How to make this easy homemade lemon curd recipe
Have you ever made your own lemon curd? It’s the ultimate homemade lemon curd recipe which is perfect for all lemon lovers. It is a wonder to eat on a simple slice of cake, it works great with fresh berries and can also be used as an addition to cake layers. If you love lemon and lemon desserts, you’re going to want to try this lemon recipe.
I love lemon. That wonderful sour and fresh taste. And let’s face it, a lemon is surely one of the most versatile fruits in the “fruit world”. You can use it to make dressings, it’s great in pies and cakes, great for giving sauces that little bit of acidity and so on.
But I hadn’t made lemon curd myself before. Funny really because I love that yellow stuff. I put it on desserts, preferably use it in a bread pudding and also just love to spread it on a piece of brioche.
And if you make the lemon curd yourself it is even more delicious than when you buy it in the store. And actually very simple. Simpler than I expected to be honest.
What do you need.
To make the best lemon curd you need – for starters – lemons, of course. In addition, quite a few eggs, sugar and butter. That’s it. With these four ingredients you will make the most delicious lemon curd. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start the process. The main ingredients are:
- 3 fresh Lemons and fresh lemon juice
- unsalted butter
- whole eggs
Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not really very sour. You can definitely taste the flavor of the lemon, but because of the eggs, butter and sugar, the flavor itself is not sour. If you’ve never tried lemon curd before, I highly recommend it.
One note on the eggs; I like to use whole eggs but there are people that will only make the lemon curd with egg yolks. It’s the perfect way to use up leftover egg yolks but
How to make the lemon curd
The best way to make the lemon curd is by using a double boiler. If you put the ingredients directly into a pan and on direct heat there is a pretty good chance it will heat up too fast causing the eggs to cook and you will end up with something resembling scrambled eggs. So it has to be heated gradually and best to do this with a double boiler on medium heat.
A double boiler means you take a heatproof bowl (a glass or metal bowl will work fine) and you place the ingredients in it. This conducts the heat well. You put this on a small saucepan (the bowl should not touch the water) and heat the whole thing. The water in the pan will start to boil and the hot steam will hit the bottom of your iron or glass bowl. It’s the perfect way to heat something gradually.
Once you have added all ingredients to your bowl, you stick with it and you keep stirring slowly while the double boiler does it’s magic. It will take some time, so if this is your first time making lemon curd, don’t get impatient. It will eventually start to thicken. You can test if it has the right consistency by testing it with the back of a wooden spoon. You dip the spoon inside your lemon curd and you take it out. Run a finger across the spoon and if the stripe you made stays it is good. You’ll want a delicious creamy texture with a tart lemon flavor.
When the lemon curd cools down there will form a film over the top surface of the curd. You can stir that through without issues but if you don’t like it make sure to cover it with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent that from happening.
To be honest, I have also read stories where people found that there was a metallic aftertaste to the lemon curd. Apparently, that can be due to the metal bowl. The acid and eggs react with the metal of the bowl, causing a metallic taste. Personally, I haven’t experienced that and I always use the same bowls. But a glass bowl (make sure it is heat resistant!) is also possible. It just doesn’t get hot as quickly as the metal. But whatever is needed for the best results.
For the same reason, use a wooden spoon for stirring and not an iron whisk.
How long can you store fresh lemon curd?
You make the lemon curd with fresh eggs, so the lemon curd keeps for a relatively short amount of time. It will keep in the refridgerator for about two weeks. The difference with a jar from the store is that it contains a lot more preservatives. So you can keep that longer.
You can also sterilize the lemon curd jars and treat it the same way you would a batch of jam. To do that, take clean jam jars with a tight-fitting lid and make sure they are sterilized. I do that by first washing them well with soapy water and then putting them in a hot oven. I set the oven to 160˚C and put them on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes.
Then you can fill them with the hot curd, put the lid on, turn them over and let them cool that way. Once cold, you can safely store it that way for months to a year in the cupboard.
If you do like lemon and want the flavor of the lemon to be more intense, you can add some lemon zest through it. Be sure to use an organic lemon for this. This will – however – break the smooth texture of the lemon curd. So think about what you want to do with it beforehand. If you need to spread on something you might want a smooth texture but if you’re using it inside a bread pudding or on layers of cake it will be fine with the zest inside.
What do you use lemon curd for?
The applications for using it are many. Think scones with clotted cream and lemon curd, lemon tarts, waffles, pancakes, cakes, on vanilla ice cream, in bread pudding and so on. Almost all sweet dishes become more delicious with lemon curd. My absolute favorite, by the way, is a lemon meringue pie.
You can check the full recipe below in the recipe card.
- 3 lemons
- 280 g caster sugar
- 150 g butter at roomtemperature
- 6 eggs lightly beaten
- Put the sugar into a medium stainless steel saucepan. Wash and dry the lemons, then finely grate the zest of 2 lemons, and add the zest to the sugar.
- Squeeze all 3 lemons. Pour the juice into the saucepan with the sugar, add the soft butter in pieces and the lightly beaten eggs. Place the smaller saucepan into a larger one, partly filled with hot water (au bain marie/double boiler) and simmer until the cream begins to thicken. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Never allow the curd to boil! it should only simmer very gently.
- Ladle the lemon curd into perfectly clean jam jars. Close the lids tightly and store in the fridge. Lemon curd is perishable because of the eggs, so don’t store it for more then two weeks.
The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.