Baking Basics: How to make Lemon Curd
Baking Basics Series: Lemon Curd ~ This is one of those useful recipe components that is easy to make and handy to have around. Lemon curd is used in or on many things likes cakes, cupcakes, tarts, pies and scones.
While you can certainly buy it, I prefer to make homemade, especially since lemon is one of my favorite flavors. I love the tartness of fresh squeezed lemons.
This recipe requires everything to be homemade. In other words, using lemon juice from a bottle won’t work. You want the freshness of real lemon juice and most importantly, the skin is where the majority of a lemon’s flavor comes from. It’s the zest of the skin that gives lemon curd its punched up flavor and bite. That said, when choosing lemons look for unblemished ones and lemons that are smooth, bright and shiny.
There are many ways and recipes to make lemon curd. I’ve made it with limes and like it a quite bit, but for the purpose of this baking basics post I’ve kept it traditional. For my lime variation click here.
Now, the question Eureka (common store type) or Meyer lemons for curd? I prefer the common store type. I’ve made curd with Meyer lemons before and found that it lacked that strong lemon bite found in Eureka lemons. Of course that has everything to do with the fact that Meyer lemons are less acidic and fruitier in flavor. That’s not to say, I don’t love Meyer lemons. I do and I love using them in savory dishes. It’s more mellow in flavor, less acidic and imparts a more subtle flavor. And of course, Meyer lemons are definitely better in lemonade as they are sweeter and require less sugar.
But as I always say, your palate your preference, so use lemons that suit you.
A few notes:
- You will have more zest than you need for this recipe, but freeze what you don’t use for future recipes.
- There are two easy methods to knowing when your curd is ready (1) Use a thermometer and when it reads 170 degrees F the curd is ready (2) If you don’t have a thermometer a visual cue of readiness is when the curd lightly coats the back of a spoon and easily begins to come together again within 5-7 seconds after a line is drawn through the middle of it.
- Lemon curd can be stored in an airtight container for two weeks, any longer and the flavor starts to dull.
- Lastly, stay tuned-I have several lemon recipes coming up that will be utilizing this curd.
Basic Lemon Curd
- 1 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 6 egg yolks
- 10 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
Whisk egg yolks and transfer to a saucepan; set aside. Place lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a saucepan. Heat to simmer or until sugar completely dissolves. Add butter and continue to heat until butter dissolves. Gradually pour hot mixture into saucepan with egg yolks, while continuously whisking until everything is combined. Return combined mixture to stovetop and heat until it is just barely thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.