A few weeks ago I went over to my best friend’s family’s house for a Passover seder. Her mom served lemon curd for dessert and it was love at first spoonful.
Lemon is one of my favorite flavors in dessert. It balances the sweet ingredients, adds tartness, and gives the whole dish some brightness. Lemon curd does all this and more. It’s very tart, so much so that your mouth puckers when you taste a spoonful, but it also complements the sweet ingredients. Also because it’s so tart, you don’t need a lot of it.
My friend’s mom told me that the key to making this lemon curd is stirring constantly, and she wasn’t lying. It’s similar to risotto in that you’ll be standing over a pot with a whisk for at least 10 minutes, or more depending on how your stove works or what kind of heat you’re using. The reason you do this is so the lemon curd doesn’t curdle (that felt weird to type). It has eggs in it and the last thing you want is the lemon curd to turn into scrambled eggs. Actually, that might taste good, but not for these purposes.
You’re shooting for a curd that’s smooth and dense. Don’t worry if your lemon curd looks a little runny before you put it in the fridge. It will thicken as it cools. My lemon curd reached maximum taste and texture on day three.
I served it the other night for dessert with some fresh berries from the farmers’ market, and I put it on a dutch baby for breakfast. You can also serve it on pound cake, regular cake, or even toast. The options for lemon curd are endless.
Here’s a song to get you started on your lemon curd journey. It’s become the anthem of my week, and possibly my life.
3-4 medium lemons
3 large eggs
2/3 cup honey
1 tsp fine sea salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
Have a silicon spatula, a large fine mesh strainer, and a bowl handy. Grate the zest of two of the lemons into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan. Whisk in the eggs, honey, and salt.
Squeeze enough juice from the lemons to measure 1/2 cup and whisk it into the pan. Add the butter in several pieces.
Whisk the mixture over medium heat, reaching into the corners and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan constantly (to avoid scorching the curd) until the butter is melted and the mixture thickens and begins to simmer at the edges. Continue whisking and sweeping every inch of the pan, allowing the mixture to bubble gently all over for about 10 seconds.
Use the silicon spatula to scrape the curd into the strainer, pressing gently on any solids. Scrape any curd clinging to the underside of the strainer into the bowl. Chill before using. Curd keeps in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!