. After that, I plan on eating a lot, swimming immediately after, then going out with wet hair and no jacket. From there, who knows what I'll do. Watch out world.

Limoo Shirin Curd

I took a lot of guidance from Eating Suburbia (although I cut the sugar considerably), and of course consulted with beloved Ina as well. I also made sure to cut and juice the lemons at the last possible moment, to prevent oxidization.

3 sweet lemons (limoo shirin)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Zest the lemons with a lemon zester or rasp. Place zest, sugar, and butter in top level of double boiler over simmering water. Squeeze 1/2 cup of juice from lemons, and add to butter and sugar, and cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Whisk in eggs, and continue whisking (constantly, or else it will curdle) until mixture is thick (about 20 minutes). Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator.


  1. Glad to hear that the crazy Chinese mommies are not the only mommies who think that going out with wet hair is disastrous. Apparently, it causes headaches in the future. Who knows?

    Glad to hear the rebellion resulted in a lovely dessert. And what better excuse than quick curdling to scarf up a yummy sweet thing?

  2. yeah well, mine also has mentioned that eating yogurt with lemon juice will give you freckles. pearls of wisdom, i'm tellin ya.