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Monday, December 29, 2008

How to Make Lemon Curd

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Homemade Lemon Curd

Homemade Lemon Curd

It's getting really cold here in San Jose. We had frost on our grass this morning. I know that a lot of you have major snow storms but this cold I feel here is as cold as I've ever known (or want to know). I'm from the tropics and then I moved to Hawaii and I've now graduated to California. I don't think I could take moving anywhere colder. (I'm a wimp, I know...)

Overflowing in Lemons

But one thing great about this season is that the citrus fruits are coming in. Oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, mandarins, lemons. It's a wonderful time to eat these. And I truly envy those of you with Meyer Lemon Trees in your backyard. I don't happen to have any citrus fruits (I don't really count my kaffir lime tree as I only harvest the leaves and have yet to see any fruit on it) but I have friends and neighbors with them. Recently, I was at a friend's house and her lemon tree was just overflowing with fruit.

She told me she doesn't use the lemons too much and to help myself to as many as I want. I picked a huge bag full and when she came out, she said, "You didn't take many!" Yes that is how full her lemon tree was.

I happily came home with my stash and wouldn't you know it, another friend calls asking if I could make her some lemon curd. What great timing huh? So I was more than happy to whip up a double batch of lemon curd (so I could have some myself!) to go alongside a triple batch of my amazing scones!

A Treasured Lemon Curd Recipe

I got this recipe from a class I took a long time ago at a Viking Home Chef Cooking School. It was a Pies and Tarts Workshop and we had hands-on experience in making both pâte sucrée (Tender Pastry for tarts) and also Cream Short Pastry (more flaky suitable for pies).

But the recipe that I treasure the most from this class is this lemon curd recipe. My best memory from this class was when they passed out a store-bought lemon curd for us to taste (and I thought it was fine) and then they passed around this recipe's lemon curd (at which time my eyes widened and sunshine burst through my taste receptors). The difference was night and day! That store-bought lemon curd was nowhere near the wonderful fresh lemon sweetness of this recipe. Homemade lemon curd is so much better!

The lemon curd recipe itself was just a demonstration from the instructor without any hands-on from us. It was this demonstration that made me realize what was so great about attending a class. In the written recipe, the ingredients were mixed together and then placed in a double boiler to cook (which requires a lot of time). The instructor showed us how we could simplify by just cooking right on the stovetop with equal success.

So I went home and tried the lemon curd recipe out to great success. It's a pretty simple and quick recipe and there's so much you can do with it (if you can stop yourself from spooning it into your mouth every five minutes till it's gone!). I serve it with scones (good as the scones are on their own, they can always be made better with lemon curd!), or as a filling for fruit tarts or phyllo cups (just layer on and then top with seasonal fruit), or in layer cakes.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients
2 Tbsp finely minced lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 large whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick/4 oz/8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar (about 6 oz)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 medium lemons)

Lemon Zest, Eggs, Butter and Sugar for Homemade Lemon Curd

Lemon Zest, Eggs, Butter and Sugar for Homemade Lemon Curd

Method
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium stainless steel saucepan.

Whisking ingredients for homemade lemon curd


2. Place the saucepan on the stove and turn on heat to medium (or medium-low if you are more timid). Stir constantly with a whisk until it starts to thicken a little. Make sure you are standing by your stove the entire time. Trust me, this is not the time to take breaks to watch tv or check on your laundry.
3. Once it starts to thicken, switch to a large flat-bottom spatula and stir frequently, making sure to scrape the bottom of pan so that the curd thickens evenly without burning the bottom.
4. Continue to stir and cook until very thick (about 6-10 minutes, if you're cooking on medium heat). It's pretty quick if you do it this way though you need to be vigilant for that time (about 15 minutes total).

Thickened Lemon Curd

IMG_7208


5. Strain the curd (yes, you must do this if you want a really smooth and pretty lemon curd) into a bowl.
6. Cover with plastic wrap right on the surface of the curd (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill.

Homemade Lemon Curd

Homemade Lemon Curd

You have to restrain yourself from eating up all the lemon curd with a spoon right away. Use it for all the applications I mentioned above. Enjoy some Summer sunshine in the Winter!

What would you use lemon curd with? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Cheers, Annie


This post was entered in the Grow Your Own #23 round up, created and hosted this month by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes.

32 Comments:

K and S said...

delicious...topping for cheesecake :)

Peter M said...

Nice, easy to follow steps...I'd make lemon meringue pie!

Valentina said...

How lucky to have all these fruit trees at close range. I envy you and the kaffir lime tree. I am madly in love with the perfume of its leaves. Lovely recipe for curd.thanks for sharing

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Mmmm. All I'd need with this is a slice of angel food cake.... or sweet biscuits. Homemade lemon curd is so delicious.

Ginger said...

Thank you so much for this posting Lemon Curd. My family loves it on bagels with cream cheese and it is expensive to buy. I am going to give this a try. YUMMY!!!

Mrs. L said...

I'd use the lemon curd on crumpets. I'm going to have to raid my grams backyard for her meyer lemons when I'm there next month.

And you're right, we pay extra for the nice weather in this area and it's way to cold for my liking!

Sara said...

Mmmm, this looks so delicious!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Ahhhh, citrus trees! We just had to buy Meyer lemons at Trader Joe's to make some lemon curd this past weekend, and we did a lovely grapefruit curd, too. My husband loves to eat the curd right from the jar, but I use it to fill mini puff pastry shells for a quick and elegant party dessert.

Happy new year!

Chef Ben said...

Yum, I love lemons and I love homemade lemon curds. So I guess that means I'm in love with this post! :)

If I make my own lemon curd at home, I end up drizzling them on vanilla ice cream. But that's just me. I'm the same guy that drizzles lemon infused olive oil on my ice cream. ;-)

Robert said...

Ooo! Lemon curd and fresh scones, sooo tasty. Great photo of those ingredients, I love the play of the lights and darks. Nice shot.

cindy said...

I made the microwave version last week to use in thumbprint cookies. What a treat!

Ginger, thanks for the bagel suggestion!

Lysnekate said...

I fold lemon curd into whipped whipping cream and use for frosting a yellow cake. After you frost it, put it in the fridge for a bit. mmmm

I envy you those fruit trees - Here in Michigan, we have cherry trees, and apple trees, and now, we have bare trees!

MsJoanie said...

Just curious to know if you've tried to store any of this curd by canning? I'm wondering if it would separate or destroy the texture?

Carolyn Jung said...

Scones would be my first choice to go with the lemon curd. My second would be house-made English muffins from the Cheeseboard in Berkeley or the Model Bakery in St. Helena. I'd toast them till they were very crisp, then spread a little fromage blanc on each half, topped with some zesty lemon curd. The breakfast of champions!

P.S. I envy you the kaffir lime tree. Is it easy to grow?

Jude said...

Just what I needed... I few recipes I waned to try needs lemond curd. Will definitely keep this in mind :)

Kitchen Gadget Girl said...

I would love to know about the canning part too - I have loads of lemon juice leftover from my last Limoncello adventure, curd would be great.

Lemon curd was my Mom's favorite food ~ she would enjoy it straight from the jar!

The Caked Crusader said...

Home made lemon curd is so superior to anything you buy in shops - yours looks lovely!

pigpigscorner said...

Lemon curd and biscuits! Yum!

ladyironchef said...

nice man, i like lemon curd, and it seems quite easy to follow too. haha. happy new year and have a food-ful one ahead!

Andrea's Recipes (Grow Your Own) said...

Oh yum. I adore fruit curds. How lucky to have a friend with such an abundance of lemons! Thanks for sharing again with Grow Your Own.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thanks for the comments!

@Peter M - Mmmm, lemon meringue pie sounds great!

@Valentina - I agree, kaffir lime leaves have such a beautiful scent!

@Ari - oooh, angel food cake!

@Ginger - wow, with bagels and cream cheese? nice!

@Mrs L - San Jose is too cold?

@Lydia - mini puff pastries, huh? Cool beans!

@Chef Ben - olive oil on ice cream, you don't say?

@Lysnekate - I think we shall try to make the lemon frosting. Thanks for the idea!

@MsJoanie and @Kitchen Gadget Girl - we haven't tried canning it - the curd doesn't usually last that long in our house!

@Carolyn - I haven't had good English muffins in a long time. Now you tell me they have them at Cheeseboard? Great!

Caitlin said...

This curd looks soooo good! I'd use it in a vanilla layer cake with raspberries. Mmm mm good

Judith S said...

I have made a old family receipe of what we call Leomon butter, it's the same receipe, with 2exceptions, we use 6 whole eggs insteat of the 2 egg yolks and 3 whole eggs, and do not strain it. Once it is done cooking I place it in a clean hot canning jar, seal it and keep it in the refrigerator, lasts a very long time.I've actually had it in the refrigerator for 6 months, that is when I've made a lot! I serve it on pie crust rounds,about 2 inches in diamiter, very yummy. Judy S

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Judy S - thanks for sharing!

Robert L. said...

Just in time for Mother's Day.
Thank you so much for receipe.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Robert L - how'd it turn out for you?

AnnieD said...

I owe my grandmother a sponge cake. So I would make a crusty topped sponge, and slice it into 3-4 pieces, filling each with lemon curd. As a matter of fact, I would probably make two.

Nina Timm said...

I use this easy lemon curd recipe......no double boiler nonsense....it is superb. Thx for visiting my site!

Eudora said...

I just made your lemon curd last night. Yumm! My only problem is, straining through cheesecloth was kind of messy and took quite a long time - it's my first time to do this. Any tips? Do you think my curd was too thick?

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Eudora--thank you for trying our recipe. I should have mentioned that you should strain using a fine mesh strainer instead of using cheesecloth. I can imagine what a headache that was for you. And no, your curd was probably the right consistency, just not right for straining with the cloth. Sorry about that...

pastrylady said...

what a beautiful recipe! very nice tutorial - mine came out perfectly. i would eat this on anything, it's so delicious. really. anything!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Nina & Pastrylady - I'm so glad you enjoy our recipe! Tell your friends :-)