I’ve never made lemon curd before, and I’ve only eaten it once to date – and that was over 20 years ago. I might be making this up, but I’m pretty sure that my one and only encounter with it was when I was about 7 years old.
Well, now that I’m older and my taste buds are a bit more mature, I can appreciate lemon curd's silky smooth texture and intense lemon flavor. It tastes wonderful on its own (I totally swiped a few spoonfuls of it right after I made it), but it’s also an excellent foil to baked goods, particularly to a silky meringue buttercream. It’s also really easy to make – it takes only about 15 minutes and requires no significant skills in the kitchen. So don’t get the kind that comes in the jar – although I can’t quite remember exactly how it tasted, I’m pretty sure that the fresh stuff tastes way better.
(makes approximately 2 ½ cups)
6 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 5 small lemons, 4 regular ones would probably yield the same amount)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and slightly chilled
Add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest to a small saucepan and whisk well. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, about 6-7 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. While stirring continuously, add the butter a few pieces at a time, adding more butter when the previous addition has been fully incorporated.
After all the butter has been added, cover the lemon curd with a large piece of plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd so as to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to thicken.