April 8, 2011

Heavenly Lemon Butter and Tricky Chickies

I said to Mitch that I thought something was up with the chickens. I've heard clucking noises around the house lately and sure enough, the eggs in the chookhouse have ceased. So where have they hidden their stash. Mitch played detective - but it didn't take long. He knows his chickies well and they trust him. They took him straight to the scene of the crime. In the long, green grass, there was the evidence. Neatly hidden. Six eggs. He took five and left one behind.

The weather has been rather cool the last couple of days, so I felt the eggs would be fine. I couldn't believe nothing had eaten them. They did a good job hiding them. No sooner had Mitch placed the eggs on the kitchen bench, I went out to check the spot. Just in case any of them decided to lay another egg.

Looks like there's movement at the station

Walking away very cautiously

Avoiding eye contact and trying to look unsuspicious

Ah hah. Another one. I take the freshly laid egg and leave the marked one.

I separated the eggs and checked the yokes and the whites. All clear. Now, what to make with them. I already knew the answer. It had to be lemon butter.

My lovely friend "E," returned two preserve jars last week, so I think she was giving me a hint. She said the lilly pilly was a real talking point with recent visitors. But it was the lemon butter, she really loved. So I handed her a jar of my very ordinary crabapple jelly till next time. I can already see her lit up face, when I present her with a little pot or two of this bright yellow, tangy taste sensation.

Lemon butter is one of my favourite things. I love it on scones, pikelets and sponge cake. For me however, nothing beats lemon butter with freshly home made meringue or pavlova and freshly beaten cream. I don't loosely use the word "heaven" - but this combination takes me straight to heaven.

Lemon Butter

6 egg yolks, as fresh as possible
220gm castor sugar
190ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
220gm unsalted butter, cubed
rind of one lemon

Place the egg yolks, lemon rind and sugar in a glass or ceramic bowl. Using a whisk; beat together thoroughly for about five minutes till pale and thick.

Add the strained lemon juice; mix till well combined. Pour mixture through a strainer; return to the bowl and set over simmering water. Stir continuously for about 12 or 15 minutes; till mixture is cooked through and leaves a thick coating on the back of a spoon. I use a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat; add the cubes of butter a couple at a time, stirring till melted. Keep adding till all the butter has been added. Pour into sterilized jars. Seal immediately. Keeps in the fridge easily for a month.

PS: I've tried many, many recipes over the years for lemon butter.  I can honestly say this recipe has evolved from all my experimentation.  I've tried to make one that appeals to my taste, to the thickness of the product, to the colour and to the method I prefer using.  I do like the old-fashioned way of using a double boiler and stirring till done.   And the whisking of the sugar and the eggs right from the beginning also helps to "pale" the yellow.  Our egg yolks are that bright that sometimes the lemon butter comes out orange.  No joke.  This step helps to maintain a nice lemon colour.  It's been many years in the making, but this is my true and tested recipe that always gives me the results I'm after.

This recipe made six little pots containing 100gm each,
plus one jar containing 190gm.


  1. That looks divine. My mother-in-law makes it and we always get a jar when she makes a batch. Yummo.
    We even added some to home made ice-cream last weekend.
    600ml cream (whipped, but not so it is really stiff)
    Add half a tin of condensed milk.
    Add some lemon butter to taste.
    The lemon butter suggestions originally came from Rhonda at Down to Earth.

  2. Oh my. Yummo Bruise Mouse. Seriously yummo. I'm going to give it a try - sounds too good not to. Thank you for bringing this to my notice.

  3. I love this post and the sneaky chickens shifty eye averting behaviours, I get so jealous of all you chicken wranglers - it's a growing thing here too apparently. Lemon curd is delicious, in fact so dangerously delicious that I rarely make it, as it barely makes it into the jars. I will remember you have the perfect recipe here for next time!

  4. I agree with Joanna, dangerously delicious. If I had chooks I would make it, but when you have to buy the eggs it's not the same. Not as fresh.
    My grandmother used to give it to me as a treat for a school lunch, (they were the best sandwiches ever!)

  5. Aww. What a quaint, home-inspired post. Those chickens love Mitchell like their mother so you're very correct in saying they trust him.
    Warms the heart.

  6. I laughed at the sneaky eye averting chicken. So funny :P

    golden jars of heaven. Thats what they look like. Ive never made lemon curd or butter. I know they must be good. but my cholesterol will be complaining... sigh.

    beautiful photos!


  7. Thanks for the prompt Mariana! We made marshmallows from egg whites yesterday, and I have leftover yolks in the fridge! We make our lemon butter in the microwave and it only takes five minutes, so I'll put those yolks to good use today! :)

  8. Joanna - there's nothing like having your own chickens and I never take the eggs for granted. Never. 'Dangerously delicious" - you sure got that right.

    cityhippyfarmgirl - I agree. The eggs need to be fresh. Ahh. Nostalgia. The food always seemed better then. Why is that.

    Shock horror. The last person I expected to see here was you Issy. Wow. Two daughters looking through my kitchen window. Don't I feel priviledged. Mitchell and his chickens. I know, I know.

    I can't believe you've never made lemon butter Zurin. Don't try it. You'll be addicted. Hehe. Cholesterol? I think you're having me on Zurin. I get the feeling you are one fit lady. All that beautiful food you make - I imagine you're gleaming with health.

    Hi Celia - glad for the prompt. Yes, I did check out your lemon butter recipe. I'm old-fashioned I'm afraid. I just couldn't bring myself to make lemon butter in the microwave. Part of the whole lemon butter experience for me at least, is standing by the stove and stirring. I do enjoy it.

  9. Hello,
    Just wondering if you could tell me if I need to keep my batch refrigerated prior to opening?

    Cheers Heidi