This lemon curd recipe is adjusted slightly from a chow.com Mini Eclair recipe. The eclairs were amazing but the lemon curd was crazy amazing AND easy. People seem to have problems making lemon curd, be patient with the curd. It will reward you.
Lemon curd was one of those things I had always attributed to fancy schmancy people. You know, people who brunch and get manicures and have doormen. That type of schmancy. I imagine them sitting all pretty in those bright white brunch cafes with their morning manicured hands, drinking mimosas, making vague plans to “do lunch” later while half-heartedly picking the fruit off those beautiful lemon curd tarts. They don’t even appreciate the curd, that’s the saddest thing of all. For such a long time I went wanting. I assumed that lemon curd world was a world I was just not privy to. Then I actually looked at the ingredients one day and was like, “Look how cheap this crap is!” True story. Why it’s so expensive at the store is beyond me.
1 lemon (juice should give about 1/4 cup, zest)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter (unsalted)
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
Add your 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk to a bowl and whisk until blended.
Add your butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice to your pan. I recommend using a skillet or saucier so you don’t get any curd stuck in the corners. Or you can do the double boiler method if you’re really paranoid about cooking your eggs. I have a weird aversion to double boilers so I don’t use them. Heat over very very low heat until the butter is just melted.
Turn off the heat and pour half of your melted butter mixture into your eggs while continuously whisking. If you’re not the most coordinated of individuals you can spoon it in or have your friend or significant other pour the butter in while you whisk and then yell at them for pouring too fast.
Yay, you tempered your eggs. Now if you did this right you will have no cooked egg in your egg mixture, but if you do, don’t worry about it. Just add it in your butter mixture and we’ll deal with it later. Some people say to strain your eggs now if you have cooked pieces in there, but if you screwed up the tempering part chances are you’re going to screw up the cooking part so why bother straining twice?
Now add your tempered eggs to the rest of the butter mixture and mix. Turn the heat back on to very very low.
Stir continuously, this will take time. If you were in a hurry you shouldn’t have decided to make lemon curd.
“I cooked it for 10 minutes in the double boiler and it coated the back of a spoon but it never got beyond the soupy stage. Had to throw it out!”
Just a review of a perfectly fine lemon curd recipe from someone who was not patient with the curd. Yeah the curd is going to coat the back of your spoon pretty much immediately, it’s made up of mostly fat and sugar. If it’s still soupy after 10 minutes the logical solution would seem to be to cook it longer. Apparently to this person 10 minutes=forever, she’s obviously aware of some sort of space-time continuum that the rest of us are not. Don’t be this person.
If it’s starting to look like this, congratulations you didn’t screw it up. Now you just have to be patient and cook it longer.
There we go.
It should have the consistency of sour cream, that’s the best I can think to describe it. Now this can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, maybe even 25 depending on how low you have your heat, what vessel you’re using, and how you’re mixing. Lemon curd is a funny thing that way, for some people it sets in 5, others 25. I’m of the theory the slower you cook it the creamier it tastes, but I have no scientific testing to back that theory, just by brain and my taste buds.
Now this is where your safety net comes in. Strain your mixture into a bowl. If you curdled your eggs while you were adding the butter mixture or you were overzealous and cooked your curd too fast or didn’t stir consistently enough this will catch any of your mistakes. If you’re awesome like me and you didn’t make any mistakes you should still strain your mixture because the strainer will catch the lemon zest making your curd even creamier.
This is all set to go in the fridge where it will set up even more. Lay saran wrap over the curd so it’s touching the top to prevent a film from forming.
But if you would like it creamier, try adding some heavy cream until it reaches the creaminess you desire. I only added a tsp or two. Or 20! No, I’m joking. It’s heavy cream, go easy on it. We’re not Paula Deen-ing it over here. We very much so like not having the diabetes.
Justin and I eat this with toasted bread mostly, but our favorite use is turning it into a pancake “syrup” for Blueberry Pancakes.