Meyer Lemon Curd, A Love Affair

My mom used to make me a special cake on my birthday. It was a four-layer white cake, each layer filled with lemon pie filling. The cake was frosted with Seven Minute Frosting – which is basically like marshmallow fluff – and coated with sweetened shredded coconut.

I loved this cake. It went down like sweet, fluffy air and the acid from the lemon pie filling (from a can as I recall, not that I minded) just slightly offset the sugar-bomb joy that was the rest of the cake.

The first time I made homemade lemon curd, my mind went back to that cake. It was like lemon pie filling had grown up, discovered mascara, and slipped into a damned sexy strapless sundress. Lemon curd was a head-turner. Lemon curd had something going on – sweet, bright with citrus flavor, just a bit tart, smooth and equally at home at a casual picnic, alongside a wedge of Almond Cake or as the star of a high-end French tartlet.

I was in love.

IMG_6749 (1)

It’s Meyer Lemon season now, which means it’s time to make and stash away a few jars of Meyer Lemon Curd so the love affair can continue.

Meyer lemons are less tart than the Eureka (and similar) lemons that you are likely to find at the supermarket, and their skins are thinner and more golden-orange in tone than yellow. If you can’t track down Meyer lemons, this recipe is equally delicious (though a bit more puckery) with regular lemons. Or substitute lime juice and lime zest for lime curd. You really can’t go wrong.

I never water bath can my citrus curds – although it’s possible with the right recipe (not this one), the shelf life is quite limited and the powers-that-be insist that bottled citrus juices be used for safety. Using anything but freshly squeezed juice in a curd recipe would be an absolute offense. Don’t waste your butter.

Instead of canning, I freeze my curd for longer storage. It freezes perfectly for several months – probably longer, but I’ve never had a batch last more than 3 months because it’s that good. In fact, frozen curd is a treat in itself, and I have snuck more than a few spoonfuls straight out of a jar in the freezer to eat like the world’s most delicious lemon sherbert.

My favorite lemon curd recipe comes from Fine Cooking. The proportions given here will make a triple batch – enough to get 6 or 7 half-pint jars of curd stashed away.

Bulk Peeling and Juicing

You’re going to need about 10 medium Meyer lemons for this recipe, but it’s best to have a few extras on hand in case your specimens are smaller or less juicy. Lemon zest is infinitely useful, so when I have a lot of lemons to juice, I take a bulk approach to zesting and juicing.

First I wash and dry all the lemons. I recommend organic lemons, but if all you can find is conventional, be particularly vigilant about scrubbing the peels well to remove as much wax and pesticide residue as possible.

IMG_6180

Next I peel each lemon with a vegetable peeler.

IMG_6184

All the peels get set to one side and the naked lemons get set to the other.

IMG_6185

Now you can process your lemon peels in bulk – I just popped all mine in the food processor to mince them. I used what I needed fresh in a few recipes and then dehydrated the remainder. Easy peasy.

IMG_6212

I turned the lemons over to my son for juicing. He did great!

IMG_6190

Meyer Lemon Curd Step-by-Step

Combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor.

IMG_6216

When all the butter and sugar is well combined, add in the eggs with the mixer running.

IMG_6219

Scrape down the bowl once or twice and process until smooth.

IMG_6220

If your food processor is large enough, add in the lemon juice and process to combine and then transfer the curd mix to a heavy saucepan. If you don’t have enough room to blend the juice in the food processor, just scrape the butter-sugar-egg mix into a heavy saucepan and whisk in the lemon juice. If the mixture looks a bit curdled, don’t panic. It will be fine.

IMG_6225

Heat curd mix over low-to-medium heat, depending on how ballsy you are. Stir consistently until mixture thickens and changes from pale yellow to bright lemon yellow. It is done at 170-degrees, or when you can run your finger through a dollop of curd and the line of your finger stays. If you get the curd too hot you’ll have sweet, lemony scrambled eggs – not so nice.

IMG_6230

At this point, if you want you can strain your curd. If you are concerned you may have a little bit of floating scrambled egg in there, or if you prefer your curd without the lemon zest, strain. I don’t – I like those little flecks of zest. Ladle the curd into clean, dry half-pint jars.

IMG_6231

I press small squares of plastic wrap down on the top of the curd to help keep a skin from forming. This is optional. You can also use waxed paper.

IMG_6239

Transfer the curd to the fridge. It will firm and thicken as it cools. Transfer whatever curd you won’t eat within a week to the freezer for longer storage.

IMG_6742

Printable Meyer Lemon Curd Recipe

Meyer Lemon Curd
Serves: Makes about 6 cups
 
A delicious and easy Meyer Lemon Curd Recipe, lightly adapted from from Fine Cooking (http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/lemon_curd.aspx?). For lime curd, substitute fresh lime juice and lime zest.
Ingredients
  • 9 oz. (18 tablespoons or 2-1/4 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon zest
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Have 7 clean, dry half-pint jars standing ready.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse butter, sugar and lemon zest until combined.
  3. Run blade for about a minute to fully mix butter and sugar, then add in the eggs and egg yolks while the food processor is running. Blend for about a minute, until creamy, pale yellow and a bit frothy looking. Scrape down the bowl to ensure the entire mix is fully blended.
  4. If your food processor is large enough, add the Meyer lemon juice to the egg mixture and blend. Transfer mix to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. If your food processor is not large enough to accomodate the lemon juice, transfer the egg-sugar mixture to the saucepan, add the lemon juice and whisk together by hand. The mixture may look a bit curdled at this stage, but it will be fine as it heats up.
  5. Turn the heat to low and cook Meyer lemon curd mixture until it is smooth and thickens, stirring consistently. When the mixture reaches 170 degrees and becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and hold the lines of your whisk, remove curd from heat.
  6. Remove the curd from the heat and ladle into the waiting half-pint jars. I recommend using a canning funnel to cut down on spills. Cut small squares of plastic wrap or waxed paper and press down onto the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Lid jars and transfer to the refrigerator.
  7. Curd will thicken as it cools.
  8. Curd will keep for a week at least in the fridge. For longer storage, freeze for up to 3 months.

 

What is your favorite way to use Lemon Curd?

{Giveaway} Permaculture Playing Cards
Bourbon Pecan Toffee Bark

Comments

  1. I bought a Meyer lemon tree earlier this year but the fruit on it is still green. I’m hoping it will eventually ripen so I can try out the lemon curd recipe. :)

    • Good luck! I managed to kill my Meyer lemon tree before it outgrew the gallon pot it came in from the nursery, so I just buy the fruit now. :) I hope you have better luck than me.

  2. I’ve actually never had/made lemon curd, but I hope to soon! Thanks for the ‘how to!’Since my husband and I try to severely limit carbs, I’m thinking a scoop of warm lemon curd with just a taste of whipped cream on top??

  3. Do you do anything special (and easy) with the 6 leftover egg whites, or just toss ‘em?

    • I typically just save them until I need an egg white – you can freeze them – but at this time of year I’d vote for homemade marshmallows or divinity. :)

  4. Oh, my gosh. I make it so different. I melt the butter, carefully, in a glass bowl, in the microwave, cool it some, stir in peel, juice, sugar and salt. Separately blend whole eggs and yolks, blend that into sugar mixture. Microwave 5 to 7 minutes on high, watching and stirring often. That’s it. And it is so smooth and beautiful. The hardest part is juicing the lemons.

  5. hmmmmmm that looks good. I wonder if you can switch the sugar out for something else-honey maybe? I need to add a Meyer lemon to the “orchard”.

    • I use organic “evaporated cane juice” if that makes a difference. I don’t know how honey would work – far different moisture content – but if you try, please let us know how it goes.

  6. I love that lemon curd (so named to keep picky eaters out of the jar). I would suggest that the extra rind not needed in the recipe be repurposed to steep a while in a mix of Everclear and 100-proof Vodka ….yah, limoncello in the making! Meyers work fine for that elixir, which stores so nicely in those booze bottles in the freezer.

  7. Erica (or anyone else experienced with lemon curd), a couple questions. Do you use salted or unsalted butter? Also, in a past attempt at lemon curd (which I adore!), mine came out metallic tasting? Any thoughts on cause and prevention? Thanks!

    • Technically, unsalted is preferred but I make it with whatever I have on hand, which is often salted. Metallic sounds like maybe an issue with your pan to me – did you make it in an aluminum or cast iron pot? Both will react with acid. I would strongly recommend stainless (or glass) for this recipe.

  8. I loooove lemon curd. I managed a B&B in Mexico for 7 years, and created 18 gourmet breakfasts. One of the guest favorites was Swedish Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Raspberry Citrus Sauce:

    Swedish Pancakes makes 15
    From MarCia’s B&B Kitchen
    2 cups flour
    4 large eggs
    ¼ cup sugar
    ½ tsp salt
    2 cups milk
    ¼ cup melted butter
    Butter for cooking

    Prepare batter overnight so it will be tender:

    In a large mixer bowl, combine flour, eggs, sugar, salt and 1 ½ cups of the milk. Mix until blended. Add remaining ½ c milk and melted butter. Cover and chill overnight.
    Then next morning:
    Add more milk if the batter is not thin. Melt dab of butter in 8 inch skillet, add ¼ c batter, tip around pan. When you see bubbles and the pancake starts to look dry, flip and cook just a little more. Remove from pan. Fold into triangles and keep warm. Serve with one teaspoon or more of Lemon Curd topped with Raspberry Citrus Sauce.

    Raspberry Citrus Sauce 1 ½ cups
    From MarCia’s B&B Kitchen

    Berry Puree:
    2 cups fresh raspberries
    ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    2 Tbs fresh lime juice
    1 cup sugar
    2 Tbs cornstarch
    1/8 tsp vanilla

    Raspberries are grown in Jalisco, so we used them when in season.
    Blend raspberries and juices in a blender. Sieve through a strainer to remove the seeds. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a pan, stir in berry puree. Stir while cooking until thickened. Add a few drops of vanilla to taste. Freezes well.

    Amazing!

  9. I absolutely love lemon curd (and cream teas with raspberry jam and clotted cream as long as we’re on the subject), and I’m going to go straight to Costco to buy a big bunch of Meyer lemons and get busy! God bless you.

  10. Hello Erica,
    Can I use brown sugar for this recipe?

    • You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I think the caramel flavor of the brown sugar will dominate the lemon and you risk getting a kind of flavor muddle.

  11. Nice job with the recipe and step-by-step instructions. I made a batch tonight and was so pleased to see mine looked like yours at the end of all that stirring. Served it with a large scoop of non fat vanilla yogurt, and garnished with pomegranate seeds. Lovely.

  12. Um, yes please, I volunteer to eat the lemon curd leftover from your bowl. Thanks for the post, I’ll have to try this soon. Also I have to admit that I keep the bottle lemon juice and lime juice around for emergencies and tea, heh! I don’t go through lemons fast enough apparently… but I promise not to use those for this recipe.

  13. Beth Rutherford says:

    We love lemon curd here! For years (ahem, years before Martha Stewart had this on the cover of her magazine — was she spying on me??!) ;) we’ve used it to layer between crepes to make a lemon crepe cake. Lots of work (making a stack of 20-30 crepes takes awhile)but it is not only beautiful but eye rolling/foot stomping DELICIOUS!! We also eat it straight out of the container. Have to say I’ve never thought to freeze it and am very excited to give that a try! Oh, and you can put a little into whipping cream as you are whipping it, and you have a lovely lemony whipped cream to top various items (we also do this with our Meyer Lemon Marmalade — another total treat!).

  14. I make cranberry curd every year (speaking of which…) and made ground-cherry curd (with a side of pear cider vinegar, to be on the safe side – I do water-bath can my curds) this past summer, as well. :-)

    Three cheers for fruit curds! :-D

  15. Temojai Inhofe says:

    I just made it, wow, delicious! Thank you so much for all your recipes, my kitchen has benefited from your inputs.

  16. Just made this and it is outstanding! I had to add a bit if bottled juice to get enough, but it is still wonderful.

  17. Thanks for this!I live in Northern CA and just made a batch from the tree in my backyard. So tasty! I will definitely be making more.

  18. I have to thank you for sharing this lemon curd recipe. It is so wonderfully delicious! I had a good harvest of Meyer’s lemons this year and was looking for ways to put them to good use. I made a bunch of Limoncello and still had lemons. Now, I am a curd addict!! I am looking at the Naval oranges still on the tree in a whole new way. I think orange curd is in the works for this weekend.

  19. This may have accidentally happened in my kitchen this afternoon, though it was a 1/3 version. Thanks for the recipe. It made it much, much harder to walk past the Meyer lemons in the store!

Trackbacks

  1. […] on a recipe by Erica of Northwest Edible Garden (Thanks, Erica, who I only know through your […]

  2. yummy juice recipes

    Meyer Lemon Curd, A Love Affair

Your participation makes this whole thing work, so join in! Comment policy: Wheaton's Law enforced here.

*