If you glance at my Instagram feed at the moment, you can easily surmise that lemons have come back in season here in Northern California.
So far, I’ve started a few jars of preserved lemons, made fermented lemonade, started lemon extract, and last night—at 2am—made the lemon curd in this post. And took the pictures. Isn’t that the logical thing to do when you can’t sleep during lemon season?
Lemon curd is a dessert spread you eat in the same way as jam. It tastes sweet, intensely lemony and has a velvety smooth, custard-like texture.
The last time I made lemon curd, I used it as the basis for the filling in and frosting on Charlotte’s 8th (or 9th?) birthday cake. (She turns 17 next month.) The cake tasted incredible. The kids wouldn’t touch it but all of the parents (including this one) inhaled it. I will have to dig out that recipe.
My daughter MK posted the recipe for this on her blog, The Plastic-Free Chef, a few years ago. While the curd cooled down, I texted her to ask if I could please repost (steal) it. She lives on the East Coast and so could have been awake at 2am my time. She wasn’t. But later this morning, she said sure, go ahead.
This lemon curd is extremely easy to make, otherwise I wouldn’t have attempted it in my bleary-eyed state. You can whip it up in mere minutes.
Yields a generous 2 cups
- 1/2 cup lemon juice of (approximately 2 medium-large lemons)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
1. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs in a small saucepan.
2. Turn on heat to medium-low and add butter. Whisk constantly until butter melts. If you don’t whisk it constantly, you’ll get chunks of cooked eggs.
3. Continue whisking until thickened, about five minutes.
4. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. It will thicken more as it cools.
5. Eat on everything (bread, crumpets, pancakes, cake, cookies). Or simply eat by the spoonful. MK likes to add some to yogurt.
1. I buy organic eggs that come from pastured hens—hens that go outside and peck around in the dirt and do what chickens do. I also buy organic butter made from milk produced by pastured cows. I do not buy industrial eggs and dairy and am happy to pay exorbitant prices for pastured since I know the animals are treated well.
2. I don’t eat fruit peels that have been treated with pesticides. Look for organic citrus.
3. Store-bought lemons—even if organic—often have been coated with food-grade wax. You cannot completely remove this. The farmers’ market is the best place to find lemons not coated in wax. I’m extremely lucky to have a lemon tree.
4. I love my Le Creuset enameled cast iron pots but they get very hot very quickly and take a long time to cool down. That high heat can lead to the eggs cooking too quickly and forming chunky cooked bits. I prefer a stainless steel pot for this recipe.