Well, with a bunch of lemons laying around from my grandparent’s tree, they were just begging to be used up in a recipe. In my opinion, fresh lemons are one of the best ingredients in existence – nothing compares to some fresh grated zest, or the real juice. I’ve already done some lemon bars, and since I’ve never attempted curd, I did a little internet research. The recipe I used came from the Fine Cooking website, contributed by Elinor Klivans. It got pretty stellar reviews, including appreciation over the fact that this recipe does not require straining. This is because the eggs are beat thoroughly with the butter and sugar before being thrown in a hot pan, reducing the chance that any egg parts cook separately, creating unsightly chunks in your curd. This technique seemed to work great, as my curd turned out flawless on the first attempt! I had trouble canning it since I was more tempted to spoon it directly into my mouth. This tart curd can be used spread on scones or shortbread, or used as a cake filling. In my humble opinion, the recipe could also be jazzed up for special events: stir in some chopped mint or basil at the end with the lemon zest, maybe add some fresh or candied ginger, or layer with whipped cream in cups for a treat at tea time! I will keep you updated if I try any of these variations.
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. 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.
Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.