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Lemon Curd Recipe with Pictures

Updated on August 2, 2012

Lemon Curd Picture

Lemon curd is simple to make and will store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use this filling in pies, for lemon bars, or as a filling for lemon cookies.
Lemon curd is simple to make and will store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use this filling in pies, for lemon bars, or as a filling for lemon cookies. | Source

Lemon Curd Recipe Ratings

4 stars from 1 rating of Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd: A Tart Filling

Fruit curds are creamy spreads made from fruit, egg yolks, sugar, zest, and fruit juice. In England, lemon curd is a traditional accompaniment to scones at tea. Since curd does not keep as long as jams, most homemade versions are made in small quantities. Unfortunately, many people resort to purchasing industrially manufactured curds, which contain artificial preservatives and colors to prolong shelf life. Lemon curd is easy to make at home, and can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. Make your own curd recipe and avoid the artificial additives in the store-bought version!

Lemon curd is used in many desserts: this tart custard is used in lemon meringue pie, as a filling in cookies, and in trifles. Try using it as a base in a fruit tart: fill a small tart shell with lemon curd and top with thin slices of strawberries, whole blueberries, and currants.

The custard will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, and is a simple recipe to prepare in advance. Simply place the custard in a bowl and cover with cling wrap, allowing the cling wrap to settle on the surface of the lemon curd. Do not suspend the cling wrap above the filling, as moisture droplets will form on the surface of the plastic wrap and drop back into the custard.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: Makes enough custard for one lemon meringue pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Lemon Curd Preparation Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Separate the egg yolk from the egg whites. Add cornstarch, salt, water, and sugar to a saucepan. Whisk to combine.Add egg yolks to the simmering mixture; whisk constantly.Add the lemon juice to the mixture and whisk.Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the recipe and whisk until it is combined.
Separate the egg yolk from the egg whites.
Separate the egg yolk from the egg whites. | Source
Add cornstarch, salt, water, and sugar to a saucepan. Whisk to combine.
Add cornstarch, salt, water, and sugar to a saucepan. Whisk to combine. | Source
Add egg yolks to the simmering mixture; whisk constantly.
Add egg yolks to the simmering mixture; whisk constantly. | Source
Add the lemon juice to the mixture and whisk.
Add the lemon juice to the mixture and whisk. | Source
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the recipe and whisk until it is combined.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the recipe and whisk until it is combined. | Source

How to Make Lemon Curd

  1. Pour the water into a large saucepan. Add the cornstarch, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to simmer and turn clear. The mixture will thicken at this stage.
  3. Add the egg yolks slowly, whisking constantly. Add the lemon juice and whisk.
  4. Add the butter and whisk constantly until it has melted and incorporates into the custard mixture. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Pour the custard into a bowl for storage, or into a baked and cooled pie crust (if using the custard for lemon meringue pie). Cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap, taking care to lay the wrap on the surface of the lemon curd.
  6. Store for up to two weeks in a refrigerator.

Uses for Lemon Curd

  1. Use lemon curd as a filling for layer cakes. This tart filling complements sponge cakes, angel food cake, and yellow cake.
  2. Layer the curd between layers of yogurt and strawberries for a wonderful parfait treat.
  3. Use the curd on a tart, and layer fruit on top of the curd. This makes a wonderful, creamy base for refreshing fruit tarts.
  4. Make small, round sugar cookies and sandwich the curd between two cookies.
  5. Use the lemon curd on biscuits in place of butter or honey. It is also wonderful when spread on scones.
  6. Make homemade donuts and use it as a filling.
  7. Use it in a lemon meringue pie.

Comments

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    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      Oh, scones are the best - my favorite are the lemon-blueberry scones. I'll have to try lemon curd with them, as I've never had that particular combination before! Thanks for your comment, lindacee!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I love lemon curd with scones! I've tried pre-made varieties and wasn't impressed -- plus you brought up the issue of preservatives and artificial colors. Yuk! Yours is a much better alternative. Thanks for publishing this great recipe and beautiful photos, Leah!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      This version of lemon curd isn't too tart, Simone - I actually really like lemon flavored things (including extremely sour versions), but this curd recipe is pretty mellow. It works wonderfully for a lemon meringue pie!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      Lemon curd can keep safely for a couple of weeks in the fridge, which is a timesaver, teaches! I really love being able to make things in advance!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Until just a couple years back, I did not like citrusy sweets, but then I discovered just how lovely and tart they are! This lemon curd sounds like just my sort of filling. Thanks for the beautiful recipe!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I think this is such a great save for those who use it in cooking. The fact that it can be kept up to two weeks is also a cost saver. Thanks for sharing.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      I love lemon meringue pie, Peggy - we make it on a regular basis in the summer! I'm a huge fan of anything with lemon in it - I love that vitamin C, haha!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I like the idea of eating things that are not loaded with preservatives. Will keep this recipe in mind. It certainly sounds easy! My favorite pie was lemon meringue. Haven't had a slice in years! My mother used to make a delicious one as it was her father's favorite as well. Voted up and useful. Thanks!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      It is actually pretty easy to make, Letitia - though you do need a decent amount of lemon juice (which is fairly expensive where we live)! I wish we lived in a climate that allowed us to grow lemon trees!

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 

      6 years ago from Paris via California

      I've been wanting to try lemon curd but it always seemed a little daunting. You make it look pretty easy here. I think maybe I'll try it after all!

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