Lemon Curd is a cross between a fruit preserve and a lemon pudding. Sort of… I’m not sure if that accurately describes it, because it is neither of those things and is so much better than both. Lemon curd is made with fresh lemons, sugar, eggs and butter. When made properly, you end up with this lemony tart, subtly sweet and oh so creamy jar of goodness. Although it is tempting to dig in with just a spoon, lemon curd traditionally goes into cakes, tarts and virtually any pastry you want to be awesome. You can buy it at the grocery store but here is an easy way to make it from scratch. It will be so much better.
It was just a few years ago when I first attempted to make lemon curd from scratch. I did a little reading and discovered that there are many, many recipes out there for lemon curd. They all had the same basic ingredients but with varying amounts and different techniques. It quickly got confusing. Which one was the best the recipe?
I tried a few of those lemon curd recipes and ended up being not completely happy with any of them. In the end, I sort of took what I liked from each recipe and kind of mushed it together to come up with this recipe you see before you now.
What I really like about my “Easy Lemon Curd” recipe is that not only does it make fantastic lemon curd but it comes together a lot quicker than a lot of other recipes out there. Once you get everything measured out, it takes all of 15 minutes. Well, then you do have to chill it in the fridge for a bit, but by then you are on to other things.
This recipe is easy to make, but there is one cooking skill that you need to master if you have not already. During the course of the recipe, you have to “temper” the eggs. If you were to just pour raw eggs into a very hot liquid, it would quickly turn into scrambled eggs. Don’t worry, there is a way around that. Tempering. It sounds fancy but it just means that you slowly add some of the hot liquid to the eggs while whisking like a crazy person. That way the eggs are just slowly warmed up and voila, no scrambled eggs. I think you can do it.
Easy Lemon CurdPrint Recipe
Easy Lemon Curd
Makes 1¼ cups.
- zest from 3 lemons
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice - from about 3 to 4 lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- pinch kosher salt - about 1/8 teaspoon
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter - cut into one inch pieces
To make the lemon curd.
Zest and then juice your lemons. Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside. Measure out the sugar, salt and butter.
In a medium saucepan, add the lemon juice, zest, sugar and the salt. Over a low flame, heat while stirring until the sugar has melted and it is just on the verge of coming to a boil. About 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Grab a whisk. Holding the pan with one hand, slowly drizzle about half of the hot lemon/ sugar mixture into the bowl of eggs, while rapidly whisking the eggs with the other hand. Now take the warmed egg/lemon mixture and whisk it back into the pan. This is called tempering the eggs.
Heat over a low flame while continuously stirring with a wooden spoon. Try to keep it below a boil and take care not to let the bottom of the pan catch. The lemon curd will thicken in about 6 to 8 minutes. It's done when it can easily coat the back of a spoon. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Take the lemon curd off the heat and stir in one or two pats of butter at a time until it is melted. When all the butter has been melted and the curd is smooth, strain the curd with a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Straining the curd is optional but it does remove any possible solids that may be there.
Take a piece of plastic wrap and press down directly on top of the curd to cover. This prevents a "skin" from forming as it cools. Refrigerate the lemon curd for 2 to 3 hours until it is cold. It is now ready for use.
- Always use fresh lemons to make lemon curd.
- Zest the lemons before you cut them in half to juice. If you forget, the lemon curd will still come out good without the zest. No worries.
- Lemon Curd will keep well in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.