Anything that has the word curd in its name is fighting an uphill battle. Just the word curd evokes images of rotten milk and bad cheese. Tell someone you made them a jar of curd and they will probably widen their eyes and politely refuse the gift. This will be before they taste the delicacy know by the worst name ever … Lemon Curd.
This spread is rich and lovely when spread atop a fresh scone or muffin. It is fragrant beyond belief and you’d think you were eating the pure, sweet insides of a lemon from Candyland. Tangy, sweet, aromatic, and nothing resembling a curd in sight. Therefore, given the difficulties presented with the name, I am giving you permission to call this heavenly concoction a lemon spread, a lemon glaze, a lemon anything-other-than-curd.
I had never had lemon curd until I decided to make it as part of a thank-you gift (scones, lemon curd and tea … something of a British afternoon themed gift). Everyday Food made it look so painfully simple that I couldn’t image it turning out poorly. Lemons. Egg yolks. Sugar. Butter. How can that be bad? Oh, and people let me tell you … it’s not. In fact, it’s so addicting that I was glad to be giving it away as a gift. If not, I may have started to brush my teeth with it. So. Delicious.
My one word of caution when making this recipe is to be extremely careful when you are whisking the mixture over the stove. Keep the temperature low and only keep it over the heat as long as necessary to get the right consistency. A moment too long and you will end up with little specs of browned butter in your lemon curd and nobody wants that. This simple yet impressive spread is utter perfection with fresh almond scones. Give it a try. Don’t call it a curd. Spread it on a scone. Go for it. No one is watching. You can thank me later.
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- In a medium saucepan, off of the heat, whisk together the sugar, zest and egg yolks.
- Add lemon juice and salt. Whisk until combined.
- Add the pieces of butter and place the saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Continue whisking until all the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth, approximately 4-5 minutes. Small bubbles will begin to appear around the edge of the pan and the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Don't worry if it is still a bit runny, it will firm up in the fridge. Be careful not to boil or burn the mixture.
- Remove from heat and continue whisking.
- Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bowl, removing any lumps or remaining pieces of zest.
- Press plastic wrap against the surface of the curd and wrap thoroughly. Refrigerate until cool, at least an hour. Curd will firm up while refrigerating.
- Store in a refrigerated airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Adapted from Everyday Food's Lemon Curd