Mmmm fresh homemade lemon curd
As a kid, my favorite dessert that my grandmother (we cousins all called her Doe) made was lemon bars. She was an atrocious cook, but a pretty good baker. So, whenever I eat lemon bars, or lemon curd, it reminds me of her.
Unfortunately I never got her recipe, never saw her make them, and it seems no one else in the family did either. So, you can imagine I was thrilled, when I saw Gale Gand do an episode on her Food Network show ‘Sweet Dreams’ on a super simple lemon curd recipe. Often curds require a ton of egg yolks and seem much more complicated, but this recipe couldn’t be simpler, and it always comes out delicious. This recipe is based on hers, but Meyer lemons are really the key. I’ve been making it for years, once with limes and it was good, but the Meyer lemons are ecstasy.
This is the third of our entries for the 2010 Lemon Love Fest at WineImbiber.com Check out their growing collection of delish Meyer Lemon recipes.
Or maybe they are grinning mischievous tree sprites. Even after being squished in a juicer this one retains it’s cheeky character.
The skin is so delicious and chock full of essential oils, I use the zest where ever I can. Since this recipe calls for zest, I strongly recommend organic or unsprayed lemons. You don’t want those chemicals in your food, do you? This is so quick and simple to make, I often throw a batch or two together at the holidays (when citrus is at it’s peak) for foodie gifts.
We cleaned out this jar that had preserved quince, and the ever talented Marc, cut the lemon to make a face with cloves for eyes, photographed it and made labels, for a more presentable gift.
Reuse some pretty jam jars, throw a ribbon on it, and you’ve got yourself the perfect hostess gift. The entire process takes less than 20 minutes from zesting to pouring. It’s heavenly by the spoonful, but if you have more self control than that, spread it between layers of cooked puff pastry, or make a lemon tart, or just spread it on your morning toast. With fresh whipped cream folded in, all manner of decadence could be achieved. I like a clear strong lemon flavor in my lemon desserts, so this recipe reflects that. Feel free to adjust it to your taste. As usual, please use as many sustainable/local/seasonal/organic ingredients as you can.
Lemony Meyer Lemon Curd
3 Meyer lemons
3/4 C. organic evaporated sugar cane juice (an unbleached granulated sugar with a blond color that still has the natural minerals and enzymes from the sugar cane. Great stuff if you haven’t tried it yet. Tastes delicious.)
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 C.), cut into 6 pieces
Finely grate zest from lemons, and squeeze enough juice for 1/2 cup (my meyer lemons were so juicy, I only needed 2 1/2 lemons to get 1/2 cup juice.
Whisk juice, zest, sugar and eggs in double boiler (can just set a bowl over saucepan with an inch or two of simmering water in it). Once the eggs are well incorporated, and the sugar has dissolved, add butter, and continue whisking over the simmering water about 10 minutes. It will become opaque, lighter in color and thickened quite a bit, but still pourable. Since this recipe calls for both the white and yolk of the egg, there will be little bits of cooked white. While it’s still hot, carefully pour the lemon curd through a fine strainer/sieve. This step is also why you don’t need to be too careful about the lemon seeds. You’ll have about 16 oz. of silky decadent curd that fits neatly into two 8 oz. jars. One for you, and one for a friend.
(Edit) I forgot to mention this earlier, Marc’s grinning lemon label was inspired by “Play with Your Food” by Joost Elffers
63 thoughts on “Lemony Meyer Lemon Curd”
That is just too pretty! There is a hint of blue in the reflection of the jar too– I love the color combo of blue and yellow (even if it was inadvertent). Marc is awesome.
There’s no readily available lemon curd in the Philippines, I’m sure many here would find it weird to put on toast. We prefer condensed milk :p
I’ve found the food blogging crowd to be so gift-oriented, I actually took a lesson in label making from a friend.
But I never would have thought of that cheeky lemon face!
(The squished one reminds me of Mickey Rooney. Why?)
Thanks for your recipe. My Meyers are just now yellow, but I want to give them a little more time on the tree.
That container is so cute!! And this gives me a great idea for Christmas pressies this year 😀
Ohh … I *love* this! Especially that face, such a brilliant idea 🙂
Manggy – Thanks! I asked Marc if he had added the blue in Photoshop (since he so often does stuff like that for effect), or if it was just the reflection of the sky. He said it was the sky. I think you should try it out. It’s delicious on crepes too. Yes, sweetened condensed milk is awesome too. Great to see you!
CookieCrumb – Thank you! Presentation is almost as importance as taste. Mickey Rooney, huh? I don’t quite see it, but I’ll have to look him up again to have a clear picture of his face. How great that you have a Meyer lemon tree. We have a tiny one that’s only about 3 years old, in a pot, and (not a surprise since we live about 40 miles from each other) ours are yellow too, but not quite ready. I’ve been getting some from the farmers market to hold me over.
Ellie – Thanks! Really, if you just find some cute jars, and make up some fun labels, you could make a few batches of lemon curd and have all your Christmas gifts taken care of for under 20 bucks, and freshly made with your two hands.
KayKat – Thanks so much! Really, it tastes as good as it is cute. That isn’t always the case these days.
I want to try this recipe! Alas, we have no Meyer lemons here (just regular lemons) and I’m not too sure if I can find the sugarcane juice, either. Can I use regular lemons (and how many)? As for the sugarcane juice, how does one produce a decent substitute with ordinary sugar?
Thanks for sharing this recipe â€” love the label. I’ve also encountered Joost Elffers and loved his food videos. 🙂
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P.S. Your blog and pictures are just beautiful!
Ooh! I like the little container, Bri 🙂 …and that 2nd pic- how did ya do that?!
What a beautiful gift, Bri. You and Marc are both so talented. I love the labels! And that second picture made me smile. 🙂
Oh, how I love lemon curd. Those labels are great. What lucky friends you have!
That is SO freakin’ adorable!
I got yer Rooney images right here:
My Meyer tree was also in a pot for three years, and it was hit or miss. It’s been in the ground for seven months now, and it’s happy. 😀
I am in love with your label. That is absolutely adorable!
I have one question though, I usually make my own curd and just keep it in the fridge in an old jam jar, as that works fine for me, but when you give it as a gift, do you can it or seal the jar off in any special way? Or do you just keep it refrigerated?
Mij – Thanks! Well, Meyer lemons really are there one thing, but I have some ideas. Of course you just use standard Eureka lemons, but you may want to increase the sweetening. Another thought, since you want 1/2 cup of juice, maybe you could substitute a couple tablespoons of fresh orange or tangerine juice. That way there would be all the wonderful citrus flavor, with a little less acidity. Just an idea. Let me know if you try it out. As for the sweetening, if you have a health food store anywhere nearby, organic evaporated cane juice would be easy to find. If not, a lot of ethic markets sell little cones of compact unrefined sugar (sometimes sugar cane, sometimes palm sugar). So that could work. Otherwise, just use plain old sugar. It’s just that it’s had all it’s goodness processed and bleached out of it. I’d love to know how it turns out for you.
TBC – Thanks so much! Marc had made the little face in the lemon with cloves for eyes, and carved out the mouth with a knife. Then when we juiced it, our juicer kind of turns it inside out and it looked even sillier than it did when he carved it. Marc was so tickled by it, we decided to take a picture.
Cassie – Thank you. I’m so glad to give you a smile. It made us smile, so I’m glad we could share. Our friends loved it, enjoyed the packaging and raved about the curd. Thanks for stopping by.
Tammy – Me too! Even when lemons aren’t in season, I can’t really bring myself to buy lemon curd, since I keep thinking, “well, I could just make it.” Funny. Thanks, I’m lucky to have great friends too.
Ms. Mantooth – That’s quite a name. Thanks! We thought so too. 🙂
CookieCrumb – Yes! I see it! Thanks for enlightening me 😉
Ever since my mother in law has been loving our meyer lemon tree up with tons of fresh compost and showing me how to keep the scale off, our potted tree has become quite happy, producing plump lemons. Glad yours is happy in the ground. I can’t wait to have a nice spot to let ours really set down roots. Thanks for coming back.
Muffin – Thanks! I was really proud of what Marc did with the label. Yes, that’s what I did as well. I just told my friend it would probably keep for a week or two, so eat it up quick. I should really learn proper canning techniques, but I haven’t. One of these days. That really would be the best thing to do, but for now, old jam jars and a short time in the fridge, it is. 🙂
yummmmmmmmm! and i see that you have included the special ingredient on your labels. nice touch!
and i think gale gand should be an iron pastry chef.
thanks for the post!
Gigi – Hey, thanks for your comment. You are the only one who mentioned the special ingredient. Can’t do anything with that, otherwise, why do it?
You are SOOOO right about Gale Gand. For one thing there should TOTALLY be an Iron Pastry Chef! And for another thing…it should be her! I’m truly addicted to Iron Chef America. Oh, but wait, maybe she’d have to duke it out with Jacques Torres for Iron Pastry Chef. What an excruciating choice. Hmmm… Great to see you!
Thank you for this!!!!!!!! I love lemon curd beyond reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love Lemon Curd.
I love that face too.
I love lemon curd but I doubt I’ll be able to find Meyer lemons 🙁 But I love the little face you made even more!! Very unique.
Brie – You are very welcome. I too love lemon curd, but I suppose for you it is practically the law to be in the UK and love lemon curd. 🙂 Great to see you!
Graeme – Thanks! The face really was the kicker, huh? Thanks for your comment. 🙂
Ms. Sara – True, you probably won’t find Meyer lemons, but I’ve heard Mario Batali wax poetic about Sorrento lemons. Maybe you could find yourself a few of those to play around with. From my research, they may be more acidic, so you might need more sweetening. Glad you enjoyed the face. Thanks for stopping by.
Oh, Bri… If I lived in your neighborhood I would forget all the good manners my mom made sure I learned as a kid and would knock on your door, begging for a jar of this…
I’ve always wanted to make lemon curd. I like the idea of blending some with whipped cream—yum!
Patricia – It would be a pleasure if you dropped by, and your mom would be content knowing you were well fed with friends. Only catch is, you’d have to bring some of that butternut squash compote. Yum!
JEP – Great to “see” you. Well, now you know that lemon curd is incredibly easy to make, as well as super tasty. And of course, you can’t go wrong with adding some whipping cream.
a warning about canning lemon curd!
I tried this a couple of years ago and the heat process of canning reacted with the eggs so I got something more like,solid lemon custard in a jar. Plus, it expanded drastically so the seal didn’t take well. I think yr better off just eating it up quick!
Kayaitch – Thanks for your hints about canning lemon curd. It doesn’t surprise me that it would change the texture. I’d rather stick with putting it in a jar and hoping they eat it fast.
Oh, I love the playful labels! I’ve always wanted to made lemon curd but never have. With the beautiful lemons available at the farmers’ market, what’s my excuse now?
Susan – Thanks! Seriously, no excuse. Lemons are abundant, and in less than half an hour, you’ll have the silkiest lemon treat imaginable. Yum. It’s been a while now, I should make more.
Bri – beautiful, beautiful all around! I just love the smiley lemon remains and the label design, too — what a treat it would be to receive a gift like that! Meyer lemons are such a treat; besides all the lemony desserts that benefit from them, I think a simple lemon vinaigrette is a thing of beauty when made with Meyer lemons. Love your blog!
Amy – Thanks! Meyer lemons ARE such a treat. We are lucky enough to have a little tree. So true about meyer lemon vinaigrette. Thanks so much for your comment!
i love your label.
What if you turned the jars upside down for 30 minutes to seal it like you do with jelly? Would that work for canning lemon curd?
i adore this!! i will post it shortly on my wedding/party idea blog- with you receiving proper credit of course. i only wish i could buy one of these jars from you!!! adorable!
Your lemon curd is fabulous. My canning friends and I have made it numerous times. I love your label. You should provide templates for people to download and print a charge (similar to the blondedesign blog). They have a download link provided for their cocoa labels.
Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Hi Paurvi, I’m glad you are enjoying the lemon curd. It is a foolproof recipe and the meyer lemons really make the difference. Good idea about the labels. I will think about that.
So glad I found your site! Yesterday I made a Gale Gand recipe using lemon curd – frozen lemon mousse cones. You just add whipped cream to the lemon curd, fold in and then freeze. She used paper cone cups but I’ve made it a few times using regular flat paper cups and also in a larger mold or loaf pan. Yesterday’s batch was due to a friend’s request for her birthday party. When she’d had it at a party I gave she said it was the best thing she’d ever tasted. I used a tube springform pan this time and filled the hollow with fresh raspberries. I then used frozen raspberries that I defrosted and pureed – added a little sugar and Chambord – and then drizzled it on the lemon mold with a squirt bottle. YUM!
I was trying to figure out how to make just the lemon curd and jar it when I found your site. Will try Meyer lemons next – I think Trader Joe’s carries them. Your jar is beautiful!!!
Does anyone know where the name CURD comes from? It turns off a lot of people and so far I don’t have a good explanation for it. I thought it might be because when you add eggs to hot liquid it would curdle (unless done properly) and that might be the origin. Any ideas?
I followed this recipe exactly, except I used salted butter, because it’s all I had. The result is delicious, but I am disappointed that it’s not the warm yellow shown in your photos. The evaporated sugar cane juice that I bought at Whole Foods is tan and turned even darker when wet, so the curd looks more like butterscotch pudding. Does the darkness of this sugar vary from brand to brand? I’m thinking of maybe using half refined sugar next time to get a prettier color for gifts.
In any case, thanks for this simple, delicious recipe! I posted the link on Facebook.
Peg: The frozen mousse cones sound fantastic! I had been wanting to mix the lemon curd with whipped cream for cake frosting, but I hadn’t thought of freezing it. You just have to try the curd with Meyer lemons. They are so much better. Make sure to get some nice ripe and juicy ones and use the zest…the essential oils in the zest make a big difference in the flavor and aroma. If you use old, slightly dried out lemons it won’t be the same.
Ann: I’m glad you are giving lemon curd as gifts. It is always nice to receive something that is homemade.
Regarding the color, it could be the brand of sugar you used, some look more like brown sugar and some look lighter. Egg yolks vary in color as well. If you omitted the zest, it will look less yellow too. When you are using natural ingredients, you can expect some variation from batch to batch. Nature isn’t very standardized : )
I think you won’t have any complaints from the people you give it to though. Once they taste it, they will be hooked! This has become one of my favorite recipes and I love introducing people to the Meyer lemon variation.
Marc – Meyer lemons are a bit hard to come by in Tucson – although I have found them. I’m trying to find out if I can grow a Meyer lemon tree as I lost my lemon tree to old age a couple years ago.
Joan – I found the following in Wikipedia. The reference to lemon curd is at the end.
Curds is a dairy product obtained by curdling (coagulating) milk with rennet or an edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar and then draining off the liquid portion (called whey). Milk that has been left to sour (raw milk alone or pasteurized milk with added lactic acid bacteria or yeast) will also naturally produce curds, and sour milk cheese is produced this way. The increased acidity causes the milk proteins (casein) to tangle into solid masses, or curds. The rest, which contains only whey proteins, is the whey. In cow’s milk, 80% of the proteins are caseins. Curd products vary by region and include cottage cheese, quark (both curdled by bacteria and sometimes also rennet) and paneer (curdled with lemon juice). The word can also refer to a non-dairy substance of similar appearance or consistency, though in these cases a modifier or the word curdled is generally used (e.g., bean curds, lemon curd, or curdled eggs).
Thank you. I kind of figured that it was something to do with curdling. If you have ever added eggs to a warm mixture especially with citrus in it, it is likely to curdle. (unless you add the warm liquid to the eggs first) But I appreciate that you took the time to look it up.
What a great recipe! And Marc definitely has mad photography skillz – that label is adorable!
For those who can’t find or aren’t pleased with the organic evaporated cane juice – I used Florida Crystals Organic Sugar, which is also a less refined product, grown and manufactured sustainably. It’s a pale brown color and does have some molasses content, but does not seem to affect the color of the finished product. The eggs also have a lot to do with the color of the product, and should be very fresh. And Bri is right – a generous portion of love is absolutely necessary for a good result 😉
Canning this would be a bit iffy, with the eggs and butter. Meyer lemons aren’t as acidic as Eurekas, and the resulting product might not be safe for canning. Acidity is what kills botulism, so it needs to be highly acidic to be safe even for water bath canning. The National Center for Food Safety has a canned lemon curd recipe http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/nchfp/factsheets/lemon_curd.pdf, but they make a point of using bottled lemon juice, as it has a known amount of acidity.
Loved the recipe. I would love to make a customized label for my foodstuffs, particularly marmalade. However, I’m pretty computer illiterate. What program did Marc use to make yours? Thanks for the info.
Ellen ~ Marc works almost exclusively in CorelDraw & Photoshop. If computer’s are a challenge for you, you could look on-line for pre-made labels for your marmalades. I’ve done that in the past….though I always use up my favorite patterns, first! There also may be pre-designed labels that will work on Avery-type inkjet or laser labels. Look around to see what you can find. I know it’s not the same as having your “own”….
I was making some candied lemons from another recipe and found this website and the recipe for candied lemons. Sometimes I like to check other recipes for the same thing to sort of verify the recipe and make sure there are no glaring typos!
Bri’s smile reminds me of my own sister Rene who passed away 5 years ago from cancer – and Rene loved to cook too!
I am going to try the lemon curd recipe as I have been looking for one that calls for a few less eggs – and this one looks perfect.
Sharrie ~ Glad you found us! Since we’re in the height of lemon season, I was thinking of candying lemons again, too. Just made Meyer Lemon Marmalade tonight and will be writing a post this week. Marc says this Lemon Curd is awesome! Definitely give it a go.
Yeah, it’s good to remember the smiles and sweetness of your sister & our Brizy…FULL of life, even if their lives were shorter than we wished.
I have successfully heat-canned lemon curd. It changes the character slightly but not as drastically as described above. I do use a recipe with two yolks and two whole eggs, but I doubt if this would matter much. I follow the above-referenced Home Food Preservation recipe (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/nchfp/factsheets/lemon_curd.pdf). But I want to use my own lemons, which are Meyers but still pretty acidy. I just check the pH of the final curd (sample diluted with a bit of water) to make sure the curd is below the botulism pH point. That is 4.6, so since I’m measuring with pH strips not a pH meter, I make sure it’s solidly at 4 or below. See this link for the science behind all that.
I am a biomedical engineer and worked in pharmaceutical manufacturing for many years, so my confidence is pretty high with such things. Don’t get cavalier and kill yourself. But there’s no reason not to use your own lovely lemons to make a canned lemon curd if you can get a decent pH reading on it.
@Maatisak I would absolutely not try any of our grandmothers’ fast canning methods used in the past on jellies and jams: like inverting jars, filling boiling jellies into boiled jars and then capping them. These methods can work on jams and jellies because they have so much sugar and acid that you barely need to refrigerate them after opening. In the case of lemon curd, the egg makes me a bit nervous.
Thanks for sharing your expertise Adrian!
how long will this keep? Can it be frozen or just refrigerated?
Hi Cirilean ~ Asked Marc, who’s made this Lemon Curd (I haven’t) about his thoughts on freezing it. We both think not, since it’s a custard base. The silky texture would probably be ruined. Refrigeration is fine. My guess is it would keep max a week due to the eggs in the recipe. Do a little more research on the longevity of fresh custards for some hints. Thanks for coming by.
Hi Cirilean, I have not frozen lemon curd because I always devour it too quickly to worry about long term storage. I have read that it freezes well, but you may want to press some plastic wrap down over the surface, so you don’t get any ice crystals forming that will affect the texture. I assume that defrosting it in the refrigerator for 24 hours would be the safest method.
Generally, lemon curd lasts about a week to 10 days. I would suggest that you use the freshest eggs possible. That seems to be the limiting factor.
My vote would be to avoid the whole preservation question entirely. The recipe is really super easy and delicious. I recommend just making a fresh batch when you want some, especially when Meyer lemons are in season.
Just wondering if it comes out a bit runny if its ok to eat?
My sense is YES…it would still be okay to eat. You’ll just have to use it more like a sauce than a spread. Cooking’s chemistry and if proportions (ie. liquid ratios, egg size, temperature, air humidity, etc.) aren’t quite ideal then our results can sometimes be a bit ‘off.’ But that doesn’t mean it’s inedible!! Use it as a sauce and enjoy EVERY bite. Do come back and tell us what you think.
where can I find the sugar called for in the recipe, never heard of it a
and can I use regular sugar if I cant find it ?
Yummy, Yummy! I love this lemon curd! I use to make it when helping my Mom, (25 years ago!). Now my daughter makes for me! Lucky dad.
Hi Kay ~ Yes, you may use regular sugar. If you have a good health food store in your area, ask them for ‘raw’ sugar or ‘organic’ sugar….that will be a lot closer to the sugar Bri used in her recipe. It’s less refined, still has some of the minerals in it that are good for us, plus buying these products are better for the farmers & the earth….principles that mattered a lot to Bri. Enjoy making and savoring your Lemon Curd! Thanks for stopping by.
See, even a die-hard raw food fellow has memories and appreciation for something cooked now-and-then. Don’t we all!
Good news! You can freeze lemon curd, put it in smaller containers to freeze. Pull out the day before and leave in the fridge to defrost.
Also try key lime curd!
If you do orange curd you need to decrease the sugar as they have more sugar to them.