Lemon curd

If you have read any of my past posts, you will know that I love anything citrus based. Tart desserts are my favourite and I will always go for a citrus or berry dessert, rather than chocolate. I think my love of all things tart must come from my Nanna. I remember hearing tales of how, when she was a young girl,  she would get sent to the shop with the vinegar bottle to fill it up, and by the time she was home it was half empty because she had been drinking it on the way home!

So it will come as no surprise that lemon curd (or lemon butter) is a favourite of mine. Unfortunately, I find almost all of the lemon curd you can buy in shops tastes overly sweet and artificial, and doesn’t have that lovely tartness that I expect in lemon curd. So it is something that I much prefer to make myself. And with this recipe, it is easy to make at home.

I discovered this recipe a few years back when making Gary Mehigan’s Lemon Curd Mousse with Gingernut Crumble (a great dessert that I will have to make and post soon). This lemon curd  is actually made in the microwave (although you could do it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water if you prefer, however you need to stir it constantly if you cook it this way). It is a much quicker and easier than other recipes I have tried, and doesn’t need the constant stirring of the usual method. The end result is the best lemon curd I have ever made, beautifully tart with a wonderful creamy, glossy texture. The other thing I like about this recipe is that it specifies the volume of lemon juice you need. The amount of juice in lemons can vary so much, that I prefer having the volume specified in a recipe such as this where you are relying on the lemon as your main flavour. When I have tried other recipes, I  found I had to keep adding more, trying as I went, to get the right tart lemon flavour (not something I encourage you to do with raw eggs!). This recipe removes the trial and error  and I get the same result each time I make it.

Of course, if you prefer your lemon curd a bit sweeter, just add more sugar. That is the joy of making your own, you can make it just the way you like it.

Lemon curd

Lemon Curd

Makes approximately 250ml

Ingredients

  • 180ml lemon juice (approximately 3-4 lemons)
  • Finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 5 eggs (59g eggs) – lightly whisked/beaten to combine
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter – chopped into cubes

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl. Make sure you beat the eggs separately before adding to the other ingredients. It is difficult to beat them properly after they are added to the ingredients due to the butter cubes, and if it isn’t mixed well enough you do risk getting some white specks of cooked egg whites in the end product (don’t panic though if you do, you can always strain these out at the end).
  2. Cook in the microwave for 6-8 minutes on medium power, stirring regularly until the mixture thickens. I stir the mix every 20 – 30 seconds. It may seem like it is never going to thicken, however around the 7 minute mark you will find it suddenly thickens very quickly.
  3. If you find you do get a few specks of egg whites in the mix, just strain it through a sieve after it has finished cooking and has thickened to remove these. The rest of the curd will still be fine.
  4. Place in an airtight container or sterilised jars and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. To sterilise jars, wash them in warm soapy water, and then place in a low oven to dry.
  5. The lemon curd is great simply on bread or toast, but also makes a great filling for crepes (so good!), cakes, cupcakes and tarts.  I’m planning on taking some with me to my final pastry class this week to use in éclairs/profiteroles.

Lemon curd

Adapted from Gary Mehigan’s Comfort Food – Lemon Curd Mousse with Gingernut Crumble