A Love Letter to Lemon Curd
Dear Lemon Curd,
Hi. How are you? I’m writing to tell you how much I utterly adore you. I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover your tart yet sweet, tangy, velvety goodness. I hope you’ll forgive me for that ill-fated birthday, when I was only a teen (what did I know?), when a friend gave me a jar of you and I — not having yet been introduced to your wondrousness — discarded you on a back shelf, never to see the light of day again. Those days are most definitely over; you now have VIP status in my refrigerator, and I save one of my hermetic terrines (and you know how much I love those) just for you. I’ve even been seen eating big spoonfuls of your buttery-yellow deliciousness straight from the jar…but we love you on scones, biscuits, spread on toast, on muffins, in tarts, over ice cream, and in ice cream, too.
Even though I only discovered lemon curd in the past few years (I know! unbelievable!), it’s one of those foods I can’t get enough of. I’ll go through stretches where I’ll just daydream about a new way I can eat it. You know you love food when your daydreams consist what you’re going to have a big spoonful of lemon curd on next…
Adapted from Gourmet, February 2000
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs. Cut the butter into bits and add it to the saucepan.
Turn on the heat to medium-low (I usually set mine just under medium) and cook the mixture gently, whisking constantly, until it thickens up enough to hold the marks of the whisk and is just about to come to a simmer. This takes me usually around 20-25 minutes — better to be gentle than to curdle your eggs. The end mixture will be a buttery, creamy light yellow.
Remove from the heat and place into a bowl to cool. You can strain it into the bowl if you like, but I like the lemon zest in my curd…if you think the eggs may have curdled a little, go ahead and strain it. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Store the curd in the fridge.
Makes about 1 2/3 cups.