In Praise of Lemon Curd (Mom – You’ll Want to Skip this One)

lemon tart with a rim of blueberries on a glass plate,

I adore lemon curd. It’s gorgeous and delicious and elegant in its simplicity. It is also amazingly calorie dense, basically made of the magic of egg yolks, butter, and sugar with a little bit of citrus to brighten things up. There is no reasonable way to make a “light” lemon curd. One accepts it for what it is. Did I mention delicious? simple? bright? It’s one of my favorite things.

lemon curd

  • 3 eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 1/4 oz (3/4 cup) sugar
  • juice of three lemons
  • peel of three lemons
  • 4 1/2 oz (9 Tbsp) unsalted butter

Combine everything in a heavy saucepan, 2qts or more. Have a spatula and bowl (or jar or other container) nearby to transfer the finished curd to. If you also have a fine mesh strainer that fits over your container, all the better.

Cook over medium to medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thick. (You want ribbon stage here, when you lift the whisk and let the curd drop back into the pan, it should form a ribbon on the surface before sinking back in.) Immediately take it off heat and push through a strainer into a container. (You can skip the straining if you’re not feeling fancy or picky, but it will get out any inadvertent bits of slightly overcooked egg.) 

Spread in a pre-baked tart shell and bake ~5 minutes at ~375ºF to firm up. Or spread on waffles. Or eat with a spoon. Or on scones. Or… (Lemon curd will also keep in the fridge for a week or two.)