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Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd
Our tough little lemon tree

A few years ago, we purchased a small Meyer Lemon tree. We keep it indoors in the winter, and move it outdoors in the summer. It has suffered from both neglect and over kindness, and has weathered its share of damaging hailstorms. Yet every year the little tree produces dozens of blossoms that fill the house with a wonderful perfume – and usually a single lemon that takes many months to ripen.

This year however, we were blessed with three. When the first of these ripened, we used it Shrove Tuesday as lemon and sugar crepes.  Since we just ate our fill of crepes a few weeks ago, when I made 40+crepes for a ‘Crepe Bar’ for my son’s birthday get together with his friends, I wanted to do something different, and definitely something where our two little homegrown lemons would play a staring role: lemon tarts, or a pavlova with lemon filling. Either way, that meant lemon curd to start.

I’ve tried lemon curd a few times previously, with varying results. Maybe it’s my homegrown lemons (though I did have to use an additional lemon since mine are small) – or maybe I just learned something from previous failures. Whatever the reason, this version turned out just the way I hoped. Not too sweet or too tart, and not at all ‘eggy’ as it sometimes is – and it didn’t curdle on me.

Two very local lemons

I was most concerned about flecks of scrambled eggs in my curd, so I whisked constantly, used a thermometer rather than vague directions about cooking ‘until it coats the back of a spoon’, and had all my ingredients assembled ahead of time so I wouldn’t risk overcooking while I rummaged around looking for something.

I used a bit less sugar to account for the sweetness of meyer lemons, and balancing my desire to put a dent in our surplus of eggs with a dislike of eggy tasting lemon curd, only two whole eggs, but compensated with a little extra butter. 

I don’t know if that actually makes a difference, but as a rule, I tend to err on the side of more butter rather than less. I ended up with four small jars of lovely smooth lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons, depending on size)

4 Tablespoons butter

Lemon zest

Remove the zest from the lemons (the yellow bit only – no white) and set aside with the butter. Juice the lemons, making sure to filter out any seeds or pulp.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a pan over medium heat. Continue to whisk constantly until the mixure thickens and reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter and lemon zest.

Transfer to jars and cover with parchment paper to avoid a skin on top of the curd. Cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.