Luscious, tart and creamy, homemade lemon curd is pretty simple to make and I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a jar. While the recipe ingredients are basically the same you find variations on quantities and method of making. Some recipes use only the egg yolk (denser eggy curd) while others use whole eggs (lighter fresher curd) and others call for a combination of both… I like to call the latter a balance between the two. Sugar, lemon and butter also play a role by adding a sweet, tart and buttery flavor to the curd.
You can cook lemon curd using the double-broiler method (heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) or, cook directly in a heavy-based saucepan. However, you do need a careful watch over the heat you apply (no boiling) or you might end up with a scrambled mess. Straining your cooked lemon curd is also recommended, sometimes tiny bits of egg white coagulate and can ruin the velvety feel as do bits of lemon zest.
On the subject of curdling and straining, over at FineCooking you can read an article on a foolproof way of making lemon curd without the need to strain, creaming ingredients together before heating thus eliminating any curdled bits. The same article mentions the scientific reasons according to food scientists. Also, sharing another link to the FineCooking lemon curd recipe using the foolproof method. Although would imagine the need to sieve if you added lemon zest? I haven’t tried this method yet but if I do will add an update to this post.
Which lemon curd recipe is the best? Well… I think they’re all delicious and with most you won’t go wrong albeit tweaking a recipe to your taste and choosing your preferred method of cooking.
Any extra egg whites are never thrown away when making lemon curd and I usually freeze them for later use… to make one of our family favorites, Pavlova.
This short-time preserve is so versatile, use as a lemony filling for tarts, cakes or as a topping for ice cream, cheesecakes and cupcakes. For breakfast, mix with plain yoghurt or simple spread on hot toast. You can also freeze lemon curd but my guess is… it will never get that far.
Homemade Lemon Curd
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
125ml fresh lemon juice, (about 3 to 4 lemons)
125g un-salted butter, cut into small cubes
How to make:
Put the egg yolks, whole eggs, caster sugar and lemon zest into a heat-proof bowl and beat thoroughly with a whisk. Next, pour in the lemon juice and add the butter.
Stand the heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the base of the bowl must not come in contact with the water). Keep whisking the mixture continually until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Switch over to a spatula (easier to clean down the sides of the bowl while stirring and cooking), keep stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Once the curd has cooked, either strain to remove the bits of lemon zest or simple pour straight into a suitable jar (or divide into smaller ones) or container. Once cooled, cover with a lid and refrigerate. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Keeps fresh for about ten days.
Note: Two easy ways of knowing your lemon curd is done; when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it. Or, use a thermometer and when it reads 170°F, the lemon curd is ready.