When I was in graduate school, my girlfriends and I would go out to afternoon tea, and for me the scones and biscuits mainly served as vehicles for consuming as much sweet, tart, creamy lemon curd as possible. It took me too many years to realize that homemade lemon curd isn’t that tricky to make, and this recipe ensures that you can have lemon curd any time you want. For this version, I didn’t have enough fresh lemon juice, so I substituted some fresh squeezed orange juice too. The orange juice cuts the tartness a bit and makes the curd a little sweeter.
Orange-lemon curd is an especially good topping for Scottish Shortbread.
(Adapted from Fine Cooking)
Makes 2 cups
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (if you want to make lemon curd, omit the orange juice and use a total of 2/3 cup of fresh lemon juice)
Fine Cooking provides a really useful picture tutorial of the curd making process. You can find it here.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute.
- Mix in the orange and lemon juices. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
- In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.)
- Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly. Don’t let the mixture boil. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer.
- Remove the curd from the heat. Strain the curd to remove any egg solids that may have formed, and transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to keep a skin from forming, and chill the curd in the refrigerator.
- The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.