"Magic" Lemon Curd (the Foolproof Method)

1 1/2 Cups
22 min

Aaaahh… lemon curd, that silky, smooth, sweetness with a tart bite that makes your tongue sit up and take notice. Forget the stuff in the store – it’s little more than a gooey, sugary, preservative-filled gelatinous muck, completely undeserving of the name. This lemon curd will have you stashing it in the back of your fridge, to be spooned straight from the jar in secret. Because it’s just too good to share. (But try anyway.)

Fresh, tart homemade lemon curd

So what exactly IS lemon curd?


Lemon curd, aka lemon "cheese," is defined as a “spread or preserves made thick with eggs, lemons, butter and sugar.” OK, sounds nice, but what’s all the hoopla about? It’s sold in the jam section, and maybe you think yeah, that’s nice, “but it ain’t no thang.”


Wrong. It IS a “thang,” but only the from-scratch version. Homemade lemon curd is the stuff dessert dreams are made of. It’s a soft pudding-like spread that dresses up scones, quick breads, and toast; it’s also a divine filling for cakes and tarts. It's what I use in my Moist & Tender Coconut Cake with Lemon Curd Filling.


Let’s get one thing straight right now – the word “curd” is kind of ugly. Icky. Even a little gross. It means little more than the chunks you get from coagulating milk. As in, soured milk. Lumpy milk. Chunky milk. Barf.


But fruit curds (yes, oranges, limes and tangerines also make delicious curd) are made by cooking down fruit juice with sugar. Completely different than milk curds. Thank goodness.


*For more in-depth instructions behind some of these steps, come see the recipe on my blog (link below).*


Ignore the “experts” – lemon curd is shockingly easy to make


With just a handful of ingredients, lemon curd is almost as quick to whip up as a box of instant pudding. And infinitely tastier and more versatile. With just a few minutes of prep work and a few minutes at the stove, you’ll have this exquisite spread made lickety split.


Here is the "magic" way I've been making lemon curd for 40 years. It defies the typical recipe because we don't temper the eggs, which frightens the daylights out of many people. Nope, it's much easier than that. So easy, in fact, a child could make it (with just a little help from you).


Step 1

Dump everything into a saucepan. Everything, including the eggs and butter. (I've tripled the recipe in this image.)


Step 2

Blend with a stick (immersion) blender. No need for the big countertop blender, this little baby does the trick in seconds, and without the hassle of pulling a blender apart to wash it. The blended mixture won't look like much yet, but just wait.


Step 3

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth.


That's it! Beautiful, silky smooth, tangy sweet lemon curd in a fraction of the time of typical recipes. And the taste, provided you've used fresh lemons and lemon peel, is out of this world, "slap your grandma" delicious. (Yeah, it's a Southern saying.)


This is the same technique I use when making Easy Foolproof Lemon Meringue Pie. It just doesn't get any easier than this.

"Magic" Lemon Curd (the Foolproof Method)

Recipe details

  • 1 1/2  Cups
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 7 Minutes Total time: 22 min
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Ingredients


  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 stick butter (6 Tbs.) (I used salted butter)
  • 1/3 Cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions


In stainless steel saucepan, combine all ingredients.
Blend with stick blender (or blend in stand blender, then pour mixture into saucepan).
Cook over low heat until mixture is thick and coats the back of a metal spoon.
Pour into jars and refrigerate for up to three weeks. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

Tips

  • This recipe can be doubled or tripled successfully. (I always triple it for Christmas gifts.)
  • Do NOT use an aluminum saucepan. Aluminum reacts with the eggs and lemon giving the curd a metallic taste and greenish color. (However, an anodized aluminum pan can be used given that this type of cookware has been coated with a non-reactive substance.)
  • There's no need to strain the curd. The stick blender will pulverize the lemon zest to that there is virtually no texture to the curd. But you can strain the final product into jars if you wish.
  • Lemon curd can be stored in the freezer for 3-6 months in airtight containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before stirring and using.
  • Make sure to use the juice of FRESH lemons - not bottled. The taste is incomparable with fresh.
  • Do not skip the step of zesting the lemon. The zest adds a bright flavor to the finished curd.
  • Try my Moist & Tender Coconut Cake with Lemon Curd Filling.

SheaMc62
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