Perhaps best known stateside as the filling used in lemon meringue pies, lemon curd originated in England as a spread for scones or crumpets served at afternoon tea. Made with lemon, sugar and eggs, the silky cousin to traditional custard has a sweet-tart vibrancy and rich texture that delivers spectacular citrus flavor when used as a spread for toast or english muffins, slathered on pancakes, used as a filling for cakes, pies or other desserts, or simply topped with a handful of fresh berries. Bright, flavorful and positively irresistible, lemon curd is sunshine in a jar.
Commercial versions are available, but nothing compares with the bold flavor that comes from making it at home using fresh lemons. Homemade lemon curd doesn’t take long to make, but still requires a little patience. Cooked at too high a temperature, the eggs may begin to cook before the curd has come together, making it lumpy and uneven. Keep the heat at medium and stir continuously to prevent clumping. Using a double boiler also helps to achieve that thick, smooth consistency that makes lemon curd so special. If you don’t have a double boiler on hand, nestle a metal pot on top of a pot of water deeper and with a slightly narrower diameter than the bowl. Once the lemon curd has thickened, stir in a little butter to bolster its richness and transfer into an airtight container to chill.
Although lemons are most commonly used in this luscious spread and filling, other citrus like oranges, limes or grapefruit may be substituted to suit any taste or intended use.
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
Whisk lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs together in a bowl.
Transfer to a double boiler simmering over medium heat and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened.
Once consistency is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove from heat.
Stir butter cubes in one at a time until fully incorporated and curd is smooth and silky.
Transfer lemon curd into an airtight container and and refrigerate at least 2 hours to chill.
Store refrigerated up to one week.