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Lemon curd is a classic recipe that is surprisingly easy to make at home! Lemon curd actually dates back to late 19th century England, where homemade lemon curd was typically served with bread or scones during afternoon tea as an alternative to jam. Lemon curd, with its wonderfully intense flavor, is now also often used as a filling for cakes, pastries, or tarts, and it plays a starring role in pies such as lemon meringue!
Our recipe, adapted from one by Ina Garten, is different (and easier) than some of the other lemon curd recipes I’ve seen, because it uses whole eggs rather than just egg yolks. While some lemon curds are quite thick, this version has a smooth and creamy texture that is just perfect for a variety of uses!
Lemon curd tastes just minutes to make (although you do have to keep a watchful eye on it while it cooks and thickens on the stove top)! In fact – go ahead and make a batch of this lemon curd today, as well as some of that homemade ricotta cheese we showed you yesterday – because tomorrow, we’re going to use both ingredients in an amazing recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes that you don’t want to miss!
- 3 lemons
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 extra-large eggs
- ½ cup lemon juice (3–4 lemons – you can use the same ones from above, after you follow step #1 below)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the whole lemons. (Try to avoid peeling any of the bitter white pith as you remove the zest.)
- Fit a food processor with a metal blade. Place the zest in the bowl of the processor along with the sugar. Pulse until the zest is very finely chopped and fully incorporated into the sugar.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and lemon mixture and beat to mix well.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon juice and salt and mix again.
- Secure a candy thermometer to the side of a medium saucepan. Pour the lemon mixture into the saucepan and over low heat, stirring constantly, cook until thickened (around 170 degrees – the mixture will be just below a simmer).
- Remove the curd from the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a large piece of plastic wrap, pushing the plastic down to touch the top of the curd. (This will prevent a skin from forming on the curd as it cools.)
- Refrigerate overnight to thicken further.
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