Basic Lemon Curd

by on September 16, 2017
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Basic Lemon Curd

This works equally well with limes!

This works equally well with limes!

Gives new life to yesterday’s French Toast. Great as a desert pudding all by itself too!


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 dashes of salt
  • lemon zest and juice of 4 lemons ( 3/4 – 1 C )
  • 1/2 C ( 1 stick – 8 TBL ) butter ( 1/2 stick melted, and 1/2 stick cold )
  • 1 TBL corn starch in 1 TBL water
  • Scant vanilla at the very end

You will need a double boiler or a bowl which fits into a saucepan to make lemon curd. This restricts the temperature from never getting hotter than 212º – which is actually too hot for lemon curd, so you still need to be careful. 202º is the perfect temperature. This also reduces the risk for scorching. You CAN do it in a sauce pan alone, but your chances of failure increase greatly.

Fill a pan about 2 inches with water and bring to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Put a mixing bowl recessed into the top of the pan to create kind of a low-temperature wok. Cut your butter into pieces. You will be putting 2 TBL cold butter into the bowl. When the butter starts to melt, it is hot enough to proceed.


  1. Beat egg and yolks together completely and set aside
  2. Cream together sugar, salt and 4 TBL melted (not hot though) butter in a small bowl and set aside
  3. Start to heat double boiler
  4. Put 2 TBL cold butter into your double boiler
  5. Wash lemons.
    Info: Have the lemons (and the eggs) at room temperature. Roll the lemons firmly on a table as a preparation for extracting the maximum quantity of juice from them.
  6. Grate rind, leaving white pith
    Info: Using a citrus zester or a fine microplane grater, remove the yellow portion of the lemon rind, leaving behind the white pith (the white part under the rind which is bitter). Put the grated peel (also known as the zest) into the bowl with the butter
  7. Squeeze juice from lemons into a bowl (discard seeds)
  8. Add juice into the double boiler
  9. Put the remaining cold butter into your double boiler
  10. Add your sugar mixture into the double boiler and whisk
  11. Mix cornstarch with your egg mixture and whisk
  12. When butter has melted, temper the lemon mixture into your egg mixture
    Info: Use the whisk to stir up the egg mixture and while the mixture is moving rapidly, put spoon by spoon about half the lemon mixture into the eggs – stirring all the while.
  13. When half has been added, dump the egg mixture back into the double boiler, whisking continually
  14. Cook over double boiler until thickened ( 5-10 minutes )
    Info: Return the double boiler to medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly until the curd thickens and takes on a glossy sheen with the consistency of honey. Mixtures continues to thicken upon standing.
  15. Add vanilla as soon as it starts to thicken. Continue to cook until thickened.
  16. If you want to be totally safe, and lump free, strain the custard into the container used in the next step. If it looks lump free, just use it AS-IS because the lemon zest is a nice touch.
  17. Decant into bowls or dump into tart crust (see recipes at top of this page)
  18. Cool at least an hour before serving


  • Lemon curd is a Summer treat which isn’t difficult to prepare.
  • You can transfer the curd to a clean jar or store in the refrigerator, covered with wax paper.
  • Use the lemon curd to fill tarts, as a pie filling, or spread on crackers, toast or waffles.
  • You can also just serve this in a little bowl as a side dish.


Find more like this: Desserts, Part of another recipe

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