There is nothing like bright, smooth and velvety fresh lemon curd. Perfectly balanced between surprisingly tart and pleasantly sweet, this lemon curd is beautiful in tarts and cakes, on pancakes, scones or toast. It’s wonderful by the spoonful straight out of the fridge, too.
- 4 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cup (250 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) fine salt
- Zest of 4 lemons
- Juice of 4 lemons (about 1 cup or 240 ml)
1. Prepare a bowl for the cooked lemon curd.
– Set a sieve over a medium bowl and place next to your stove.
– If you have an instant-read thermometer, keep that nearby as well.
2. Combine the ingredients.
– In a large heatproof bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar with a whisk or hand mixer on low speed until homogenous and smooth.
– Slowly pour in the melted butter while continuing to whisk or mix until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely emulsified.
– Whisk or mix in the salt, lemon juice and zest until combined.
3. Cook the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water until thickened.
– Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat.
– Cook the mixture while whisking continuously until the mixture thickens at least enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- If you have an instant-read thermometer, the curd is done at 160°F (71°C).
– As soon as the lemon curd is cooked, pour and press it through the sieve into the bowl to cool.
- Don’t forget to scrape the underside of the sieve.
4. Cool the lemon curd.
– Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
– Pour the cooled lemon curd into a glass jar or container. Cover and refrigerate. The lemon curd will thicken further as it chills.
- Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
- Or freeze in sturdy Ziploc-style freezer bags (air squeezed out) for 6 months. Thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator when ready to use.
ABOUT THIS RECIPE
A good lemon curd should have a clean, lemony flavor with a smooth, velvety feel. It shouldn’t be eggy, grainy or runny. Every spoonful should be a joy.
This recipe is nicely balanced between surprisingly tart and pleasantly sweet. The reduced use of egg whites adds extra richness and a velvety feel while lessening the presence of any “egginess”. I also find that adding the butter during the cooking stage (as opposed to stirring it in after cooking) makes a smoother curd with no graininess even after chilling.
1) Emulsify the ingredients.
– Making sure all the ingredients are well-combined and emulsified before cooking will help prevent any graininess and ensure a smooth lemon curd.
2) Whisk continuously while cooking.
– Continuous whisking will help with even cooking of your lemon curd and prevent lumps. (Make sure you are getting the sides and bottom of your bowl.)
3) The longer you cook your lemon curd, the thicker it will be.
– Your lemon curd is cooked once it thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon or reads 160°F (71°C) on an instant-read thermometer. It will thicken up to the texture of pudding once it has been cooled and refrigerated.
- For an even thicker curd, the lemon curd may be cooked up to 175°F (80°C). However, the longer you cook your lemon curd, the more important it is to whisk continuously to prevent overcooking the eggs and getting lumps.
4) Cook over a pot simmering water. Don’t turn up the heat.
– Cooking over gentle heat is the safest way to avoid overcooking the lemon curd and turning it into scrambled eggs. It may seem more tedious and time-consuming, but it will be worth it.
5) Don’t skip the sieve.
– Pushing the cooked lemon curd through a sieve is not only for removing the lemon zest, but also any strands of egg white or any lumps of egg that may have cooked. Don’t skip it!