Lemon Curd is a thick, soft and velvety creamy custard made from fresh fruit juice that has a wonderful tart yet sweet citrus flavor and thick smooth texture. It is almost like the custard as it is cooked on the stove and is thickened by eggs alone. It is used as a spread for scones, waffles, and toast like jam. Traditionally it was used as a spread for scones but today it is used in a wide variety of uses as a filling for layer cakes, tarts, pies, and cakes. Some cooks strain it, I do not.
What I like about Lemon Curd is that it does not use exotic ingredients; just eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and unsalted butter.Simple everyday ingredients. While lemon curd is the most familiar type. Curds can be made from any fruit juices, especially if they are a bit tart. Think Raspberry Curd, Grapefruit Curd, Rhubarb Curd. You can double or triple the amounts for gifts.Serving recommendations: This curd is amazing with almost anything. Mix some into yogurt. Fold it into whipped cream and top with berries. Spoon some over angel food cake or pound cake.
Fruit curds can be made from any fruit, not just lemons. Once you make the raspberry sauce, this can be made as quickly as the lemon. I have been collecting recipes over the years so when I want to make a curd, I can choose. Here is a collection of some of the best of the best.
My Lemon Curd (or Lime Curd)
Tart lemon curd is a perennial favorite as a filling in wedding cakes. I mix it in the food processor, which makes an immediate emulsion and cuts down on the vigorous stirring during the cooking. I love making all kinds of fruit curds and this is a classic recipe for lemon curd. Easy to follow, with simple, clear directions of the cooking process, timing etc. Worth the effort, this lemon curd is a classic. I like a very tart lemon curd so use the sourness of lemon that you prefer. I would make a larger batch of this as it makes great gifts and has so many uses. People love it.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
Strips of peel of 3 medium-large lemons, yellow part only,or zest of 5 limes
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large egg yolks
Melt the butter in the top of a large double boiler.
Place the sugar and strips of lemon peel in a food processor and process until the zest is very finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and eggs; process until a thick emulsion is formed, 20 seconds.
Pour the mixture into the hot butter, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook over simmering water on medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, a full 20 to 30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 180ºF. Pour into a glass jar and let cool on the counter before storing in the refrigerator overnight to firm before filling the cake layers. Makes 4 cups.
Fruit curds can be made from any fruit, not just lemons. Blackberries are a far underused fruit in my opinion. This curd recipe, which can be used with raspberries in place of the blackberries as well, makes a spectacular cake filling.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blackberries, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler. Drain the berries through a mesh sieve into a measuring cup, if using frozen; reserve the juice for another use.
Place the berries, lemon juice, sugar, and eggs in a food processor; process until a thick emulsion is formed, 20 seconds.
Pour the mixture into the hot butter, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook over simmering water on medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, a full 20 to 30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 180ºF. Pour into a glass jar and let cool on the counter before storing in the refrigerator overnight to firm before filling the cake layers. Makes 3 cups.
Grapefruit Vanilla Curd
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons grapefruit zest (grated on a rasp)
- Seeds scraped from 1/4 vanilla bean (optional)
- 3 large whole eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, from about half a large grapefruit
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1 large lemon (use Meyer lemon if you can)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- Pour one inch of water into a medium pot that accommodates your heat-proof glass bowl without letting it touch the water’s surface. Bring water to a simmer over medium heat.
In a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine the sugar, grapefruit zest, and vanilla seeds, and pulse or mash until well combined and very fragrant.
Combine the grapefruit sugar, eggs and egg yolks in the heatproof bowl. Whisk together for one minute to distribute the sugar. Place the bowl over the pot with simmering water and whisk constantly for about 30 seconds, or until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the grapefruit juice and lemon juice and cook, whisking frequently, until the curd reads 170° F and has the consistency of sour cream, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Whisk in the pieces of cold butter one by one until they are completely incorporated. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Serve as a condiment with scones or toast for breakfast, or spooned into tart shells for dessert. Will keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to two weeks, or frozen for several months.
Blood Orange Curd
- 2 blood oranges, zest and juice
- 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
- 9 tablespoons (125g) butter, cut into cubes
- 3 whole eggs, beaten
1. Place the orange zest and juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.) Stir the mixture until the butter has melted. Slowly whisk the eggs into the mixture until well combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly but slowly, until the curd has thickened and looks like custard (don’t let it boil, otherwise the mixture will curdle). This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes; the mixture should thicken slightly.
2. Strain the curd through a sieve into sterilized jars, and leave to cool completely, then store in the fridge. After a couple of hours, the curd should look like thick custard. You can keep it in the fridge for a few weeks.
Meyer Lemon Curd or Tangerine Curd
You can use the same recipe with regular mandarins or meyer lemons, but use a dash less sugar since they are sweeter and less acid.
6 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 1/2 pounds tangerines, juiced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
6 Tablespoons (2/3 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside close to the stovetop. In a medium, heavy saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the lemon juice and add the butter pieces. Place over medium heat and stir constantly (it’s best to switch to a heatproof spatula here to be able to scrape the sides and reach the edges of the pan). Continue cooking until the curd is thickened, about 6- 8 minutes. Scrape the curd immediately into the strainer set over the bowl. Push the curd through the strainer to remove any cooked egg or lumps. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the curd and refrigerate until cold, at least two hours. Transfer to an airtight container. The curd will keep refrigerated up to a week. Makes 2 ½ cups
One 10-ounce package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and undrained
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
1. Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler. Drain the raspberries through a mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Pressing with the back of a large spoon, add the raspberry pulp to equal 3/4 cup. Discard the seeds.
2. Place the sugar, the raspberry puree, and eggs in a food processor; process until a thick emulsion is formed, 20 seconds.
3. Pour the mixture into the hot butter, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook over simmering water on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour into a glass jar and let cool on the counter before storing in the refrigerator. Raspberry curd should be used within 3 weeks.
Raspberry Rose: Add 1/2 teaspoon rose water.
Passion Fruit Curd
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup +2 tablespoons (4.5 oz or 125 g) sugar
1/2 tablespoon corn starch or potato starch
1/2 cup (4 oz) passion fruit puree
2 tablespoons (1 oz) refined coconut oil
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a saucepan. Whisk well to combine. Cook, stirring constantly over medium-heat, until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (160 degrees Fahrenheit). Strain the mixture through the strainer into the bowl and stir in the oil. Place plastic wrap directly over the curd and refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Makes about 2 cups
10 ounces fresh rhubarb, leaves removed and discarded, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into small chunks
Chop rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and place in a small saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes until rhubarb is soft and you have a nice pink juice, which you are able to drinkn. Strain and let cool. Measure out 2/3 cup of juice for the curd. (Use the leftover pulp in yogurt or dry it into fruit leather. If you have any leftover juice, pour it into a drink!)
Whisk together or mix in the food processor 2/3 cup rhubarb juice, sugar, and eggs in a small saucepan. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the sides and bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, just watch for it to thicken and coat the back of the spoon.)
Remove from heat and stir in butter. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool.Cover and refrigerate at least an hour until firm.
Tropical Coconut and Mango Curd
“Look for Ratna or Swad brand canned sweetened mango puree in Asian markets,” writes Lori Longbotham. “The flavor of mango puree is better than that of many fresh mangoes, and because these brands are made with luscious Indian mangoes, the puree has no fibers and is perfectly smooth. You could substitute a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar for some of the granulated sugar in the recipe and the curd will taste great because of the caramel undertone. But if you use too much, it will change the color from a vibrant orange to a brownish orange.”
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
* 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
* 3/4 cup canned sweetened mango puree
* 1/2 cup sugar
* Large pinch of salt
* 6 large egg yolks
* 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the coconut and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the coconut is lightly toasted.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mango puree, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking frequently at first and constantly at the end, for 6 to 8 minutes, until thickened. Immediately pour the curd through a fine strainer set over a medium glass measure or bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
Whisk in the lime juice. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set, or for up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
7 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Prepare the curd: Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in pineapple and lemon juices. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk until thick, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter until smooth. Cover with plastic, pressing wrap directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate curd 1 hour (up to overnight).
The age-old spread for toasted English muffins, waffles, and fresh scones is this thick jam made with eggs and citrus. Heat the whole lime in the microwave for 30 seconds to get more juice when squeezing.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 dried apricot halves, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes and drained
2/3 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
Grated zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 lime
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
Melt the butter in the top section of a double boiler. In a blender or food processor, purée the apricots with the orange juice concentrate. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined. With the water at a simmer, slowly add the apricot-egg mixture to the butter, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, a full 10 minutes. Pour into a jar and let cool slightly before storing in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 weeks.Yield: About 2 cups.
The bergamont is a sour orange. it is the elusive flavor in Earl Grey Tea and grown in California.
- 9 ounces bergamont orange, zest and juice
- 2 tablespooon fine zest
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2sticks) butter, cut into cubes
- 6 whole eggs, beaten
Melt the butter in the top of a large double boiler.
Place the sugar and strips of lemon peel in a food processor and process until the zest is very finely chopped. Add the orange juice and eggs; process until a thick emulsion is formed, 20 seconds.
Pour the mixture into the hot butter, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook over simmering water on medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, a full 20 to 30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 180ºF. Pour into a glass jar and let cool on the counter before storing in the refrigerator overnight to firm before filling the cake layers.This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes; the mixture should thicken slightly.
2. Strain the curd through a sieve into sterilized jars, and leave to cool completely, then store in the fridge. After a couple of hours, the curd should look like thick custard. You can keep it in the fridge for a few weeks.Makes about 3 cups.
Text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017. Recipes from The Best Quick Breads, Marlene Sorosky, Weldon Owen, Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Bread by Beth Hensperger,Washington Post, Cooking Light, Melissa Clark
Please enjoy the recipes and make them your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.