I like to take some shortcuts when I cook and bake and I haven't been shy with sharing them. As long as the dish turns out as good as it would if you took the long way, then why not? But there are some things that I would simply never skimp on and homemade lemon curd is one of them.
A good lemon curd should be silky and smooth, tart and sweet. It's not a time-consuming process, but there are steps that need to be followed in order to get the best curd possible.
Of course, as with all recipes, starting with high-quality ingredients will get you off to a great start. After that, the most important thing to be aware of when making lemon curd is that you might get small pieces of cooked egg that you'll have to strain out. It's not a complicated step but it's an important one that will keep your curd silky smooth.
I've had a favorite curd recipe for years. It's near perfect but occasionally I would get those small egg pieces I mentioned above. Then recently I came across this article from Fine Cooking that promises a foolproof way to make it; I decided to test their method so I could report back to you ;-)
The lemon curd turned out perfectly with not an egg piece in sight. Their method creams the butter and sugar together much like you would do when baking a cake. An extra step but one that really makes a difference!
I've also included a recipe to make it in the microwave. It won't be as silky smooth, but it will still be delicious and miles better than store-bought.
Check back Monday for Lemon Tiramisu, one of the only reasons I make homemade lemon curd in the first place!
- 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.
Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.
Microwave Homemade Lemon Curd
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, strained to remove any pulp (2 to 4 lemons)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (together with the whole eggs)
- Mix butter with the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the whole eggs and yolks and blend well.
- Cover with parchment paper and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring well after each minute. Continue until mixture thickens and coats the spoon. You might need more or less time depending on your microwave.
- Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.