Lemon Curd is a thick, soft and velvety jam like sauce that has a wonderful tart yet sweet citrus flavor. I love it as a spread for scones, but it can also be used as a filling for tarts, pies and cakes.
It is also delicious as a filling for crepes or spread onto a toasted English muffin. Folding some into a batch of buttercream will make a delicious lemon frosting for a cake and plain lemon curd can also be used as a sauce on the side for any number of desserts.
Lemon curd has to be made with fresh lemons. Do not use imitation lemon juice that comes in a bottle. When choosing lemons look for ones that are fragrant with brightly colored, oily yellow skins. The best ones are firm, plump and heavy for their size.
Some of my readers know I have a Meyer lemon tree that yielded quite a few lemons this year. With this bounty, I thought about making my own lemon curd instead of buying it, as I usually do. I also thought that a lemon curd make with Meyer lemons would be even better because of their flavor. A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, the Meyer lemon has smooth golden skin the color of a fresh egg yolk. It also has a thin edible rind, a high volume of juice and none of the tartness of a regular lemon.
I looked at quite a few recipes for making homemade lemon curd and they varied quite a bit from multiple steps to using extra egg yolks and straining the mixture. I am not one for complicated recipes and when I found Ina Garten’s recipe, I knew that was the one I would try first. I don’t have to look any further.
Meyer Lemon Curd
Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook.
Ina’s recipe uses extra large eggs but I never buy them. I used large eggs and the curd came out just fine. If you do not have access to Meyer lemons, regular lemons will work but you will need an extra lemon for the juice.
- 3 Meyer lemons
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Use a potato peeler to remove the zest of 3 Meyer lemons. Be careful to avoid the white pith when removing the peel.
Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Then beat in the lemon sugar mixture.
Add the eggs, one at a time. Then add the lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Mix until combined.
Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled, once it is heated, the mixture will smooth out.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool. Pour the lemon curd into a covered bowl and refrigerate. You can also divide the curd into smaller containers and freeze them. The curd thaws quickly.