Lemon Curd

Serves: Makes ~2 jars
Cost: ~€2
Preparation time: ~40 minutes
Calories: ~51 per tbsp of 15g

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, so the saying goes. Well – “life” didn’t give me lemons, the market did (and it was more a case of “giving” in exchange for money), and I’m not making lemonade, I’m making lemon curd, but I prefer that anyway! Before I launch into that though I’m going to show you a bit of what I did last weekend. The weather is great, spring is here and it’s time to start decorating the balcony. I have a gooseberry bush which I bought some years ago which has been been on the balcony through frost and snow! I never thought it would make it this far – I tend to have rather bad luck with plants but it’s a hardy thing and now that it’s got a bigger pot I’m hoping for a small crop of gooseberries this year, as I had two years ago. We bought some small herb plants – sage, rosemary and thyme (just missing the parsley for a Simon and Garfunkel sing-along!). Previously we’ve bought coriander and basil but the coriander seems to go to seed before I have a chance to use enough every year, and the basil I always use too fast! We normally like to buy seedlings of vegetable plants, but this year we even thought we’d give a try at growing some things from seed, so we got some red spring onions and beetroot which we’re going to try and grow – I’ll keep you updated on the progress of those!

Seed pots

All this is for the kitchen balcony – for the bedroom balcony we have some more floral plants. Some pretty, delicate plants with small flowers in white and purple which look a little like violets or pansies… their name was beginning with “Cor…” something, I forget now, alas :(. I’ll post some photos of those once they’ve developed a little more, and in addition to these I made up some boxes with geraniums which add a lovely splash of green and pink. Living without a garden one needs to be rather more experimental and inventive – growing things, or trying to at least which might not always grow in pots. I managed to grow a number of aubergines and cherry tomatoes last year in very shallow pots – this year I’m going to try and grow some potatoes in a pot!

Geraniums

Anyway, enough plants for now – on to today’s recipe! I’ve always adored lemon curd, which incidentally, is sometimes called lemon cheese! For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a delicious, glossy, lemony spread, with the consistency of quite soft butter. It was a common sight on English tea tables in the late 19th and early 20th century, though at this point usually made in small quantities. These days it can be made in larger quantities without worrying about conservation thanks to the wonderful invention of refrigerators and doesn’t even have to be limited to lemons. Other citrus fruit can be used or even apricots, peaches and so forth.

Lemon Curd

Curd can be made very cheaply – two good jars can be cooked up for the price of one of these small “gourmet” jars that you might buy from a store. Not only that but it’s pretty fast to make as well. Never buy lemon curd again – give this a try – you’ll love it! Additionally, once you’ve grated the zest from,  and juiced, the lemons, you can then throw them in some water and boil them up on the stove for 30 minutes or so – it’s a wonderful, natural air freshener :)

Lemon Curd

[learn_more caption=”Video Recipe”]

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Instructions

Lemon Curd ingredients

  • 180g Caster Sugar
  • 120g Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 Lemons

You’ll also need

  • Canning Jars

Instructions

  1. Start off by grating the zest from the lemons, taking care not to grate up the bitter white pith.
    Grating the zest
  2. Mix the grated zest with the sugar and then set aside.
    Mixing the zest with the sugar
  3. Squeeze the juice from the lemons, being sure to remove as many lumps of flesh as possible, and of course any stray seeds. Transfer to a bowl with the eggs and whisk well.
    Mixing eggs with lemon juice
  4. Wash your Canning Jars well and preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the jars – and lids, if heat-proof – into the oven and allow to sterilise for 15 minutes while you prepare the curd. Mix the sugar and zest into the juice and eggs and place the mixture into a pan. Fill a larger pan with water and set onto a medium heat. Place the small pan inside and add the butter. Heat the curd through, stirring gently. Make sure the water underneath does not boil or dry up – once the butter has dissolved the curd will slowly start to thicken up. Continue to stir slowly until the curd has a custard-like consistency which will coat the back of a spoon.
    Cooking the curd
  5. Pour into the still warm canning jars and lid up. Allow to cool before transferring to the refrigerator to finish fully setting. The curd will last about one month – serve on bread or as a cake filling and enjoy :)
    Lemon Curd

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for reminding of these, Charles. Haven’t made them for awhile …. in fact, haven’t made anything interesting for awhile besides the usual boring dinners. Lemons always cheer me up, don’t know why. I’m just crazy about them!
    Such a lovely color … both the curd and the “cor-something” :)
    Can’t wait to see your little vege pots sprout! I’m totally 10 purple thumbs when it comes to gardening. So, I can just ogle at others’ successes.

    • says

      Hi Ping – lemons make me happy too – they’re bright, juicy, smell divine and look all shiny :)

      Can’t wait to see the pots sprout up myself too :D

  2. says

    Love, love, love Lemony things! Especially craving that lemon curd and mirangue pie.. and lemon cake, and lemon icing… oh, it’s such a lemony craving – bit like my cinnamon fanaticalness :D

  3. says

    I absolutely love lemon curd, and yours looks gorgeous, such great colour. It would make an amazing hostess gift too! I’ve never thought to use it as a spread, great idea. You might be interested in this recipe from Martha Stewart, I’ve been making it for years but sadly have not blogged about it; it’s so easy and remarkably delicious! Let me know if you try it.
    http://www.marthastewart.com/356358/classic-shaker-lemon-tarts

    • says

      Thanks Eva – it’s weird, I’ve only *ever* known it as a spread… how strange how usage is so different :D

      I was a bit annoyed because the last pic looks a bit funky… the sun was really strong and it makes it look a bit like there some darker yellow skin on the top or something… which isn’t the case at all… oh well :(

  4. says

    Oh I do so love Lemon curd and your post reminds me I haven’t made any for a while-must remedy that pronto! Best of luck with the growing…Most of mine are grown in containers too, from potatoes, aubergines, courgettes through to chard, spinach, Asian greens and lettuce and of course not forgetting the runner beans, borlotti and broad beans…and many, many more. With containers you just have to remember to regularly feed them as the yield will be down otherwise. When I lived in a flat without a balcony I had grow bags on the window sills. The tomatoes loved it and grew spectacularly-what the neighbours though seeing all this rampant vegetation at every window-goodness knows!!

    • says

      Thanks GD – Yeah, I fed the tomatoes a lot when I grew them… they were in a tiny tub about 15cm deep – they’d never have lasted without a bit of food :D

      I can’t wait to see the seeds sprout up – at least, I hope they do :( If not I guess I’ll be buying some seedlings in a few weeks, lol :D

  5. says

    Charles, I love lemon curd and yours looks so beautiful I want to start making lemon curd straight away.
    I’ve always been amazed by the brightness of the final colour.
    WHen I started to be really hooked on lemon curd and scared by its fat content, I have found a low-fat recipe (I posted it on my blog but the photo is not very good…) and it’s really fantastic too! (Of course it’s not low-sugar, so it’s not really a diet dessert ;-) I sometimes make it with a sweetener, but sugar does have a good sugar taste, so… nothing is for free).
    Thank you for the air freshener idea. I will never throw away lemon skin again!
    I am so happy most of my this year’s grains have sprouted that I wanted to post the photos too! I have mitsuba (the only way to have it here is growing it and I really love this plant), parsley, coriander (totally agree about grains and last year I planted it in small batches, so that when I used one batch the second one would be ready in the meantime), dill, chives (have survived the third winter!), Thai sweet basil and rocket, which grows like weed! Last year I also had chilies, cherry tomatoes and even daikon (well, mainly leaves ;-) ) so I’m sure you can grow potatoes (my balcony is certainly smaller than yours…). I haven’t planted anything new this year and I hope I’ll find something exciting… I think it’s crazy how much one can grow on a simple balcony! Maybe I’ll try shiso once more (I have never managed to grow it from seeds, I tried two years in a row, it’s really difficult).
    Good luck with your plants!

    • says

      Thanks Sissi – it’s annoying that the last photo looks like there’s two tones of yellow on the curd which wasn’t the case at all… the sun was very bright and when I checked the photos on the computer it looked like there was some bright yellow skin on top :( Grr…

      Where did you buy your seeds for mitsuba? You’ve mentioned it a lot – I wouldn’t mind growing some myself. I’m glad I’m growing beetroot again – Since I’m now convinced that it’s impossible to get raw beetroot here this way I can have some to roast and also the greens as well for a healthy stir-fry :)

      I did try potatoes once – it was a miserable failure, but it was in my tiny, old apartment, with no balcony. Hopefully I can get a healthy crop going this year – I love growing potatoes the most of all things because the idea that you can just take an old potato, stick it in the earth, and get maybe 10, 15 new ones is just incredible for me! :)

      • says

        Charles, your photos are lovely!!! (You haven’t seen my lemon curd ;-) )
        As for the raw beetroots I also hate cooked ones. They are always overcooked and I don’t like the idea of buying them cooked (juts like sauerkraut: I want it raw!).
        I buy them on my French market and in organic shops (two different chains I go to carry both raw beetroots, at least they did in the Winter). If there is someone on the market selling cooked beetroots, but from his own field, he will be very happy to bring you raw ones the following time (at least on my market). If you crave beetroots before yours grow, try organic shops.
        I bought mitsuba grains by internet two years ago (a Swiss shop was selling mitsuba!). I paid a fortune for the delivery just to have these and now they no longer sell it (I could have bought several packages!), if you want I will send you grains when my mitsuba has grains this Autumn (I have practically used the whole package now).

        • says

          That’s a good idea – I’ll try the “Naturalia” store nearby… I remember them having all sorts of fun stuff there, so maybe I can find them – thanks for the idea.

          I’d love to receive some mitsuba grains, if you have enough! I’d love to grow some myself – sounds like so much fun! What do you grow it in… a shallow tray, or…?

  6. says

    Charles, do you have a microplane zester? (I saw the box grater in the photo). The microplane is much less work, easier to clean and you will lose less zest. It’s good for grating hard cheeses and ginger, too. I got mine at a hardware store. Lemon curd is always delicious.

    • says

      Hi Sharyn – I don’t… I quite like the box grater, and I already have three different shapes and sizes of grater in the kitchen… actually, no – four, if I include the various attachments for my mandoline. I found that cleaning it this time was surprisingly easy… I used to have such difficulties, but maybe over time I’ve developed a “good cleaning technique”, lol – I’ve heard of them though – will take a look – thanks for the tip :)

  7. says

    I’ve been meaning to make a batch of lemon curd (maybe lime and orange as well) this year. I even bought canning jars which are sitting in my tidy basement waiting for the day as I want to preserve them for gift giving. It will be my first try canning so I have to get my nerve up. :)

    I’d love to hear any of your planting stories and see pictures of your herbs etc. I still have to plant the thyme seeds I just bought (no coriander for me as I hate the stuff) and some more basil. It’s great that basil is SO easy to grow from seeds as I was encouraged by my results last year to grow them that way instead of buying the pricey little pots of plants. Have you ever grown any thai or lemon basil? I bought pots last year and didn’t use the lemon though I DID use the thai basil leaves in cold summer rolls … ONCE. They were quite spicy. :) Maybe I should have used them in a thai curry dish but I’ve been making that with a canned paste.

    • says

      Hi A_Boleyn – canning is SO much fun – the only not so fun part is the sterilization of the jars – I always am left with the question of “did I manage to do it successfully?”. If the stuff isn’t growing mould after a few weeks then it’s usually good to go – I’ve had jars of chutney and marmalade in the closet for a year or more before – it’s so nice to open it up – especially the chutney – and eat it after a year. What I always find is that everything shrinks down a LOT. When I’m making chutney, with the giant bags of apples and tomatoes – that all cooks down to finally fill only 3 jars! The jars are a bit bigger than regular ones – maybe 1.5x or 2x the size but even so!

      I never did try growing any herbs from seed – maybe I should have a try some time – I’d love to grow basil because I could easily eat vast quantities of that, and a good pesto uses easily the whole plant, if you buy one of these “growing herbs” from a store.

      • says

        I’ve learned the trick to growing basil is to pinch the tips as soon as they want to start to flower so that they grow side branches instead of being a tall stick. When the central branch gets more woody than green, dig up the entire plant, harvest the leaves and throw the rest into the compost heap. Have small plants ready to transplant into your containers to replace what you got rid of. On a positive note, the pesto freezes well. :) I’ll post pictures of my plants as soon as they get to the 2 sets of leaves (seed leaves and first set of true leaves) stage. Right now they’re tall skinny little guys with white stems.

  8. says

    I love lemon curd and couldn’t believe how easy they are to make. I’ve not gone back to buying them since I first started making them. This is a good reminder to make more as I’ve run out. Love the video as always :)

  9. says

    Oh I love lemon curd! It’s been one of the highest food on my list to make but haven’t had the time to make it. Looks so good. I really don’t want to buy store bought so I need to make this one day. I love your very nice yellow lemon curd!

    • says

      Hi Nami – you have to try it – it’s delicious and so easy and when you mix the sugar and zest together… oh my God, the smell is so delicious! Makes me want to bury my face into it :D

  10. says

    Never stored lemon curd…We always fill a tart case with it and finish it straight there…
    I love the colour!

    I have the same flowers in my garden, in different colours, and now that you are mentioning it, I also forgot their name! zut!

    • says

      Hi Nada – the flowers I pictured are actually the geraniums – I’ll post some photos of the “Cor…-somethings” soon though… I’m sure someone will know what they’re called… they’re no doubt quite common.

      I think I might make a lemon cake and sandwich it with the curd… yummy :D

  11. says

    What lovely lemon curd. I am a recent maker and lover of curds, and have made orange curd twice but not lemon yet. Thanks for reminding me that I need to do that…your recipe is a new preparation to me, and your finished product has terrific color and texture.

    I’m impressed with your seed starting and pretty flowers. It’s so nice to be in the growing season…Spring has truly arrived in the northern hemisphere!

    • says

      Thanks Betsy – I’ve never had any kind of curd except lemon – I’m really curious as to what it’s like… I’d love to try apricot curd next too!

      Can’t wait for my seeds to start shooting – I just hope they’re successful… I don’t have the best luck with seeds :p

  12. says

    I have never made lemon curd but you make it looks so simple. Oh the things you could make with this lovely spread. Add it to cakes, cookies or just as a condiment. I do not have any canning jars-cannot find them in HK, so maybe just have to make and use within 3 days after in fridge. Have a great weekend Charles! Take Care, BAM

    • says

      Hi Bam – how strange that you can’t find canning jars in HK – I guess you could probably find them online though. Amazon sells a lot, though I’m not sure how much postage would cost…

      Did you try at IKEA? (I’m guess that exists in HK… it does in pretty much every other place, lol) – we got some canning jars from there before…

  13. says

    I’ll take some lemonade with my lemon curd please? :). And just look at the wonderful presentation… great recipe. I have yet to make me some lemon curd.. and I think I better get to it lol

    • says

      Can’t beat some good lemonade – speaking of that I actually had some nice pink stuff on the weekend… was tasty. Do let me know if you try the curd! :)

  14. says

    I adore lemon curd but nobody here in Spain seems to “get” it :( However, this just means more for me! Love reading about your pots and plants…wishing you happy growing!

    • says

      Haha, I’m surprised they don’t “get” it – I always thought spanish people loved fresh, citrussy flavours… maybe this is too sweet for their tastes. Oh well – as you say… their loss :D

    • says

      Hi Charlie – totally… I keep finding that every time I walk past the fridge I’m looking around for a scrap of bread or cracker to grab so I can smother it with curd, lol :D

  15. says

    If there’s anything that can get me over my fear of canning, it has to be lemon curd. I just LOVE it! And you’re right – this does look so easy. I would love a piece of that bread right about now.

    Good luck with your plantings. The kids and I are going to try and plant a bunch of herbs and spices from seeds this week too. Like you, I’m not very good at growing things, so this should be interesting. :)

    • says

      Thanks Kristy – I definitely recommend trying this… Canning in general is a wonderful thing to do. I’m going to try and do much more this year… pickling as well – pickled eggs… YUM!

      Hope you’ll write about your planting too… Looking forward to seeing some photos of Mr N. throwing some earth around :D

  16. says

    Hi Charles. It may be that different people work well with different tools. The microplane is my favorite and has been ever since I got it: it’s the one I think of when people ask what kitchen tool I couldn’t do without, which is why I mentioned it.

    • says

      Hi Sharyn – definitely, I know what you mean – for me, the thing I missed most of all when I didn’t have it was an immersion blender. It’s just useful for so much darn stuff :)

  17. says

    You must have hugh balconies, looking forward to reading about your plants’ progress. Beautiful geranium.
    That lemon curd has a gorgeous yellow. My mouth is watering just looking at it.

    • says

      Thanks Norma – I wouldn’t say huge, but they’re both big enough for a table and chairs, a laundry rack, plant pots and the like so they make a good little place to sit on a summer’s evening :)

  18. says

    Some quick canning questions, Charles. You wash the glass jar and the metal lid and then bake them in the oven on a baking sheet. And you put the rubber rings in boiling water and then fish them out to assemble. But, other than shaking off the excess water do you do anything else to get rid of ALL the water. How hot should the curd be when you pour it into the jars?

    • says

      Hi A_Boleyn – actually I don’t “bake” the jars on a baking sheet – I put them directly onto the barred shelf in the oven, upside down. The rubber rings – right, stick them in boiling water for a few mins while the jars “bake”. Depending on the type of ring you have you might find attaching them to the jars is ridiculously hard, especially when the jar is super oven-hot. Some books say the jars need only be “warm”, so you can allow them to cool, though I always fill them when they’re so hot the jam or curd sizzles a bit when you pour it in. That’s why I like using old jam jars with the metal lid. You can just bake the lid too and then attach it directly using an oven glove :)

      I just shake the water off the rings though (and of course it evaporates from the jars in the oven) before placing them on the jars. As for curd temperature – the curd is never boiling anyway, as if you do this you might end up with lemony scrambled egg (lol), but I just time the ending of jar sterilisation to coincide roughly with the finishing of the curd, and then just transfer directly. I do the same with marmalades, jams and chutneys – pour them in directly to the hot jar.

      If you have the same jars as me, you might want to get someone to hold the jar itself while you stretch the rubber seal around the lid. The number of times I’ve almost flipped the whole jar backards towards the hinge and narrowly avoided getting coated in scalding jam… grrr.

      In any case – I think I could probably safely leave it until it’s warm… hope it helps :)

      • says

        Well, the results of my curd making and canning experiment are now posted. I misjudged the amount of curd I could get into the jars and on settling found that they weren’t as full as I intended. Oh well … next time I’ll do better. The curd, on the other hand, is very tasty and I intend to gift a jar or two to my SIL who apparently likes the stuff. :)

        Many thanks for your canning advice.

  19. says

    Isn’t spring the best? All the new growth opportunities… beautiful. Enjoy the planting season. Your lemon curd looks gorgeous Charles (as do all of your photos here) and what a colour… simply luminous. I’m guessing that your curd might have a nice tartness to it since you haven’t killed it with sugar (love tart lemon!). Great recipe Charles and you know I’m digging the simplicity ;-).

    • says

      Thanks Kelly – It’s beautifully tart and the colour is just wonderful… when I put the pot outside in the sun…. it just screams “lemons!” :D

  20. says

    It’s like we have this psychic blogger connection where we make the same things. I actually made some lemon curd last weekend for a lemon meringue pie (which kind of failed because the meringue kind of fell apart but the curd was so, so good). Luckily, I saved some of the lemon curd so that my brother an I could eat it slathered on top of sugar cookies. Alas, I had to throw the pie out (who wants watery egg whites on top of their pie?) and the lemon curd as well. This post has inspired me to try my hand at another lemon meringue pie or at least make lemon curd and say I did.

    • says

      Hi Kyleen – screw the meringue – the curd is definitely where it’s at in a lemon meringue pie… meringue’s just some white fluff to wade through to the citrus-goodness inside :D

  21. says

    Hi Charles, I grow it in rectangular containers with other herbs. (Last year I have forgotten to mark what is planted where and it was a bit annoying at the beginning…).
    I have huge problems with sparrows, which have become serious predators since they have installed anti-pigeon “system” on my building. Last year they have eaten all my young parsley, so now I have dozens of wooden skewers planted to stop them from eating my young herbs. My husband is joking that one day I’ll find a sparrow on a skewer ;-) But they are too intelligent for this.

    • says

      LOL! :D There’s a lot of birds near me – a big forest across the road from my place as well as lots of trees in the grassy areas between the apartment buildings, but luckily I never have any problems with birds taking my plants.

      One evening I was in bed I heard a horrible noise – it was about 3am and it sounded like a girl was being attacked or something… I ran outside to the balcony and saw two screech owls fighting or killing something…. usch, horrible noise!

      • says

        Charles, I suppose the birds find food in the forest, while mine look for it on balconies ;-)
        The worst is observing how they come, look at the plants, start calling friends and then usually two or three more come! (I was also very happy – I think this is my sadistic side – when one of them came, tried to put his head through my skewers, haven’t managed, started to swear (I imagine) very loud. Then went away ;-)
        Here the only horrible bird noises are made by ravens (scary!).

  22. says

    I think you should make a pie with it, must taste really good! I rarely buy smth lemony to be honest, cause it’s usually too sour or too sweet, but the homemade stuff should be tasty for sure )

    • says

      I heard that the “curd” made for pies is usually made much less lemony, and also flour is used as the thickener, instead of egg… not sure if this would work just to shove into a pie… I suppose there’s no problem trying :D

  23. says

    Loved seeing all your little pots, planted with seed. I’m looking forward to a report that they have all germinated. All of mine germinated within 5 days except 2. I’ll replant with two more seeds.

    Your lemon curd recipe is on my to do list…I love it.

    • says

      Hi Karen – I’m pleased to report that all pots but 1 of the beetroot have sprouted, though no sign of the little onions yet…I’ll keep hoping for the best :)

      Do let me know if you try the curd!

  24. says

    I too don’t have a microplane zester. I use the big ole cheese grater for grating my lemon zest, whatever works! :) I have all ingredients on hand, should try this soon! Hope are having a great week!

    • says

      Hehe, it was bad enough last time I brought home a special hand-held column grater for parmesan… my wife was giving me the “uh-oh, another gadget” face… but actually I use that one a lot so it’s not like some things I’ve bought in the past. I’m sure I’d use a microplane zester a lot, but I have to try and limit myself somewhere – especially when I already have the tools I need :D

  25. says

    ah thats nice that u grow some few herbs and veggies in your home. Basil always gets over quickly, I am surpissed that u didnt mention oregano. Thats a must have in europe. unluckily mine didnt survive the rains in goa. try to get curry plant too because its very healthy and sometimes useful too.

    Just recently I learned about Lemon curd, till now I havent tried it. It sounds great but I am not sure if I ll like it since I dont eat butter on breads either. I am a bit difficult with milk products…

    Thanks for your awesome comment on my market post. I ll send u an email later with a question for u! thanks again!

    • says

      Hi Helene – to be honest, I’ve never seen a fresh oregano plant in my life :p Only ever seen / used dried. I don’t think they even have the seeds, but I’d have to double-check… of course that’s just in France – I’m sure they have it in England etc. I wonder why it doesn’t seem so popular here.

      I hope you get a chance to try the curd, and let me know any questions you might have regarding my comment on your post – I’ll try my best to help :)

  26. says

    Wow, the lemon curd looks amazing. I haven’t yet made it but will this summer for sure. Goes so well with strawberries or just on a piece of pound cake.
    I wish I could grow some veggies and herbs in my garden . Just not good at gardening.

  27. says

    Katherine’s been dying for me to make this and I really need to the next time I do a batch of limoncello. Looks fantastic.

  28. says

    I remember making ‘lemon’ curd with calamansi limes in singapore last summer. I love the sweet tangy citrus burst, it was delicious as a filling for tart or just on toast/biscuits too. LOVE the new video recipes!

    • says

      Thanks Shuhan – a lovely piece of toast is a wonderful way to have this – I gotta admit to spreading butter on as well though :D

  29. Debra Kapellakis says

    My mouth is watering, I love lemon and can’t wait to get home to make some lemon curd. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have not tried it but I have seen it done…plant your potatoes in a bag of planting soil that you have sliced open in different places.

    http://www.rodale.com/growing-vegetables-bags

    Here is one site to check out. good luck

  30. says

    Love lemon curd – well all things lemon actually. I find it’s great to keep a jar on hand for all sorts of things. Love your geraniums – they are always so pretty!

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