With only four ingredients, Classic English Lemon Curd is smooth and silky with a tangy and tart flavor that overwhelms your senses. It’s perfect for topping biscuits (a.k.a. cookies), scones, yogurt, ice cream, cheesecake, cupcakes, and so much more! In addition, it’s luscious on its own. What’s even better is that it takes less than minutes to make!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make: Making lemon curd is a simple process requiring only a few simple steps that take no time at all.
- Versatile: Once you’ve made this lemon curd, you can use it in a number of different ways. Use it as a topping, spread, or filling in various dishes, like toast, scones, pancakes, cakes, tarts, and even yogurt or ice cream.
- Thoughtful gifts: Lemon curd can be a thoughtful, homemade gift for friends, family, or coworkers. Package it in a decorative jar, and you have a unique, personalized present that your recipients will treasure.
- Long-lasting: When properly stored in an airtight container, lemon curd can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, making it a convenient option for meal planning and last-minute desserts.
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
Four simple ingredients for an amazing Lemon Curd!
- Sugar: I used granulated sugar for sweetness and to complement the tartness of the lemon.
- Eggs: For structure and thickness, I used large eggs.
- Lemons: You can’t have lemon curd without lemons. I used fresh lemons that provided both lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Unsalted Butter: For richness and creaminess, I used unsalted butter.
Making Classic English Lemon Curd is super simple using the following steps.
- First, I whisked the sugar, eggs, and lemon zest together in a stainless steel saucepan.
- Next, I added the fresh lemon juice and whisked the ingredients together until they were well combined.
- After that, I added the unsalted butter that I had cut into small cubes and whisked the mixture constantly over medium heat until it thickened. This took about six minutes.
I continued whisking the mixture for several more minutes until it started to bubble before removing the pan from the heat.
- Once the lemon curd was thick and bubbly, I poured it into a wire mesh strainer set over a measuring cup.
- Then, I used a rubber spatula to help push the lemon curd through the strainer. In my opinion, this is a critical step in producing velvety smooth lemon curd. The reason is that the strainer stops bits of egg and lemon zest from being combined with the final lemon curd.
- Finally, I pressed a piece of plastic wrap onto the lemon curd and put it in the refrigerator to cool completely. The plastic wrap prevents a film from forming on the top of the lemon curd.
I ended up with about 1-⅓ cups of velvety smooth and amazingly tasty Classic English Lemon Curd. The Master Taste totally approved of it as he spread it on his English biscuits. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
While it’s possible to use bottled lemon juice, fresh lemon juice is highly recommended for the best flavor and quality. Bottled lemon juice can contain preservatives that may affect the taste. Also, the lemon zest from a fresh lemon adds to the overall lemon taste of this lemon curd.
Making lemon curd is somewhat like making custard in that the egg is the main ingredient for the thickening. If the lemon curd doesn’t thicken properly, you probably didn’t cook the mixture long enough. Once the mixture begins to thicken, you should continue cooking it for several more minutes until it begins to bubble.
Lemon curd is done when it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and hold a line drawn through it with your finger. Keep in mind that the lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
A metallic taste can occur if the lemon curd comes into contact with reactive metal surfaces, such as aluminum or unlined copper. To avoid this, use non-reactive cookware and utensils, like stainless steel, glass, or silicone.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- The first time I made lemon curd, it didn’t thicken properly. The reason was that I didn’t cook it long enough. Next time, and all times since then, I’ve made sure that the lemon curd is cooked long enough to reach the desired level of thickness.
- Zest the lemons before juicing them. It’s much easier to zest a whole lemon than a squeezed one. Be careful not to include the white pith, as it can make your curd taste bitter.
- I like to strain the lemon juice through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any seeds or pulp before adding it to your curd mixture.
- It’s important to continuously whisk the lemon curd mixture while it cooks to prevent lumps and ensure a smooth, silky texture.
- Inevitably bits of egg white cook into the lemon curd mixture. Therefore, I always strain the lemon curd when it has properly thickened. I’m always amazed at the unwanted bits that remain in the strainer.
Once you have made this Classic Lemon Curd, you should try the following recipes using it:
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Classic English Lemon Curd
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces, 100 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) fresh lemon juice, 2 ½ to 3 lemons depending on size
- 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces, 85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Whisk together sugar, lemon zest, and eggs in a non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel, enameled, glass). Add lemon juice; whisk to combine. Add butter pieces.
- Place pan over medium heat. Whisk mixture constantly, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Continue whisking constantly for several more minutes, until bubbly.
- Remove from heat. Pour lemon curd into a wire mesh strainer set over a bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula or spoon to force lemon curd through the strainer. Discard any bits left behind in the strainer.
- Press piece of plastic wrap on top of lemon curd; refrigerate for at least one hour to cool completely.
- Yield: 1-⅓ to 1-½ cups.