Saturday, January 21, 2012

Meyer Lemon Curd

I loved lemon curd to start with. After making it with Meyer lemons, my love has turned into full blown creepy stalker obsession. Three jars have disappeared in as many days. What can I say? It's. That. Good.

Here's the thing. I know some of you might be looking for practical recipes with chicken and vegetables or that end with a satisfying hunk of baked goodness. You may look askance and say "You want me to spend time making a condiment I can buy in any decent grocery store?" But hear me out.

For those of you not familiar with curd, it's a mixture of sugar, butter, eggs, and some type of fruit juice, often citrus. The stuff you get in stores is often thickened with pectin or weird artificial thickeners so it's very thick and gummy. It also lacks in the flavor department. My version uses whole eggs (rather than yolks) and sets up to a pudding consistency. It's sweet, tangy, buttery, and bursting with flavor. Heaped on a cream scone, it's heavenly. 
Look for organic Meyer lemons, which are smaller, sweeter, and juicier than regular lemons. You can still make it with regular lemons, but if you want the same sweet-tart punch, you can try subbing the juice of one or two lemons with orange juice. Key lime curd would also be insanely good and give you that great sweet-tart balance.

This recipe is also designed so you can make a large batch (roughly 5-8 ounce jars) and freeze most for later use. Lemon curd freezes and defrosts like a champ, so you only do the work of zesting and juicing lemons once, and enjoy multiple times. If you don't want to commit to that large an amount, this recipe easily halves.

I've also made this recipe as easy as possible. Many recipes for lemon curd tell you to strain your lemon juice or the curd after it's cooked, making for crazy amounts of clean up. I hate washing dishes and scrubbing out strainers, so you'll find none of that here. I'm not gonna lie, you may end up with a few tiny specks of cooked egg in your curd with this method, but real lemon curd isn't perfectly smooth because of the zest anyway. And you definitely won't be able to taste the specks.

First you melt a stick of butter and set it aside to cool.
Then you prep the lemons by zesting and juicing into two separate containers. I love this microplane grater for zesting citrus and grating hard cheeses. You can discard the lemon hulls.
Then you cream the sugar together with the melted butter.
Then you stir in the lemon juice. At this point, check the pan to make sure it's completely cooled, otherwise you'll end up with chunks of cooked egg in your curd. Then beat in the eggs with a whisk and make sure the mixture is as smooth and uniform as possible:
Then you put the pan on a cold burner and turn the heat to a little shy of medium and stir making sure to scrape the bottom CONSTANTLY for about 10 minutes until the curd thickens. It will have the consistency of a thick Hollandaise sauce and stick to the back of a spoon. It will set up a bit more as it cools.
Then you whisk in the zest:
And while its still warm pour it into freezer safe containers. Let them come to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate or freeze.

I like half pint (8 oz.) jars because it's a reasonable amount for two people to eat over a few days. Once thawed, the curd stays good for about a week in the fridge.
If you'd like a good scone recipe to go with the curd. This is the one I made and that's pictured. The only changes I made were to skip the raisins and I used Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream.

Meyer Lemon Curd
Yields approximately 4 1/2 cups curd

6-7 organic Meyer lemons (I recommend organic here because you're using the skin of the fruit)
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  2. Zest the lemons using a microplane grater or the fine side of a box grater and set the zest aside. Only remove the outer, yellow layer, not the white (and bitter) pith.
  3. Juice the lemons with a citrus juicer or press. Pulp in the juice is not a big deal, but fish out any seeds that might have fallen into the juice. You should have in the neighborhood of 2/3 to 1 cup of juice. Discard the hulls.
  4. Cream the sugar together with the melted butter and stir in the juice. 
  5. Beat the eggs into the mixture until it is as smooth and uniform as possible. 
  6. Set the saucepan on a cold burner and turn the heat up to just shy of medium. Stir CONSTANTLY making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for about 10 minutes until the curd thickens. Remove from heat.
  7. Whisk in the zest and pour into jars. Allow to cool and refrigerate or freeze. Curd will last approximately 1 week in the fridge.


  1. I love the whole eggs!
    Im trying this recipe tonight, I found #3bs of organic Meyers on sale today!!! WOOOOOT
    I just wanted to say I love how your recipe print option allows you to customize...delete pics and unwanted text, its great! I haven't come across this on a blog before, its genius!

    1. Thanks! I hope you like the recipe. Everyone I've introduced to lemon curd has been smitten. I really prefer a pudding-like texture rather than the thick mass you get with yolks only, plus there is no trying to figure out what to do with a bunch of whites!

  2. roughly how many tablespoons of zest do you use in this recipe? my organic meyer lemons are really small, more like the size of a key lime. ..

    1. Sorry I didn't get around to replying sooner. I zest the entire outside of all the lemons I'm using, but I really only take the very outermost layer so that it's all bright yellow zest. If you're lemons are smaller, I would suggest zesting and juicing each lemon until you get to 2/3 cup juice. I like the curd to have a lot of flavor so I wouldn't hesitate to throw all the zest in there, but if you're afraid it might be too potent, hold some back and whisk in maybe half of the zest, taste, and ratchet it up to a level to your liking.

  3. This will be perfect for my new obession with french crepes!!