Two weeks ago, Ivy Knight's 86'd Mondays hosted Battle Lemon Curd at The Drake. Five of Toronto's finest pastry chef brought their best confections designed to highlight the puckery goodness of lemon curd.
We got to sample delights from Dufflet, The Sweet Escape, Madeleine's, The Bellevue, and independent contender, Kristina Groeger.
Tastes ran the gamut from subtle to strong, and it was a tight race, but the crowd voted The Bellevue's rosemary lemon curd beignets their favourite. While the curd was boldly lemony, and it seems it was just me, I got a strong taste of chicken from the little doughnuts. I don't know if it was an issue with the oil. It wasn't unpleasant, as I like lemon chicken, but not what I was expecting. Very creative and interesting pastry though.
Of the other entries, I found the Sweet Escape lemon curd macarons to be overpowered by the sweetness of the meringue, with very little lemon flavour. There was a similar issue with the blueberry lemon shortbreads from Madeleine's. It was a nice, crumbly cookie base, but not enough curd in it to shine. Dufflet's baluchons were very pretty and were my second favourite dessert on offer. The crêpes were light and fluffy, providing a perfect envelope for the slightly sweet curd.
For my money, the clear winner was Groeger with her lemon curd filled, raspberry buttercream topped cupcakes. Surprising, as I'm not generally a cake fan. I appreciated that you could taste each and every flavour element independently, yet they came together in kind of a perfect way. On first bite, the curd oozed out of the light, clean vanilla cake and melded with the incredibly buttery icing. Loved it.
We also got to sample shots of Victoria Gin, both with and without bitters. It's a very fragrant, herbacious liquor, but I still can't handle straight alcohol... Be sure to check Ivy's site or join the Facebook group to stay up to date on what's coming to 86'd Mondays.