It’s rare that I’m not excited to bring you a recipe, because let’s be honest, I just love sharing my recipes with all of you. But today, I’m really excited, because I’ve been making this recipe for what seems like my entire scratch baking career and I am finally getting around to sharing it with you. Because not sharing it would be so selfish. You’re welcome!
Lemon curd is one of those things that sounds super gross, but in reality, it’s one of the tastiest condiments/fillings/spreads/dips to ever exist in the baking world. I think Little Miss Muffet ruined the word “curd” for all of us when she ate it with her whey atop her tuffet because also: what’s a tuffet? So many confusing words in that story. And then all the talk about spiders?! No wonder “curd” sounds so weird to us now.
The truth is, curd is anything but weird and certainly very far from gross. It’s typically made with fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar, and butter. Lemon curd is typically the most popular curd flavor you’ll stumble upon, but lots of different varieties exist (say hello to my friend Julie’s blueberry cardamom curd— OH EM GEE CARDAMOM– and my friend Amy’s passionfruit curd). It sounds difficult to turn these simple ingredients into a thick and creamy fruit spread, but it’s really quite easy.
First, you’ll be working with a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, fear not: a heatproof bowl sitting over a pot of simmering water will make a fine substitute. In the top bowl, you’ll combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and just a touch of salt (to balance the tart and sweet) and cook it while whisking the mixture constantly. It’s crucial to keep the mixture moving so the eggs don’t curdle. After about 10 minutes, the mixture will thicken, and you can remove it from the double boiler/pot of water.
After removing from heat, you’ll whisk in one stick of butter, cut into 8 pieces, 2 pieces at a time, adding the next 2 pieces when the previous 2 pieces are mostly melted. Did I lose you? It’s simple, I promise.
After that, cover the mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to ensure a film doesn’t form on the curd itself. Make sure all of the air is pushed out of the seal between plastic and lemon curd, because the film that develops is weird. Certainly nothing that isn’t safe to eat, it’s just not so appealing and can create chunks in your curd. Let’s keep things nice and smooth!
Allow the curd to chill completely in the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, then
eat it with a spoon pour it into a jar for safe keeping!
The end result is an ultra creamy, buttery, super lemony, tart yet sweet, and incredibly versatile condiment that you’ll love putting in and on everything you can think of!
Wondering what to do with your lemon curd?
•spread it on toast, rice cakes, pancakes, muffins, scones, pound cake, angel food cake, or biscuits
•make lemon bars
•stir some into yogurt or ice cream
•make some fancy homemade whipped cream
And duh, of course I have a recipe coming tomorrow for you so that you can use all this beautiful homemade lemon curd. I wouldn’t just give you a super tasty condiment and no way to use it up, would I?
Although if I were you, I would prepare by making two batches, because if you’re a super lemon lover freak like myself, you’re definitely going to want to be all about what’s coming your way. Maybe even triple… 😏
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 3 lemons
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice*
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 8 pieces**
- Fill the bottom pot of a double boiler with 3-4" of water and turn heat to high. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may also use a pot with a heatproof bowl on top instead of a double boiler. Prepare the water the same.
- Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in the top pot of the double boiler. Use a whisk to continuously whisk the mixture as it cooks. It is important to keep the mixture moving so the eggs don't cook or curdle. Continue whisking the mixture until it becomes thick, approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove double boiler or top bowl from heat and whisk in butter pieces 2 at a time, adding the next pieces after previous pieces have mostly melted. When all of the butter has melted, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of lemon curd, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the curd. Allow to cool in the refrigerator (curd will thicken as it cools). Remove plastic wrap when you are ready to use it. Leftover lemon curd stays fresh in the refrigerator, covered tightly, up to 10 days or in the freezer, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
**You may use salted butter. Do not add additional salt.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
More of my favorite homemade condiments…