Lemon Curd

To me, 'curd' does not sound very appetizing.  I think of curdled, sour, yuck.  Please, don't get turned off or give up on the 'curd', all hope is not lost, because lemon curd is creamy, light, subtly sweet yet tart, and yummy!   One of the simplest ways to eat lemon curd is by slathering it onto a piece of toast, but there are endless possibilities for this accompaniment.  It can be used in layer cakes, cupcake filling, mini tartlets,  profiteroles, macarons, crepes, over waffles or fresh fruit, in thumbprint cookies, muffins, and ice cream! {just to name a few, wink-wink}  Be forewarned, when using lemon curd, you might be tempted to get out your fancy dishes because it will turn the ordinary into extraordinary!  

This recipe was adapted from Kitchen Confidante and Not Without Salt.  I used the bain marie {double boiler} method, because I was fearful over direct heat the eggs would scramble.  I did notice that the lemon curd increases in tartness, almost exponentially, when chilled, so bring it to room temperature before using and the delicate lemony sweetness will shine.

Ingredients/Equipment  (makes 1 to 1.5 cups)

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Fine mesh strainer, medium metal bowl, medium saucepan

Directions to make Lemon Curd

  • In a medium metal bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, zest, yolks, and whole egg.  Place the metal bowl over a medium sized saucepan of gently simmering water.  Water level in the saucepan should not touch the bowl.  
  • Whisk mixture constantly until it thickens, about 8-10 minutes.  Mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon and leave a trace mark after running your finger through.  
  • Remove bowl from the saucepan, and stir in the butter, one pat/cube at a time. The lemon curd should be creamy and have a nice sheen.
  • Strain lemon curd to remove zest and any cooked pieces of egg, then place into a glass container. Most recipes call for pressing plastic wrap directly on the curd once it is in it's jar/bowl, but this time I didn't get a hard skin film over it, so I omitted this step.  I stored my lemon curd in a glass container with a plastic snap-top lid.  Lemon curd will keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.