Homemade lemon curd

During the year I lived in Edinburgh, I made some important culinary discoveries. Deep fried Mars bars. Vegetarian mock duck pancakes. Nutella toasted sandwiches. Jacket potatoes. And lemon curd.

I had never come across lemon curd before I lived in Britain, and I still tend to think of it as a classically British foodstuff. But sweet nectar of the gods, this is one culinary gem that should be shared with the world!

Lemon curd is one of those fancy things I gaze at longingly in the grocery store and never buy. It just feels too indulgent for someone as into self-denial as I am. (Yes I know I bake about three times a week and eat it all, which may not seem very self-denying, but I’m selective in my asceticism.) When I had all the ingredients in the house after the weekend’s lemon meringue pie ‘experiment’ though, I just had to make some. This wasn’t indulgence, this was blog fodder!

So what do you do with this sweet, tart, smooth nectar?

Spread it on hot toast, English muffins, crumpets or scones.

Use it as a topping for plain cheesecake, like the photo in my blog header.

Fold it into whipped cream for a lemon fool.

Use it as the filling for a lemon meringue pie.

Mix it together with vanilla buttercream to sandwich into a layer cake, a fabulous idea I got from Aimée at Under the Highchair.

And then there’s my favourite use for lemon curd – er, eating heaping spoonfuls straight out of the jar…

Lemon curd is quick, easy and difficult to mess up. Instructions are below!

Lemon Curd
Recipe adapted from Grapefruit Curd recipe in In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley

This makes about 1 cup of thick lemon curd. Recipe is easily doubled.
4 large egg yolks
grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Fill a large pot with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer. Set aside a fine-meshed sieve over a medium bowl nearby.

Whisk the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl until frothy, then whisk in sugar, zest and juice. Set the bowl over the barely-simmering water and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, for 7-10 minutes. (If you don’t keep whisking, you’ll cook the egg yolks.) You will notice the mixture start to thicken and it should coat the back of a wooden spoon when ready. Pour the mixture through the strainer.

Stir the butter into the hot curd, a few pieces at a time, until it is all incorporated. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin forming and poke a few slits in it to let steam escape. Refrigerate curd until cold, then transfer to a covered jar. Will keep for several days in the fridge.