Sunburst Yogurt

Have you ever tried Lemon Curd Yogurt? This is going to be your new favorite way to flavor plain yogurt for dessert.

Stowed away in my closet, in the farthest reaches of where the walls meet, a winter coat enclosed in a zippered bag waits. Nestled nearby, snow boots that are nearly good as forgotten, might as well yell that they still reside with me. It’s been almost a decade since I attended New England in the winter and summer for my poetry MFA, but I can almost hear the slight crunch of snow compacting underfoot. The break of seasons gives a natural rhythm to the year and even though winter sometimes can take its time finishing its lap, there is something whimsical about a world bathed in fresh snow and diffused light. Living in the golden state, we forget what winter can mean. For us, on good years, we can expect rain. And this year, days three and four involved climes of mid-seventies weather. So, I’m dedicating this recipe to my friends and family entrenched in a winter wonderland. Think of it as a love letter from California.

Do you have a buddha's hand? Zest it and mix it into lemon curd yogurt for a dreamy treat.

Winter sun for us means bright orbs of citrus that when sliced open reveal the jewel tones of gold, crimson, and copper. I have a slight obsession with one citrus in particular, a fruit so odd you might think it comical or creepy depending on how it comes to you. I dedicated a marmalade recipe to it in Steeped, sparked a hearty fascination with it candied and enrobed in chocolate, and sometimes just like to infuse it into a simple syrup with ginger. I’m teaching a cooking class on teatime around the world later this spring and while visiting the cooking school, kindly received two very unexpected gifts. You don’t expect an extra hand or two on a Monday! And so, I mused how I might best preserve their exquisite flavor and heady aroma. It doesn’t take much to get me considering curd and thus, I was reminded of my favorite way to eat yogurt in Seattle and crafted my own version. May your winter days grow shorter until spring shoots grace you with green. Until then, find bright moments of glee in a glass bowl of yogurt kissed by the sun, what I’m calling sunburst yogurt, but you can call Buddha’s Hand Lemon Curd Yogurt.

Buddha's Hand Lemon Curd Yogurt will brighten any winter day.

Buddha's Hand Lemon Curd Yogurt

Course Dessert
Servings 8


Buddha's Hand Lemon Curd

  • 4 large yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Buddha's Hand
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 quart plain yogurt


  1. Peel the Buddha's Hand. The zest is pure gold. Finely mince the peel. You should end up without 1 1/2 tablespoons of it, depending on the size of your Buddha's Hand.

  2. Set up a double boiler, placing a metal bowl or pot on top of a saucepan, set over medium heat and filled with an inch or two of water. The bowl should not touch the water. Whisk the sugar and yolks in the bowl until combined. Pour the lemon juice into the bowl and add the Buddha’s hand zest, whisking until the mixture thickens up and gets glossy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Pour into a container and bring to room temperature before chilling.

  3. Make the sunburst yogurt: Scoop or pour 1/2 cup of yogurt into a bowl. Spoon a tablespoon of warm citrus curd into the center of the yogurt. Using the skinnier end of a chopstick, drag the tip from the center of the curd circle, curving to the left. Continue drag-curving from the middle of the curd until you’ve made sun rays shooting out from around the curd. Then, taste a bit of sunshine.

Recipe Notes

PS- You can use whatever yogurt you'd like. I'm amenable to Greek yogurt with its thick pucker that transports me to Seattle. Or, I also like the looser cow's milk yogurt made by Straus Organic Yogurt. But, I'm a devoted fan of the lovely goat's milk yogurt from Redwood Hill Farms

PPS- Don't have Buddha's Hand on hand? (I had to do it). Feel free to add lemon zest for a basic curd or mix it up and add the zest from bergamot (if you can find some!), blood orange, cara cara, tangerines, or even clementines. I'm an equal opportunity citrus curd lover. I've also been known to make Feijoa (Pineapple Guava) Curd when it's in season.


Pineapple Guava Curd

Pineapple Guava Curd

A pineapple guava sits on the counter
huddled as if in conversation with green-backed
friends. Its unseen skill paints the splotched
cream walls of our kitchen into dappled light
nudging through long leafy fronds of palm trees.
I want to bottle the aroma, all mai tai and lapping
waves of an ocean too turquoise to be real.
In the winter morning, when the fog horn
croons outside and a finger could swipe
a smiley face on the frosted windows,
we need a little bit of paradise come down
that it might remind us to remember
ourselves even as the cold and darkness
come too soon and we turn into bears,
clawing our way toward blanketed slumber.

Pineapple Guava Recipes: Pineapple Guava Curd


YIELD: 4 jam jars



6 medium-sized pineapple guavas

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup organic sugar

6 egg yolks

1 stick (7 tablespoons) unsalted organic butter, at room temperature



Run a microplane against the soft backs of three guavas, capturing two tablespoons of zest.
Cut the guavas in half, placing them belly-side up and scoop out the flesh, 1/2 cup, into a bowl.
Mash in the zest and lemon juice with the tines of a fork until it resembles mashed banana.

Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with water and set over medium heat until bubbles begin to break
against the sides. Turn heat down to medium low so the water continues to simmer.

Pour sugar into a large stainless steel bowl with a deep well.  Along its edge, crack the eggs, one by one, cradling the yolk in the shell, or if you’re quite adept, in your hand, letting the whites cascade into a waiting bowl or glass, reserved for some other purpose.

Whisk yolk with sugar to make a goldenrod paste and place the bowl over the pot of simmering water. Whisk in the mashed pineapple guava into the yolk and sugar. Feel the length of your arm conspiring with your recollection of a smear of curd on toast as you keep whisking. Whisk with passion. Whisk and let your mind wander about whether Mr. Darcy was a prat to Elizabeth Bennett or if she might have just been too proud to see through his veneer. Whisk as if you can stave off the Christmas season soon coming to a close. Whisk until the curd thickens up like a good redeye gravy, about five minutes. Gently plop pats of butter into the bowl and (need I say it), keep whisking.

Once it all comes together like the sunny buttery light of an easy Sunday morning, spoon it into small jam jars and bring them to room temperature before refrigerating.