Lemon curd is a tangy, sweet, velvety cream that is almost like a citrus custard. It is insanely addictive and a definite crowd pleaser. Slather it on scones, shortbread, and french toast or use it as a filling for a cake or pie. You can even swirl it into yogurt, ice cream, and even cheesecake to make an extraordinary dessert.
Homemade lemon curd is leaps and bounds better than any store-bought kind. Once the lemon curd is canned to be preserved for the store shelves, it loses its vibrant zest. Although the store-bought versions can still be quite delicious, they will never compare to this fresh, homemade delicacy. If you have never tried homemade lemon curd, it is time!
I have tried several different recipes for lemon curd but this is the recipe I keep coming back to. It is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible. It is an extra rich lemon curd with a zesty tang and full flavor. The secret to the rich, full flavor is to use only egg yolks.
I have tried using whole eggs but that results in a lighter, more mellow flavored lemon curd. This lemon curd gives you a strong, rich flavor that won’t be lost if you stir it into buttercream, whipped cream, meringue or anything else. It is lightly sweetened and leans toward the tart side.
It is perfect if you add it to something that is already sweet yet still delicious if you eat it right off the spoon. If you prefer a slightly sweeter lemon curd you can still add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to taste while it is still warm.
Coating the sugar molecules in fat will help prevent the egg yolks from coagulating when you add the lemon juice, so start out by beating the egg yolks with the butter and sugar then add the lemon juice. To further prevent the yolks from curdling, try not to let the mixture come to a boil but don’t overthink it or stress if it does. Once your finished cooking you can strain out any lumps and no one will be the wiser.
Use a non-reactive pan such as stainless steel, glass or enamel, and ceramic coated cookware. Using pans such as aluminum and copper will react with the acid in the lemon juice and impart a metallic taste to your lemon curd and change the color to a dull, almost green hue.
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- 4 large egg yolks (74 grams)
- 1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened (57 grams)
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice (94grams)
- zest from one lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Set a strainer over a bowl and keep it readily available near the stove.
- In a heavy non-reactive saucepan, beat the egg yolks, sugar and butter until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 to 12 minutes until thickened and has a glossy appearance. The slower you cook the curd, the thicker it will be. Try not to let the mixture come to a boil, if it begins to boil remove it from the heat for a bit then return it to a lower heat
- When the curd has thickened, pour it into the strainer and press it with the back of a spoon. Discard the lemon rind and any lumps that are left behind in the strainer.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill. The lemon curd will thicken more once it has chilled completely.
Amount Per ServingCalories 196 Total Fat 12g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 175mg Sodium 156mg Carbohydrates 19g Fiber 1g Sugar 17g Protein 5g