I’m convinced that Lemon Curd should be a staple in everyone’s refrigerator. It’s the ideal thing to have on hand when rustling up a last minute dessert or treat to serve unexpected guests. It’s so delicious, so velvety, and so versatile that I’m sure you’re bound to love all of its lemony goodness. It’s so rich and creamy, tart yet sweet – I could eat spoonfuls of it right out of the jar.
We can thank the English for this delicious, bright yellow curd. Lemon Curd was first mentioned in print in 1844, however “Lemon Cheese”, its alternate (and more British) name is mentioned twenty years earlier than that.
Lemon Curd was made as an alternative to jams and jellies. But since it’s shelf life is only a few weeks it is not considered a true preserve. The curd’s cool satiny texture makes it the perfect filling for cakes, cookies, and tarts. You can swirl it into yogurt or whipped cream for a light creamy treat. It’s sweet/tart flavor makes it a perfect counter for spicy gingerbread. It tastes delicious spread on toast or pound cake. You can easily see why Lemon Curd is so versatile, and why it compliments so many different things.
Lemon Curd is made by gently cooking together lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar butter, and eggs creating a thick, smooth finished product. Some recipes call for using the whole egg while others call for only using the egg yolks. I prefer the latter of the two. When you use the whole eggs, you get a lighter colored curd with a more custard-like texture. When you use just the egg yolks, you will get a slightly darker, translucent curd. Either way, you’ll get that vibrant lemon flavor that Lemon Curd is famous for. The one step you don’t want to skip is straining the egg yolks. This step removes any unsightly concretions that often adhere to egg yolks and can cause lumps in your lemon curd. To do this, you’ll just place the egg yolks in a small sieve and stir to break the yolk membranes. Then pour in the lemon juice as you stir the entire mixture through the strainer. Doing this will prevent you from having to strain your curd after it’s made.
And while you’re at it, you can make some lime curd, orange curd, or even grapefruit curd. Lime curd is next on my list.
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- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated peel of one lemon
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
Place egg yolks in a small sieve set over a saucepan. Stir the yolk membranes to break, then add the lemon juice as you stir the entire mixture through the sieve.
Add the sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice and whisk just until combined.
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir down the sides of the pan. Cook until the mixture coats the back of the wooden spoon about 10 minutes give or take.
Remove from heat and add butter one piece at a time, stirring after each addition to assure a smooth texture.
This freezes well.