Recently, I made my delicious lemon curd mousse for dessert once more. Then I thought, I can make this lemon curd as well myself! Meanwhile I also have finished the carrot jam with citrus I made a few weeks ago. So I thought now is the time to make my canary yellow lemon curd with only four ingredients. Sorry supermarkets, but you are not going to sell me any lemon curd anymore. This one is way too tasty and without preservatives.
What is lemon curd?
But what is it actually, this lemon curd? You can have it as a spread for breakfast. So you might think it is some kind of jam. But not, eggs are not a basic ingredient for jam. Second you could think of some kind of pudding, given the consistency. But here we have no milk and no starch, two common ingredients for pudding. So we call it curd, a spread based on fruit juice, zest, butter and sugar. The method to make it is comparable to making eggnog. There the consistency is also created by eggs which are slowly cooked while constantly stirring.
Where does lemon curd come from?
I think it is no surprise when I tell you that lemon curd is a quintessential English dish. The first mention of "lemon curd" was in a cookbook of 1844: "The lady's own cookery book" from Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury. The recipe at that time was completely different from how we know it nowadays. It is still a mystery where the changes come from. “Curd” actually refers to the curd of milk from which cheese is made. In the original recipe, lemon juice was added to creamy curds. That is also why it is often called lemon cheese. How the curd turned into butter and how eggs were used as a binding agent is not clear to this day. This is then “the lemon curd mystery”. More history you will find on British food history.
How do you know that it is ready?
Making lemon curd or lemon cheese is not difficult. Only you need a little bit of patience when stirring. After you have heated the butter, sugar, juice and zest “au bain Marie” you add the eggs. While you constantly stir, the eggs cook very slowly it the warm mass. They then act as a binder that makes the consistency thick.
In the beginning the mixture will be very liquid and some white foam may surface. After a good 10 minutes this foam will turn yellow and the consistency will start to change. Keep stirring until the mass is evenly thick, such as pudding or yogurt.
What to eat lemon curd with?
Of course this canary yellow lemon curd is delicious in the morning for breakfast, on a sandwich or a toast. You can have it as an alternative for jam, marmalade, gingerbread spread or chocolate. By the way, be sure to try also my carrot jam with citrus! The fresh sweet taste also mixes perfectly with yogurt or fresh cheese.
In addition, it is also super tasty on a pancake or a waffle. Or, typically English, on scones! And how about lemon curd on ice? Try it and love it! A cake or pie with lemon curd is also delicious. But for me, the favorite is and remains delicious lemon curd mousse with red fruits. This dessert that gave me the idea to make lemon curd myself!
On the website Foods of England you can find many more historical lemon curd recipes. But you can also make curd from many other juicy fruits such as raspberries, oranges, passion fruit, grapefruit, limes or pineapple. Certainly, this is an idea for a next occasion!
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.