- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (approx 10-12 lemons)
- 6 whole eggs, plus the yolk of a 7th
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of two lemons (in large pieces for easy removal from finished curd)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
Ain’t nothin’ like a jar of homemade lemon curd. Seriously.
Once you’ve had some yourself, you’ll never go back to the grocery store version because you’ll see it for what it is– a shiny, gelatinous imposter. (Loaded with all sorts of things you probably can’t pronounce, too.)
Lemon curd is a really decadent treat. I love it on scones or biscuits, and recently discovered that it’s delicious in a cupcake.
Most recipes you see for homemade lemon curd involve the use of a double-boiler, and for some reason, the double-boiler seems like a lot of work to me. I KNOW. THAT’S WEIRD. Because I love canning and any manner of food preservation, and if you do it, you know it can be a rather time-consuming and tedious task. Yet, I never hesitate to tackle it. But mention the words ‘double-boiler’ and I suddenly have visions of a long climb up Mount Everest! I can’t explain why.
So, I nosed around on the interwebs and found a recipe to try at Rosemarried, a really lovely blog from a really lovely gal in Portland. I’ve made other recipes from her blog before, so I figured it would be really good. And it is. Score! (And get the heck outta here, double-boiler…)
But, please note: ditching the double-boiling method comes at a price. You have to be diligent when you’re cooking the curd on your stovetop. Pay very careful attention to what’s happening in the pan, whisk it constantly, and be ready to pull it off of the heat at a moment’s notice if necessary. DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM YOUR CURD! Doing so could leave you with a concoction that looks more like scrambled eggs than lemon curd. (See more detailed notes about this in the instructions below.)
This recipe calls for Meyer lemons, which are a cross between a lemon and an orange, and are only available a few months during the year. They are smaller and smoother than a regular lemon, and much juicer. They are also a bit sweeter. You can use regular lemons for this curd, but you will likely need more lemons than called for in the recipe (to get enough juice), and a bit more sugar to balance the flavor.
The curd can be refrigerated for three weeks, or frozen for up to one year. Unfortunately, this is not a candidate for canning. Although there are recipes out there for canned lemon curd, Meyer lemons are lower in acid than traditional lemons. The low acid content, combined with the egg protein in the recipe, means that it cannot be canned safely, via the boiling water bath OR pressure canning method. So, the freezer really is your best bet if you want to have some of this delicious treat around all year long.
OK, then. Let’s make some lemon curd.
*See ingredient list at top of page.
Adapted from Rosemarried.
1. Juice the lemons. Roll the lemons under the palm of your hand on the countertop before juicing. This will make it easier to extract more juice. Pour juice through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove seeds and large bits of pulp.
2. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk in a heavy-bottom saucepan. (Do not turn the stove on yet.) Add the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and combine well.
3. Once the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract are combined, turn the heat on low, whisking constantly.
4. Once the mixture starts to warm up, add the pieces of lemon zest to the pan, and increase heat to medium-low. (NOTE: If you see any curdling of the eggs, remove pan from the burner briefly, and turn the heat back down to low and keep it there.)
5. Continue whisking constantly, and gradually add the cubes of butter. Once all the butter is melted, turn heat back down to low.
6. Whisk until mixture takes on a thicker, creamier texture. This should take 7-10 minutes. (Maybe a bit longer if you had to keep the burner on low the whole time to avoid curdling the eggs.)
7. Once the mixture becomes thicker and creamier (similar to a thin pudding), remove pan from the heat. It will continue to thicken off the heat. Put plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd (to prevent a film from forming), and let cool for one hour.
8. Remove large pieces of lemon zest and discard. Distribute cooled curd into four 8-oz jars. Refrigerate for three weeks, or freeze in a plastic container for up to one year. (Thaw in refrigerator when ready to use.)