There’s something about lemon curd that I just love. I’ll confess that I’m not a huge fan of everything lemony, but for some inexplicable reason I adore lemon curd. I love the burst of bright citrusy flavor as much as I enjoy the creamy texture. It just seems to taste of spring and you can count on me to make it every year when winter gives way to warmer weather and the snow finally begins to melt away.
Curd is simple to make and adds a touch of decadence to scones, pound cake, sponge cake, or as a base filling for berry tarts and tartlets. With its gorgeous yellow color and satiny smooth appearance, it is as beautiful as it is delicious.
Take your time when making curd just as you would when making custard. The process is simple, but rushing the thickening process can result in a grainy curd or even tiny bits of scrambled egg. Instead, spend a few more minutes bringing the liquid to a simmer over low to medium heat, whisking constantly. The reward will be a perfectly smooth curd that will be well worth a few extra minutes at the stove.
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter
- Cut the butter into Tablespoon sized pieces, reserving 2 Tablespoons to be added to the curd after it is finished cooking.
- In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs, and salt. Whisk gently to combine Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add 14 Tablespoons of the butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, add the lemon juice mixture and whisk to combine. Increase the heat slightly and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. A perfectly thickened curd will be what the French would call “Nappe”.
- Nappe is a fancy term for the consistency a sauce reaches when it is thick enough to coat a dish without being too thick. Checking to see if a curd or custard is nappe is simple. Immerse a clean spoon into the mixture; remove the spoon, turning it so that the back of the spoon is facing you. Run a finger down the length of the spoon from the handle to the tip. If a clean path is created and the curd remains on both sides of the spoon, you have achieved nappe. If not, simply continue to cook the sauce while whisking until it thickens properly.
- Once the curd reaches nappe consistency, remove the pan from the heat. I like to strain my curd to into a large bowl to ensure that there are no lumps or bits of scrambled egg in the finished curd, but this step can be skipped. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter, whisking to incorporate the butter into the curd as it melts.
- Transfer the finished curd to a large bowl or Mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Curd can be kept in the refrigerator for one week.