Lemon curd is a thick dessert spread, with a custardy-consistency. It has a wonderfully tart, yet sweet flavour. Lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones, as an alternative to jam in the late 19th and early 20th Century. For some reason, I’d always presumed it would be a complicated recipe, but there is nothing complicated about lemon curd, which is exactly what I want when cooking or baking. Simplicity at it’s finest. The recipe calls for simple, fresh ingredients and there is no need for any thickening agents.
The uses for curd are endless. It can still be used as a spread for breads, scones, pancakes or waffles. Or you can use as a flavouring for natural yoghurt as a healthy snack. It can also accompany meringues or be used as a flavouring or filling for many desserts and cakes.
As I mentioned above, I’ve made Passion Fruit and Lemon curds here, but you could also make curd from Lime, Tangerine, Mango….basically any citrus based fruit. The options are endless!
The first batch was the Lemon Curd, which I found slightly too sweet for my liking, so I decided to cut back a little on the sugar for the second batch, the Passion Fruit Curd.
Ingredients (Makes 1 1/2 cups)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar (as I mentioned, I cut back the sugar to just over 1/2 cup, as I found it too sweet)
1/3 cup fresh juice (usually the juice of 2-3 medium sized lemons)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
(For the Passion Fruit curd, simply omit the lemon zest and replace lemon juice with 1/3 cup Passion Fruit pulp)
A clean stainless steel bowl is best for this recipe. Place all the ingredients, bar the butter in the bowl. Place over a double boiler and whisk well until the eggs, sugar and fruit are well blended.
It is important not to leave the mixture at all during cooking. Concentration is needed here! Cook, stirring constantly to prevent it from curdling. I actually found it was best to whisk constantly during this process. The mixture will become thick, to a similar consistency of sour cream or a hollandaise sauce. This process will take approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and immediately pour the lemon curd through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. I didn’t put the passion fruit curd through the strainer, as I thought it was best to keep the seeds in the final product.
Add the butter to the mixture and whisk until the butter has melted. Pour into a steralised jar and cover immediately so that a skin doesn’t form on top and refrigerate. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. You could choose to tin this to make it last longer.
Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).