Tart and Sweet
- Servings: Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Despite having a name that suggests a whole other flavor and texture, lemon curd is a marvel of tang, sweetness and silky-smooth finish. It has the consistency of a soft pudding which makes it versatile as the base of a lemon meringue pie, the filling for a tart, or to spoon over a slice of pound cake or a warm scone. Its beautiful yellow color can make any dessert more appetizing.
- 4 large egg yolks, plus one whole large egg, all lightly beaten together
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained (from 3 to 4 lemons)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into Tablespoon-sized pieces
- 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- Strain the egg yolks and whole egg mixture through a sieve into a medium sauce pan. Make sure the pan is non-reactive because of the acidic nature of lemon juice.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice and whisk to combine.
- Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. This will take about 10 to 12 minutes. Don't rush this step by turning up the heat. Instead let the mixture take its time to thicken over a lower flame.
- Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl in which you will finish and then store the curd.
- Continuing to stir with the wooden spoon, add the butter, one piece at a time, until all the butter is fully incorporated.
- Stir in the lemon zest.
- Cover the surface of the finished curd with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the curd. This will prevent it from developing a skin.
- Once the curd has come to room temperature it can be used to fill a tart or spread between layers of a cake. If you're not going to use it immediately, refrigerate in its bowl with the plastic wrap still in place.
- The curd can also be transferred to an air-tight container and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Tip: Use a microplane zester to produce the lemon zest
Tip: In recipes that call for both lemon zest and lemon juice, wash the lemons, rinse and dry completely, and then remove the zest before cutting and juicing the lemons. It's easier to zest a lemon when it's still whole. Plus once it's cut it will be juicy, making it difficult to handle and producing wet zest.
Tip: If you want to make a larger quantity of lemon curd, just double these quantities and follow the same instructions.