I’m feeling a little on edge today, quite literally. We’re teetering on the brink of spring (cloudy, windy, 68 degrees, and I can’t stop sneezing!). My deadline for cookbook production is coming right up. The suspense of closure is getting to me, and I spend too much time daydreaming how I’m going to use my newfound free time.
I think I’ll go to India for a month to become certified in yoga. Just putting that out into the universe.
This lemon curd is perfect for this moment in time, as citrus is still in season and bright colors start popping up around us. In fact, it’s the very same shade of yellow as the daffodils I picked up from Trader Joe’s and the forsythia blooming along the fences in my neighborhood.
The curd is tart, but sweet, with extra flavor since it’s sweetened with honey instead of plain sugar. It’s a seasonal treat that stores well in the freezer for later, in case you want to bottle it up and savor it over the next couple of months.
This curd is both simple and fun to make, with no straining required thanks to the preparation and cooking method. It goes through several distinct phases on its way to becoming so utterly creamy. I can imagine that it would be fun to make with kids around to watch as the lumpy, curdled-looking mixture slowly smooths into luxurious gold liquid, and finally, right at the brink of boiling—it condenses into the most perfect curd you’ve ever seen. Just like magic.
Uses for lemon curd:
- Spread onto shortbread, sugar cookies, graham crackers (shown) or ginger/molasses cookies.
- Top quick bread, gingerbread, pound cake, olive oil cake, cupcakes, scones, pancakes or muffins.
- Swirl into yogurt (or add a layer to parfaits), dollop onto ice cream or mix into vanilla frosting
- Use as filling for tarts or sandwich cookies.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into ½” cubes
- ⅓ cup honey
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (from around 4 large or 8 small lemons)
- In a medium bowl, combine the cubed butter and honey. Starting on a low speed and working up to higher speeds, cream the mixture until fluffy. I used a handheld mixer for this.
- While beating the mixture, slowly add the egg yolks and eggs. Then, add the zest and lemon juice to the bowl and blend again. It will look curdled at this point, but don't worry!
- Pour the mixture into a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel or enameled cast iron should work great). Cook over medium-low heat while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon (it’s important to stir constantly throughout the cooking process, which will take somewhere between 10 to 20 minutes).
- Once the mixture starts looking smooth and shiny, slowly increase the heat to medium. Continue cooking until the mixture has thickened and your spoon meets resistance as you stir, which happens right at the brink of boiling. Once the mixture is trying to boil, cook for about 15 more seconds while stirring constantly, then remove from heat. The curd will thicken up more as it cools.
- Let the curd cool before transferring it to an airtight container and screwing on a lid. Store in the refrigerator for about 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. The curd doesn't freeze solid, so you can scoop out as much as you want right from the freezer!
Why buy organic? It's generally ok to use non-organic citrus as long as you're just using the fruit or juice. Since the outsides of the fruit are often treated with chemicals, it's best to stick with organic when using the zest. I also recommend using high quality local and/or organic eggs, for the best flavor and nutrition profile.
Make it dairy free/paleo: I'm pretty sure you can use coconut oil in place of the butter here. I'm not sure that it matters whether the coconut oil is melted or solid when you measure and whip it. Please let me know if you give it a try!
Change it up: You can use any variety of citrus you enjoy here, as long as you can get enough juice and zest out of them. I have enjoyed Meyer lemon curd and blood orange curd. Lime or key lime would be great, too, I'm sure.
What to do with leftover egg whites: You could make scrambled eggs or an omelet (I like to add at least one whole egg for best flavor) or use three of the egg whites for these amazing macaroons.