hen I think of lemon curd, I always picture the famous and fancy English 5-o’clock-tea ritual. I see a vintage castle by the river and a glorious garden with neatly trimmed grass and breathtaking rose bushes. In the middle there is an elegant table covered with colorful tablecloth. And on that table – a feast! An elegant teapot, cups made of finest porcelain, embellished with a discrete pattern, matching sugar and milk pots, and loads of delicious food served on beautiful stands! Sandwiches, small cakes, and scones served with clotted cream, jam, and – of course – a lemon curd!
What is Curd?
Curd is a sort of cream, some people call it spread, and it is made of eggs, sugar, butter, and fruit juice, usually citrus. The most famous curd is the lemon curd, although it can be made of orange, lime, grapefruit, tangerine or even passion fruit. The curd is neither too runny nor thick; it is pourable when hot, and soft once cooled. It can be used as a filling for tarts, as a spread for scones or inside cakes, or you can spread some on your slice of toast. It is available in stores, sold in small jars like jams and preserves. However, it is really easy to prepare home made version of curd, just keep reading!
The History of Lemon Curd
When I was looking for the origin of some desserts, I stumbled upon “The Lady’s Own Cookery Book” published in 1844 in London. It was written by Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury (1775-1861), born in London, and known for her remarkable personal beauty and the charm. During her long life, she wrote several books, and this cookbook is one of them, maybe the very first one with lemon curd mentioned. However, the 19th-century lemon curd was a bit different from the modern one we know. Lady Charlotte’s curd was a mixture of lemon and cream, where lemon juice is acidulating cream to form curds that could then be separated from the whey through cheesecloth. Today’s curd is nothing like curdled cheese though. It is smooth, velvety and tangy cream that melts in your mouth.
How to Make Lemon Curd?
To make lemon curd, you will need lemon juice and zest, sugar, eggs, and some butter.
- In a heat proof bowl combine two whole eggs, one egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well.
- Put the mixture over simmering water and cook stirring constantly until the curd thickens.
- Strain through a sieve into a clean bowl.
- Add butter and stir until it melts.
- Cover lemon curd with plastic foil and cool.
10 Easy Ways to Enjoy in Your Lemon Curd
If you can resist eating lemon curd straight from a jar, there are some fun things you can do with it:
- Put it into a jar and save as preserve, it should last for a day or two.
- Make .
- Make original Scottish scone and spread some curd on top of them.
- Spread some curd over your sponge cake and top everything with whipped cream.
- Fill cupcakes with lemon curd in the center and top with, let’s say…a raspberry buttercream.
- Make a toast and spread some cold curd on top.
- Put some bloomed gelatin into your hot lemon curd, cool it a bit and top your cheesecake with it.
- Put your curd into crème brûlée dishes, sprinkle with some white sugar and caramelize.
- Take vanilla ice cream (preferably home made) and top it with some lemon curd.
- Dip your breakfast cookies into lemon curd.
If you like to experiment, try swapping some lemon juice from the recipe with other fruit juice – lime, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, or yuzu. Don’t forget to put the zest, too! It contains most of the flavor. Passion fruit also works excellent if you have a sweet tooth for exotic flavors. Let your imagination guide you, off to the kitchen, and start breaking your eggs! Don’t forget to let me know how it turned out!
Well, what do you think about this post?
I read and really appreciate all the comments, even though I do not always have the time to respond to each one. So – keep me in the loop and try to create some sweetness every day because – Sweetness is happiness!!