Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Homemade Lemon Curd


Making lemon curd is easier than you might imagine. (At least, it's certainly easier than I had imagined!) With only four ingredients and a fairly quick cooking time, I can't see myself buying commercial curds ever again, and I'll certainly be trying out some different flavours. It's also a great way to use up egg yolks, if you're using the whites for something like meringues or macaroons.

There seems to be some controversy over the best way to make lemon curd. I struggled to decide on a recipe, because there seems to be remarkably little agreement online. It seems that for a particular number of egg yolks you can vary quantities of sugar, butter, and lemon juice quite widely and still get a good result. Some recipes use whole eggs instead. Some techniques demand a bain marie, or that you stop cooking as soon as you add the egg, or that you start with egg and sugar, adding the butter only at the end. Apparently everyone and their grandmother has their own family recipe.

Since this was my first time making a fruit curd, I decided to go with the butter-first approach. Why? Simply because whatever goes in first gets cooked for longest, and it's harder to go wrong with butter than with eggs. I went for the simplest technique I could find, and mine has quite a sharp taste: you could add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter curd.

Making lemon curd

I didn't know the humble lemon juicer needed improving, but since Red Candy sent me this Guzzini Citrus Juicer to play with, I can't imagine going back to one without a jug. Not only is the whole thing more stable than holding a traditional juicer, it also avoids getting your hands covered in lemon juice - which is not only wasteful, but avoids the inevitable stinging if you have so much as a papercut breaking your skin. (Also, it's pretty and red, as with everything Red Candy stocks!)

One word of warning on the eggs. Usually when I'm separating eggs, my focus is on not breaking the yolks, in order to get a clean white, but if I'm using the yolks for (say) pastry, I don't worry too much about a bit of white stuck to the yolk. But getting whites into lemon curd (and it's inevitable there will be some) is kind of messy, and you want to avoid it as much as possible.

Lemon curd

Lemon Curd
Makes 1 jar

2 lemons, juice and zest
60g (½ stick) butter
180g (6½ oz, ⅔ cup) sugar
4 egg yolks
  1. Zest and juice the lemons. (The zest is optional - skip it if you want a smooth curd.) I got 90ml of lemon juice from 3 small lemons.
  2. Melt together the lemon juice, butter, and sugar in a heavy saucepan.
  3. Add the egg yolks one by one, whisking into the lemon mixture.
  4. This is the point to fish out any strings of stray egg white that might have formed, as these will stay determinedly white and don't look nearly so pretty on your toast.
  5. Add the lemon zest.
  6. Heat the mixture to 82°C (180°F), stirring continuously.
  7. Decant into a sterilized jam jar, and store in the fridge.


Rachel said...

It's surprising, isn't it, how much variation there is in the simplest recipes!

Jasey McBurnett said...

Rachel, I've always wondered about making this homemade! Thank you! Yum!

Jennifer said...

I have been wanting to try and make lemon curd homemade, but never attempted it. Yours looks simply delicious!

Jenne said...

Lemon curd is great especially on something with blueberries. I have been testing my hand at other curds like cranberry curd. Oh so fun and good!

Nicky Omohundro said...

I have made lemon curd before and it is very easy. I haven't made it in ages and need to make some more soon. Thanks for sharing this.

Velva said...

I came very close to making lemon curd this past season and I shied away (sigh). No doubt fresh homemade lemon curd would be delightful and no comparison to store bought.


Rachel @ Bakerita said...

Having a juicer makes lemon curd so much easier!! Homemade lemon curd is definitely the way to go, and yours looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I've only made lemon curd once, but I remember being surprised at how easy it was, too! The recipe I used actually had me combine all the ingredients and THEN heat everything up together! Interesting how all these different techniques yield the same results :)

Heather King said...

I love homemade lemon curd! It's got that delicious sweet and sour pairing that goes so well in all baked goods!

Anonymous said...

I so love lemon curd! I have never made it myself so this looks so easy I don't think I have a excuse not to anymore!

Rachel Willis said...

I've been wanting to try lemon curd for quite a while now- looks so tasty!

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