I sort of happened on this amazing quartet of ingredients - lemon, brandy, nutmeg and quince. I was missing my mother, who loved Amontillado, while I was perusing one of my favorite cookbooks, ever, the 1950 edition of "The Gourmet Cookbook" (the edition my mother owned, respected, and used a lot). I happened to be looking for a brandy sauce - an alternative to your standard hard sauce -- for the steamed Christmas puddings I'd just made and put away until the holidays. I stumbled on two sherry sauce recipes, one of which called for a few tablespoons of jam to sweeten it lightly. The other recipe called for eggs and cream. I combined the two, using apricot jam because it goes so perfectly with dry sherry. Then I started branching out, playing with other jams and flavors, and moving back in the direction of brandy. I'd noticed in many of the much older sources (late 19th century British cookbooks, which I occasionally read like novels via Google Books when I need a break from work) that brandy, lemon and nutmeg were often used together in desserts. So I started putting them together; and since I had on hand a perfectly lovely jar of quince jam, courtesy of a dear friend and neighbor, I started using that for my brandy sauce. It didn't take long for me to realize, while stirring those egg yolks and adding the cream to the lemon-scented base, how similar that sauce is to lemon curd. So I tried substituting prepared lemon curd for the egg yolks and cream, and the stirring to cook them. And here we are.
Pour it over pound cake, or scones, or leftover biscuits, or cinnamon buns, or roasted or poached pears, or French toast, or baked apples, or . . . . . ;o) —AntoniaJames
1/3 cup brandy
2 tablespoons quince jam or quince marmalade
½ cup lemon curd (store-bought is perfectly okay for this)
Zest of one lemon – optional, depending on your lemon curd
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In This Recipe
In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, whisk together the brandy and quince jam or marmalade. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Strain through fine mesh sieve. Let sit for about 30 minutes off the heat.