Lemon curd is almost a cross between a pudding and a custard (with an unfortunately unappealing name).
It’s a mixture of lemon juice, sugar and eggs, cooked until thickened, and very often finished with the addition of butter for an extra rich and silky texture.
A curd can be made with other tart fruits (like raspberries or rhubarb), and the high percentage of fruit juice gives it a more intense flavor than a pudding.
Many traditional recipes for lemon curd call for straining the cooked egg and sugar mixture to get rid of lumps – which is a bit too fussy for me, and why I was happy to discover an alternate technique from Fine Cooking.
Instead of adding butter at the end, you cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the eggs, add the lemon juice and cook in a double boiler until thickened. No lumps. No fuss.
I adapted this recipe with extra butter and more lemon juice for extra pucker. I also use three whole eggs, rather than two whole eggs and two yolks. I just don’t like having little bits of egg white waiting around in the fridge for me to find uses for. The result is just fine.
This tastes like the lemon curd my husband and I had on our honeymoon at the lovely Tigh-Na-Mara on Vancouver Island. I wasn’t able to get the recipe then, but this version takes me back to that beautiful spot with its arbutus trees and cedars.
Spoon this into baked tart shells, spread it on scones, or serve it beside something chocolate.
The curd will keep in the fridge for two weeks, but it never lasts that long here.
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind optional
- Pinch salt
In medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time. Beat thoroughly after each addition.
Add lemon juice and salt and mix completely. The mixture will appear curdled, but don't worry. It will smooth out as it cooks.
Place the mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
As the mixture starts to warm up, it will begin to look smoother and brighter in color.
Cook over simmering water until thickened. This could take up to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon rind if using.
Cool completely before serving. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
Substitute lime juice for all or half of the lemon juice.