The first time I saw something about lemon curd, I was speaking with my daughter afterwards and mentioned was an offputting name it had – and she raved about it – had it somewhere, absolutely loved it. I like lemon flavour a whole lot, so I gave it a go, despite the name. The first time I made it, it worked beautifully, however, I used a cast iron pot because the recipe I used said to use a heavy bottom pan – so I did. The lemon stripped everything off the bottom of that pot and it changed the colour and the flavour of the curd. It went into the compost and I only just decided to try again, 2 or 3 months later.
Why someone thought “curd” was a good name for something that tastes this good, I will never understand. It’s basically lemon pudding, though. Curd makes it sound like you’re making something to do with cheese.
So lesson one with lemon curd – use stainless steel. Nothing reactive and definitely not cast iron!
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup of lemon juice
- 2 lemons worth of lemon zest
- ¾ cup of white sugar
- 6 TB butter
If you don’t have real lemons, use bottled lemon juice – it works just fine. If you don’t have lemon zest, skip it – it won’t be quite as lemon-y but still really good.
Separate the eggs – put the yolks into your cooking pot and the whites into a bowl.
Note: if you are zesting lemons, give them a good wash first. There’s often wax on the skin to help keep them fresh. I just do it because you don’t know who touched or sneezed or coughed on them – YUCK.
Zest the lemons, if you have them. I used a vegetable peeler because I don’t have a zester or a grater that doesn’t either try to shred my fingers or just slide over the lemon like it isn’t there. Because I did this, I had to run mine through a small food processor to chop them up fine – I didn’t want to play around with chopping them with a knife.
Juice your lemons – I needed 3 (mine were small) and a couple teaspoons of bottled lemon juice to get enough.
Add the lemon juice and the zest to the egg yolks.
Mix your egg whites really well then add them into the pot along with the sugar. I actually added the whites to the food processor with my zest and whipped them up together. Not too long, though, you don’t want meringue.
Turn the heat on to the low side of medium, depending on your stove, and use a whisk or a silicon scraper to mix constantly. You don’t want to scramble the eggs, so don’t let anything sit on the bottom of the pan for long.
After a couple minutes, the mixture will start thickening. When you can dip the spatula into the mix, take it out, run your finger down the middle and it doesn’t fill in right away with the pudding, it’s done.
Take it off the heat and add in the butter, mixing well.
Let it cool a couple minutes, then transfer to a bowl and pop it in the fridge. If you are worried about a skin forming, as it does sometimes on pudding, either put plastic wrap over it, touching the pudding surface, or stir it every once in a while. I stir mine or I don’t fuss about the skin.
Serve on scones, ice cream, on its own, with berries or on cake.