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A Love Letter to Lemon Curd

February 17, 2008

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…

Lemon Curd

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.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2008 8:06 pm

    I am another who didn’t pay attention to the lemon curd jar sitting in my fridge for eons, until it finally crystalized and pulled away from the glass, some 5 years after the fact, and I threw it out. This was in my misquided youth, when I thought the word “curd” was a bad thing. Now, I’m much more evolved. My love affair started when someone on a site reviewing Trader Joe’s products mentioned that Trader Joe’s lemon curd over TJ’s greek yogurt was “a revelation.” I decided to try it — she was right. I’ve never looked back. A dollop of sweet, lemony, tart, creamy, velvety curd on sharp, tangy, pure white greek yogurt is THE BEST YOGURT EVER. I’m here to testify. I’ve since moved to orange curd (even better) and Key Lime Curd (pucker up). Soon, my mission will be complete when I make grapefruit curd. But for now, the standby is Lemon Curd on Greek Yogurt for breakfast. I do hope you’ll try it (and that you have not already, so you have it to look forward to).

  2. February 17, 2008 8:12 pm

    K, how funny – I was just looking at the bowl of limes I have on my table and thinking “hmmm….I bet those would make a good lime curd.” I actually threw out that gifted jar of lemon curd for the same reason; “curd” sounded so totally unappealing. Thanks for the tip about the greek yogurt — I’m excited to try that; I can imagine how tart and creamy and delicious it is!

  3. February 17, 2008 9:45 pm

    Your love letter and the pic of the muffin bite have convinced me that I need to make this asap!

  4. February 17, 2008 10:32 pm

    Lemon curd is one of my all time favorite things. But, you think lemon curd is divine, just wait til you try it with meyer lemons. If you can get a hold of them, it’s the most exquisite lemon curd you’ve ever tasted. I made it a few weeks ago:
    I first had lemon curd in high school and have been hooked ever since. Glad to see there are other curd evangelicals out there as well 🙂

  5. February 17, 2008 10:54 pm

    Brilynn, let me know what you think if you do make it!

    Bri, as much as I love lemon anything, I SWOON over meyer lemons. I used to be able to get them regularly around this time of year at Whole Foods, but now that I’m sans-Whole Foods here in Ithaca I haven’t been able to find them. And I have looked! I did make some lemon curd last year with meyer lemons and it was completely, as you say, exquisite!

  6. February 18, 2008 12:19 am

    Ahhhh, I too share your love for lemon curd. My favorite being lemon tarts. I honestly think I could eat a (big) bowl full in one sitting, and not even feel guilty about it 😉

  7. carolina permalink
    March 1, 2008 12:20 pm

    in my massively messy repetoire of clipped recipes, i have a fabulous recipe for a lemon curd cake. if i wanted to share it with you, how do i go about doing this, as i am new to this whole ‘blog’ experience?!? by the way, i am infatuated with how beautiful your site is and with your philosophy toward food, keep up the good work !!

  8. March 2, 2008 9:54 am

    carolina, thank you so much for those kind words! 🙂 I would love to try a recipe for lemon curd cake. You can email me: eggsonsunday (at) gmail (dot) com.

  9. March 13, 2008 4:52 pm

    yum! i love lemon curd, but never made my own.

    i have a pile of oranges here…wonder if orange curd might be attempted tonight….

  10. March 13, 2008 9:13 pm

    kimberleyblue, orange curd would be fabulous. 🙂

  11. betty permalink
    March 25, 2008 10:06 pm

    Am looking for a recipe for lemon blondies that uses a cake mix, lemon curd, pecans and coconut. Saw it somewhere the past month and now cannot find it anywhere. Has anyone seen it?

  12. April 2, 2008 2:36 am

    Lemon curd is the primary reason I’m planning to plant a lemon tree in our back yard. We just spent 10 years in the Northwest–not ideal lemon-growing conditions there and nothing can beat fresh-from-the-tree lemons! I look forward to trying your recipe.

  13. Bronwyn Carlisle permalink
    April 3, 2008 3:04 pm

    In New Zealand we call it lemon honey. Sounds much nicer doesn’t it? I can’t imagine anyone here relegating it to the back of the fridge.

    I made some the other day as part of a dessert, and then HAD to make bread to eat the leftovers on – fresh home-made white bread doorsteps with thick New Zealand butter and lemon honey made from the bright-orange-yolked eggs of pet chickens… mmmmmmm. I put on 2 kg in one week. Luckily it’s all gone now and the weight is coming off again.

  14. April 6, 2008 5:35 am

    I have been on a lemon curd kick also. Where did you get the cute jars to keep it in?

  15. July 12, 2009 12:07 pm

    i finally gave this recipe a try, using a combo of limes and lemons. it was soooo good! thanks for an amazing recipe. 🙂

  16. leslie permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:01 am

    I can attest to all that is glorious about lemon curd. K wrote about Trader Joe’s curd over greek yogurt and I’m having it for the first time tonight. It has been a real experience.

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