Classic Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd with Baguette
Lemon Curd with Baguette. James And James/Stockbyte/Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups (32 servings)
Ratings (5)

This curd is very popular in California, where it is usually made with native Meyer lemons. A Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, and came from China in 1908. It was planted all across California, and chefs quickly fell in love with its sweet, complex flavors.

Once a darling of the "California Cuisine" movement, lemon curd  is now common on many dessert menus. If you can get Meyer lemons, give them a try. If not, don’t worry; it is still very delicious with regular lemons. While it's traditionally served as a topping for cakes, it's also wonderful spooned over a bowl of fresh berries.
 

What You'll Need

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold and cut into 1/8-in slices)

How to Make It

  1. Add 1-inch of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. In a medium metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar for about 2 minutes until smooth and well blended. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest until combined.
  2. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan (the bowl should be wide enough to fit on top of the saucepan, but shouldn't be touching the simmering water). Cook the mixture over the water, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you stir, until the mixture begins to thicken, and will coat the back of a spoon. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil. This will take approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water. Turn the burner off.
  1. Whisk the butter into the lemon mixture, adding one slice at a time. Wait until each piece of butter is almost completely dissolved before adding the next.
  2. Spoon the lemon curd into a clean bowl or several small glass containers and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Let the curd cool to room temperature. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Refrigerate the curd until ready to use.

Recipe Notes and Tips

• Cover and refrigerated, the lemon curd will keep for 2 to 3 weeks, or place in an airtight container and  freeze for up to 2 months.