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Lemon Curd - this recipe is the best I have ever tried. Perfect results every time.

Lemon Curd

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Hi Bold Bakers!

As a baker there are just some recipes that you need what I call “Master Recipes.” They are those recipes you go to for your baking basics, like yellow cake, buttercream frosting and now you have one for lemon curd.

Lemon curd is a funny creature because it is both zippy and creamy at the same time. The lemon juice gives it acidity and the eggs and butter make it creamy. Think of lemon curd like a custard but made on lemon juice rather than cream.

Some people experience the egg white cooking when they make curd and showing through. I have had this happen to me before so I sought of a recipe that this wouldn’t happen in. A little tip is keep your eggs at room temperature so they are not cold going into your hot lemon mix. Worse comes to worse the egg white cooks a little and in that case all you have to do is strain it out. Presto chango!

Lemon curd has so many uses. It can be smeared on Scones. It is one of the main ingredients of Lemon Meringue Pie. And it is in my Big & Bold Lemon Meringue Cake. Regardless of what recipe you use it in you should already have a jar of it in the back of your fridge for baking emergencies. Also, be sure to watch my video on the best way to juice a lemon to get the most out of your citrus.

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4.0 from 2 reviews
Lemon Curd
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 4 large lemons
  • ½ cup (4oz/120g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 whole eggs and 3 yolks, mixed (at room temperature)
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add in the lemon juice, zest and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Mix a little hot lemon juice with the cornflour, whisk and add it back into the saucepan.Whisk well.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add whole egg and remaining egg yolks and butter. Cook for 3 minutes or until thick.
  4. Pass through a sieve to take out zest and any cooked egg. Put into a clean bowl and cover surface with a butter paper (or rub with a little butter and cling film). Set aside to cool.
  5. Store in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Notes
Lemons vary in size, in the texture of their skin, and volume of juice and zest according to variety.
A 'large' lemon should produce 3 tablespoons of juice, (45ml) and one tablespoon of zest, but it is not an exact science.
Choose to buy lemons which have a little give when pressed, and remember to wash well before zesting.

 

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Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

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40 Comments

  1. Sue on January 18, 2018 at 12:46 am

    Hi Gemma,

    I know this question has been asked before, however no direct answer. As lemon sizes vary can u pls give an approx volume of lemon juice. Either in mls or spoons. This would greatly help as we would not have to depend on the size of the lemon.
    Thanks a mill

    • Gemma Stafford on January 18, 2018 at 2:24 am

      Hi Sue,
      Good question!
      I always just used Large,Medium and small, but I do know what you mean. A large lemon, with a smooth skin will have about 3 tablespoons (45ml) of juice, and 1 tablespoon of zest.
      A rough skinned lemon will have more zest, and less juice. This is why this is such a difficult question to answer, it depends on the variety of lemon. It is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions, no definitive answer. I suppose what I need to do is add this detail to the post, and I will do it now, thank you for prompting me.
      Really look for a lemon which feels slightly ‘giving’ when you press it, then when you are going to squeeze it roll it under your palm to break up the connective tissues, and release all of the juice. Use a good micro-planer, for zesting, a great investment.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂
      Thinner skinned lemons are harder to zest, but will have more juice,do wash them well before trying as they are often waxed, and form a natural wax too, to preserve them.

  2. Fran on January 7, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    For the lemon curd is it melted butter that is used

    • Gemma Stafford on January 8, 2018 at 4:06 am

      Hi Fran,
      follow the recipe. The butter is added gradually, and whisked through the curd, bit by bit.
      Do not over heat this once the eggs have been added, keep the temperature low, the egg will cook in the residual heat. This takes a little practice the first time, so low and slow!
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Moosh Moosh on October 7, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Dear Gemma
    A friend of mine loves desserts with lemon curd, but is allergic to eggs. Is there any way that egg replacement works with this recipe? or adding something like applesauce or banana (apparently sometimes they do that).

    Warm greetins from the cold northern part of Norway

    Michèle

    • Gemma Stafford on October 7, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Michele,

      Unfortunately for this recipe you need eggs. Look online and search for a vegan lemon curd.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  4. Katie Duncan on September 18, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I tried this for the Lemon Meringue Cake, which I made for my mum’s birthday last month……I’m not a pro baker, so it was quite stressful for me. I think 4 lemons was too many! 😛 Mine were quite large and I got A LOT of juice out of them. The curd turned out really, really sour; next time I might try only 2 lemons if they’re a bigger size. My cornflour also got really lumpy when I mixed in the lemon juice and the curd took a long time to thicken in the pot. In the end I had to strain it, not for the zest, but for the clumps of flour! That wasn’t fun. Hopefully, the next time I try the recipe, it’ll go smoother, now that I know what to expect.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2017 at 1:56 am

      Hi Katie,
      This is of course how we learn, by trial and error.
      It sounds like you added the cornflour to the hot liquid! this will cook it on contact. If you blend it with cold liquid, and cookit it gently, whisking as you go, it cannot fail.
      Do try it again. Lemon curd is very sour, it is what it is really!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Kldaves on October 1, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        Is corn flour corn starch ? I really enjoy all you do

        • Gemma Stafford on October 2, 2017 at 1:24 am

          Hi there,
          Yes, that is exactly what it is. All of these different names for the same thing!
          Thank you for being in touch,
          Gemma 🙂

      • Edith Irene Smith on November 28, 2017 at 8:57 am

        If your curd is too sour, add a little bit of vanilla bean… enough to taste. I used to love making lemon filling, but I’m more of a custard girl, so I always use evaporated milk or condensed milk as opposed to water for my filling. But give the vanilla a try.

        • Gemma Stafford on November 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm

          Thats a good idea Edith. I must try that 🙂

  5. David on September 17, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Hi Jemma.
    In the blueberries and lemon cheesecake the lemon curd you used, was thiner than the lemon curd recipe you gave.
    how can make it thiner?

    • Kevin Kurtz on September 17, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Honestly you want it nice and thick like this recipe. If you really do want to this it out just use 1 less egg.
      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  6. Efe on August 24, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Please what can I substitute the corn starch or corn flour with

    • Gemma Stafford on August 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      If you don’t have it you can leave it out. Your curd might be a bit softer without it but it will still work. 🙂

  7. David on July 5, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Hello Gemma, nice to meet you, I was wondering if this lemon curd may be baked, lets say as a filling for small croissants of puff pastry. I am thinking of bake them with lemon curd and then top with lemon glaze. Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on July 5, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Nice to meet you David :). Yes it can, it will be fine.

      Happy Baking!

      Gemma.

      • David on July 6, 2017 at 5:46 am

        Thamk you Gemma, lets get hands on it, I will let you know the final results. Regards

  8. Khushi on June 18, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Please​ tell what could be an alternative for eggs?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2017 at 3:50 am

      Hi there,
      This is a difficult one for this. It is really an egg custard. There are some suggestions online, but they are a poor alternative, take a look!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Khushi on June 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

    What could be alternative for egg?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      There is no great alternative to egg in this recipe, curd is really like a custard, but without the milk.
      You could possible try to make a version with cornflour/cornstarch, however it will not be the same thing. i do not think I can help you with this one!
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Paulina on May 30, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Hi, I have a doubt about the lemons for this recipe. I’m from Mexico and the lemons we usually found here are green, smaller and more acid than the ones that appear on your recipes, so I tried this recipe and didn’t work out, it was too acid
    how much lemon should I use? or should I disolve it with water?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 31, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Hi Paulina,
      Lemons are a funny fruit! I always have difficulty understanding how they will grow well in one place, and not in another. They are really impossible to find in parts of the world. I do not know the one you have, or how it will be in the recipes. Lemon curd is sour, it is the nature of it, it is usually served with a sweet meringue to balance it.
      It seems that the sweeter lemon we get in some parts of the world is know in some parts of Mexico as ‘Limon Real’and what you know as ‘Limon’ is actually a lime. This makes it really difficult to make a lemon curd, though you can make a lime curd, but with a ‘limon dulce’ which is sweeter. I am sorry, thank you for bringing this to my attention,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Rachel on April 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Hi. Thanks again for your best recipes.
    How much lemon juice would you say I need for this recipe 8 tbsp or more?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 30, 2017 at 3:05 am

      Hi Rachel,
      A large lemon will usually yield 3 tablespoons of juice. If you warm it for a few seconds in the microwave you will get the most out of it.
      A small lemon will yield about 2 tablespoons.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Yvonne on March 30, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Since the size of lemons vary, depending on where one lives and where they come from, depending on the season, do you have an approximate volume of juice?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2017 at 2:51 am

      Hi Yvonne,
      Most juicy lemons will have two tablespoons of juice, and one tablespoon of zest. I do know that this changes according to the season. Do check out my basics series here on the website for how to get the most juice from a lemon, this will help.You will be looking for the above quantities,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Yvonne on March 31, 2017 at 7:47 am

        It does here in Canada since we don’t grow lemons here and have to import them….because depending on the season, our lemons come from different countries and sizes can vary greatly. We usually don’t get the nice sized citrus fruits that you enjoy in the US.

        • Gemma Stafford on April 1, 2017 at 3:11 am

          Hi Yvonne,
          That is really interesting, I never realized this, though I do know that lemons are really scarce in other parts of the world. We are lucky here, everything is readily available!
          Interesting too about the turnips! Thank you for that input. In Ireland we call a Swede a turnip, and you would not enjoy this as a chip! The little turnips you are using are a sweeter thing, and I must try this out, thank you,
          Gemma 🙂

          • Yvonne on April 1, 2017 at 7:49 am

            Thanks!



          • Gemma Stafford on April 2, 2017 at 3:03 am

            Hi Lori,
            Yes, this is perfect for this, bake them, refrigerate or freeze, and refresh in the oven at 190C/360F for about 10 minutes, keep an eye on them, how quickly they reheat will depend on their temperature when you put them in the oven, if that makes sense!
            Gemma 🙂



  13. Geri Kershisnik on March 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Please help, I need to know just what cornflour is and where I can find it in order to make your lemoncurd
    Thanks,Geri

    • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2017 at 2:55 am

      Hi Geri,
      This is also called cornstarch!
      Arrowroot is a good alternative. Other than that you may need to use a different recipe using more eggs.
      Gemma 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2017 at 3:06 am

      Geri,
      I am not sure if I answered this!
      Cornflour and cornstarch are the same thing!
      You will usually find this in the baking section of your store,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. AFG on March 30, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    After trying to make lemon curd a few months ago with little success, I did some research and found that if you beat all your ingredients together and then add them to the pot all at once, none of the eggs will cook unevenly, and you don’t have to strain the curd. I tried this method, and it worked perfectly!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2017 at 2:56 am

      Thank you for that advice. It is great to get your input here, it really helps other bold baker,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. kj on March 30, 2017 at 11:34 am

    is cornflour the same as corn starch??

    • Ness Watson on April 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      I think the answer is Yes. Look at the comment below!!! ☺

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