You’ve been wanting to make lemon curd for weeks. After a lengthy search for just the right recipe, you find one that calls for the following:
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
The recipe yields 1 and 1/3 cups curd, which would be enough for you—but you’ve been invited to a dinner party tonight. And the irrepressible overachiever within you thinks it would be a fabulous idea to surprise your host with sponge cupcakes, strawberries macerated in Grand Marnier and agave syrup, and some of that lemon curd.
Solution: double the ingredients, double the curd. Easy enough.
But as you’re gathering all the elements, you realize you have only 3 eggs. And just under a cup of sugar. You find 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (exactly!) wrapped in the fridge, but that’s all the butter you find.
You have laundry at various stages of washing and drying in the basement. You have not showered, and the bed hair you woke up with isn’t the sexy kind you can get away with outside the home. Four pots, each containing lunches and dinners for the week, are at various stages of cooking on the stove. The dinner party is less than 3 hours away, and it’s pouring outside. You’re not particularly anxious to run to the grocery store, nor do you have time.
You could stop here, just bring the bottle of wine you told the host you’d bring to the party. But you’ve been wanting to make lemon curd all week. And because the cake batter has been mixed—and you can’t very well serve a naked cupcake—there’s no turning back.
New plan: Make the curd, but just increase the ingredients by a third.
Again, easy enough. But you’ve forgotten how to add fractions. And you’re running out of time. Did I mention you really need a shower? The pot filled with black bean soup is bubbling over. The phone is ringing. It’s Mom. Those phone calls never last 5 minutes. What do you do?
Stop thinking and cook. And somewhere in between, just breathe.
Tart Lemon Curd,
A Very Happy Accident by Yours Truly
bastardized from Cooking Light’s Lemon Curd (May 2000)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- a scant cup of sugar
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 medium-large lemons’ worth)
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Combine eggs, zest and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. It’ll take about 3 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice and the butter. Continue stirring, and cook until the mixture loosely coats the back of a spoon. It’ll thicken as it cools.
Transfer the curd to a bowl to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, get a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover the bowl. Poke a few holes in it, and then place the plastic wrap directly on top of the curd. This prevents condensation from forming, but more importantly it prevents a thick, rubbery skin from forming on the curd (note: this applies to any hot/warm pudding or custard). Refrigerate.
Once the curd is [mostly] chilled, you can transfer it to a glass jar. It keeps for about a week—if it lasts that long. You’ll get about 16-20 servings from this recipe, assuming each serving is about 2 tablespoons. (In which case, it’s 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving.)
A couple of notes on taste…
This curd is ideal for spooning over a sponge cake, a croissant, sweet bread or macerated berries; or, mixing it with yogurt and granola. You could call it “tart”, but I like to think the limited sugar helps to preserve the integrity of the lemon’s punch and zing. Tracie, who hosted the dinner party, loved the stuff, as did our friend Liz. My boyfriend found the curd a bit too tart. If your sweet tooth needs a little more sweet, add more sugar. Or, you could just follow the original recipe.