When life gives you lemons make this easy lemon curd. Delicious lemon curd is so easy to make and is a great way to use up extra egg yolks.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This easy lemon curd takes just 15 minutes to make and requires only five ingredients.
- Lemon curd is a delicious way to use up leftover egg yolks.
- Homemade lemon curd tastes so much better than store-bought lemon curd and is so much less expensive.
If you love lemon desserts, be sure to check out this Lemon-Thyme Cheesecake.
Great lemon curd has a glossy finish and is smooth and creamy with the texture of pudding. It is the perfect combination of tart and sweet. Because there are so few ingredients, it is best to use the best quality ingredients you can find.
Egg Yolks: Cold eggs are easier to separate. Separate the eggs fresh from the refrigerator. Then allow the egg yolks to come to room temperature.
Egg yolks help to thicken the curd just as they do in creme brulee.
Granulated White Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to the curd and gives it structure.
Fresh Lemon Juice and Zest: Freshly squeezed lemon juice will give you the best flavor. Give the lemon curd a more intense lemon flavor by adding both the zest and juice of the lemon. When zesting a lemon be sure to use only the thin yellow outer skin. Avoid the bitter white pith underneath it.
Salt: I add at least a pinch of salt to all of my recipes. Salt complements and intensifies the other flavors. For all of my recipes, I use Morton Kosher Salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you are using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt you will want to double the amount of salt you add.
Unsalted Butter: Softened room temperature butter will melt into the curd more quickly. Butter gives the curd a silky texture.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Glass Bowl: My favorite bowl for making lemon curd is this pyrex bowl. Metal bowls can react to the egg yolks and lemon giving the lemon curd a metallic taste.
Silicone Whisk: Because metal can sometimes react with the egg yolks and lemon juice use a silicone whisk to avoid giving your lemon curd a metallic flavor.
Fine Mesh Strainer: For an even smoother lemon curd using a fine mesh strainer strain out the lemon zest.
In a glass heat-proof bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Continue whisking as the lemon curd cooks. Constant whisking prevents the egg yolks from curdling. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Approximately 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Let each piece melt partially before adding more.
(Optional) For a smoother texture press the lemon curd through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest and any curdled egg.
Pour the finished lemon curd into a bowl or jar. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Once the lemon curd has cooled to room temperature transfer it to the refrigerator.
For a thicker lemon curd replace two of the egg yolks with one whole egg.
Change the flavor by using other fruit juices. Try making curd with lime, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, or berry juice.
Lemon curd can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
For longer storage, freeze the lemon curd in an airtight container for 3-6 months.
To thaw, place the frozen lemon curd in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
The fully cooked lemon curd will thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon and leaves a clear path if you pull your finger through it.
Has your lemon curd cooled completely? It will continue to thicken as it cools. If it has cooled and still hasn't thickened it may not have been cooked long enough. Return the lemon curd to the saucepan and cook it for longer.
If after further cooking it still hasn't thickened you can add a cornstarch slurry. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the lemon curd and cook until it thickens.
- When zesting the lemons use only the yellow outer skin. Avoid the bitter white pith underneath it.
- If you want completely smooth curd strain it through a fine-mesh strainer after cooking.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the hot lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming.
- Use lemon curd to top scones, pancakes, waffles, pavlova, ice cream, cheesecake, and french toast.
- Use it as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, macarons, and crepes.
- Make a lemon curd trifle by layering pound cake, whipped cream pr Swiss meringue, berries, and lemon curd.
- Stir it into whipped cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
- Spoon it into a baked pie crust and top it with meringue for an amazing lemon meringue pie.
Easy Fruit Desserts
Thanks for Reading!
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