Lemon curd is a delicate custard made from lemon juice, eggs, butter, and sugar. It is used as a sauce/filler for pies, tarts, cakes, and pastries. And sometimes even served as a separate dessert.
For me, lemon curd is one of the most powerful flavor combinations. Everything about it is perfect. It has a delicate, smooth texture, acidity that excites the imagination, but is sufficiently balanced by the sweetness of the sugar and an absolutely incredible lemon flavor. I guarantee that once you try it, you will never forget the experience.
Lemon curd is made with different proportions of egg whites/yolks. Some recipes use only yolks, in which case the cream is more liquid in consistency, others use whole eggs, in which case the cream is denser and thicker. The golden mean is to use a couple of eggs + two extra yolks. This variant of preparation seems to me the most versatile.
But in this recipe I will tell you how to make kurd exclusively from yolks. We’ll look at the other options another time. Why is this the case? I used to make Pavlova with lemon curd, and it is this recipe for curd that allows for waste-free production: yolks go into the curd, whites into the Pavlova, and no leftovers.
- 4 egg yolks
- 150 g sugar
- 3-4 medium-sized lemons (2-3 large, 85 ml lemon juice + zest)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 100 g butter
Step by Step Directions
Take a saucepan or casserole dish. Grate the zest of the lemons directly into it.
Most lemon curd recipes suggest using only the zest of one lemon. I don’t see any reason why not to use the maximum available. For a richer flavor.
Cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. You will need approximately 85 ml of juice. You can weigh in a separate container, put the sauté pan on a scale or use a measuring cup.
It took the juice of three and a half lemons for me to reach this volume.
Super accuracy is not required here, an error of +/-10-15 ml is quite acceptable.
Stop. Don’t throw away any leftover lemons. Cut them into small pieces, put them in a bowl and pour the sugar in a ratio of about 2 to 1 (100 g sugar per 200 g of lemon peels). Add to them the juice of 1-1.5 whole lemons, cut them in the same way and add to the total mass. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for 1-2 days. The lemons will give juice, which mixed with the sugar will turn into syrup. Pour some syrup into a glass, add sparkling or still water, taste, add more syrup if necessary. Congratulations, you’ve made lemonade from leftover lemons that you probably would have thrown away. See the perfect lemonade recipe for more details on the process.
Add 150 g of sugar, 4 egg yolks and a pinch of salt to a saucepan.
Whisk with a whisk until smooth.
Place a saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk and add 100 g of butter.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. This will take 7-8 minutes. Do not bring to a boil. A cooking temperature you can aim for is about 75 °C / 170 °F.
You can check readiness by dipping a spoon into the kurd for a second. Run your finger along the back of the spoon, drawing a line from top to bottom. If the sauce holds and doesn’t drip, it’s ready.
Strain the kurd through a fine sieve.
Store the kurd in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Lemon Curd with Egg Yolks
- 4 egg yolk
- 150 g sugars
- 3-4 Lemon (medium or 2-3 large ones, ~85 ml of lemon juice + zest)
- 100 g butter
- pinch salts
- In a saucepan, grate the zest of four lemons and squeeze out the juice, about 85 ml.
- Add the sugar, 4 egg yolks and a pinch of salt to the saucepan. Whisk with a whisk until smooth.
- Place a saucepan over medium heat, heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 100 g of butter.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes. Do not bring to a boil.
- Strain the kurd through a fine sieve.Store the kurd in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.