Lemon Curd

Preparing lemon curd is an exacting process, as I found out a couple of weeks ago. At that time the result was a big scrambled lemony egg mess. But what I did learn was important - curd is kind of like a custard. Custard is essentially eggs mixed with liquids, and then thickened over low heat.

I also learned that the lemons should be organic or carefully washed to remove the wax. Use real unsalted butter, and extra-large room temperature eggs. Each component has a unique role in the texture and flavor and is very important to the end result.

This time I kept the temperature low and I stirred continuously until thickened. Although the recipe states 10 minutes, the process actually took 24 minutes for me. When finished, the lemon curd should be the consistency of a custard and will leave a light trail when the whisk is lifted. Let cool, then it's ready to use.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten at the Food Network.


3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

To prepare:

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170°F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool or refrigerate.

To prevent a 'surface skin' from forming while it cools, place a clean piece of plastic food wrap down onto the surface of the curd or cover the bowl.

Keep in the fridge and use within two weeks. I stored mine in a sterilized ball jar marked with the date.


  1. I was *just* fantasizing about making lemon curd so I could finally recreate my favorite store-bought lemon curd coffee cake--this is great! Total mind-meld happening right here.

  2. Mmmm... I love lemon curd and have it on my "to-make" list this winter - I need to get busy! Nice job.


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